NBA Stock Report: Raptors’ chance at No. 1 slipping

Toronto Raptors' Patrick Patterson, left to right, DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Cory Joseph walk off the floor after a stop in play (Mark Blinch/CP)

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 the Toronto Raptors appear to be pulling back on their chance to catch up to Cleveland, the Golden State Warriors’ march towards history takes another step and the Knicks remain an unmitigated disaster.

Stock Rising

  Bismack Biyombo: When you go out and grab 25 rebounds and pour in 16 points it’s safe to say that you’re play has elevated of late. Thursday’s game was something of a tipping point for Biyombo, who has enjoyed a fabulous season so far and will surely use it to make big money in the off-season. Money the Raptors probably won’t have.

  Kemba Walker: The Charlotte Hornets have been on fire in the month of March, going 9-1 and they owe a lot of this success to fifth-year guard Kemba Walker, who has been averaging 26.2 points, 6.5 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game on 49.1 per cent shooting and 45.9 per cent from deep for the month. Best known for one of the best and most clutch NCAA championship runs in history while at Connecticut, it certainly looks like Walker is re-capturing some of that old March magic again.

  The Warriors’ brilliance: The Dubs became the fastest team to 60 wins in NBA history. It’s true they have a tough test ahead of them this weekend, but even against the Spurs in San Antonio they should still be favoured. At this point we should all be think that it’s just a matter of “when” they beat the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record and not “if.”

Stock Falling

  Chances at the No. 1 seed in East: Just 2.0 games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for No. 1 in the East, the Raptors still have a legitimate shot at it, but given the fact they’re resting players now and are still trying to get 100 per cent healthy, the chances they catch up and surpass the Cavs is looking slimmer with each passing day.

  The New York Knicks: A season full of promise just blew up in their face almost instantly. As exciting as Kristaps Porzingis is the Knicks are still a mess and hearing comments from Carmelo Anthony about the team’s effort and the confusion over who will potentially coach the team next season is all you have to know about where this team actually is.

Making matters worse, however is that the Denver Nuggets are just as bad as they are, but are probably more organized in the sense that they could more adeptly tank to ensure they don’t give up their draft pick to the Raptors.

  The NBA’s visibility: March actually is an intriguing and important month on the NBA calendar, what with it being the final full month before the playoffs start and all. However, it always takes a back seat to the fun of the collegiate ranks. The NCAA Tournament captures sports fans imaginations like few other events on an annual basis, and as such the NBA’s regular season just seems so much more tame and irrelevant by comparison.