Welcome to the weekly NBA stock report where we go around the league and examine whose stock is rising and whose is falling.
In this week’s edition, a pair of Toronto Raptors have seen their relationship both on and off the court reach new heights, a career role player is quietly having an outstanding season, and the Philadelphia 76ers may no longer be the favourite to win the 2016 Draft Lottery.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan‘s bromance: From some playful videobombing during post-game interviews to questioning each other’s math, the Raptors’ two stars have seen their relationship hit its all-time high. That off-court chemistry has helped produce a dominant duo on the court as both players are enjoying the most productive seasons of their careers. Named an all-star Thursday night, Lowry is averaging 21 points, 6.5 assists and five rebounds per game while DeRozan’s line of 23.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists isn’t too shabby either. Will the BFFs be able to show off their bromance at the All-Star Game at the Air Canada Centre on Feb. 14? It seems like a certainty, but we’ll have to wait to find out.
J.J. Redick: The Clippers’ sharpshooter has quietly put together a very solid NBA career to this point. With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan sharing the floor with him, it’s easy to overlook what Redick brings to the table. Through 38 games he’s averaging better than 21 points per 36 minutes and is knocking down a dazzling 50 per cent of his three-point attempts on 49 per cent shooting overall. There are brighter stars around him, but Redick is producing as one of the top shooting guards in the league.
Rodney Hood: Speaking of shooting guards, there’s one out in Utah who is enjoying a breakout season. With Alec Burks on the shelf with a long-term injury, Hood has made the most of his increased usage rate. The 23-year-old has started all 40 games for the Jazz, logging over 30 minutes of action per. Since the calendar flipped to 2016, the Duke product has been on fire, averaging 17.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He’s also emerging as a proficient deep threat, shooting 45 per cent from beyond the arc in January.
Bismack Biyombo: With Jonas Valanciunas back at full health and eating up the majority of minutes at the five spot, the opportunities simply haven’t been as plentiful for the scrappy Biyombo. In the past eight games, Biyombo has eclipsed the 20-minute mark just twice and has not recorded more than six boards in any of those contests. He’s still blocking shots like a machine, registering 18 swats since Jan. 1. However, the Congo native’s stock won’t be able to rise until he gets more consistent burn.
The Orlando Magic: The new year has certainly not been kind to the Magic. Less than a month ago, Orlando and its young roster seemed poised to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoffs and take an enormous stride forward. That very well may still happen, but the Magic have not been able to get it together of late, dropping eight of their past nine outings. Making matters worse is the loss of Victor Oladipo to a knee sprain. Valuable as either a starter or weapon off the bench, Oladipo is one of the pieces that makes Orlando tick. The sooner he returns to action, the sooner Scott Skiles’ group can refocus and break out of the quicksand they seem to be stuck in.
76ers’ chances of winning the lottery: After appearing to be a lock to have the most ping pong balls at the 2016 Draft Lottery for much of the season, things are looking up in the City of Brotherly Love. Since trading for point guard Ish Smith, Philadelphia is a somewhat respectable 5-8 and certainly does not look like the worst team in the association.