The next installment in the weekly feature: “Buying Low and Selling High”, in which I’ll discuss one player playing above their head and another whose best games are ahead.
What better parallel for “Buying Low and Selling High” than to highlight one player who started his career under Larry Brown and another currently playing for the well-traveled coach?
Larry Hughes began his career playing for Brown in Philadelphia. The notoriously inconsistent swingman is currently providing second-round value on the fantasy bonanza known as the New York Knicks.
Through nine games, Hughes is averaging 14.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.2 3-pointers and 2.2 steals in 34 minutes per game. He’s shooting 46 percent from the floor and 83 percent from the line.
While his scoring isn’t out of line from his career per minute averages, Hughes’ added value has come from his solid FG% and assist numbers. Neither, however, is likely to continue.
Hughes is a career 41 percent shooter from the floor and he has shot better than 43 percent just once in 12 seasons (2002-03 with Washington). He will – sooner rather than later – revert to his usual level of inefficiency.
Furthermore, the nebulous nature of the Knicks roster does not inspire much confidence for Hughes to remain this valuable. His excessive playing time has been a result of Nate Robinson’s injury and the struggles of Chris Duhon.
But Robinson has returned and Duhon will get better, especially after receiving a vote of confidence from coach Mike D’Antoni last week. Add to the mix the possibility of Allen Iverson joining the team, and Hughes really has nowhere to go but down.
You could fill an NBA arena with owners who have been disappointed by Hughes in the past. If you can get a fellow owner to buy into this being his career year, pull the trigger on a deal as soon as possible. The bottom tends to fall out of Hughes quickly.
Raymond Felton is currently serving as Brown’s point guard in Charlotte and is off to a rocky start. He’s averaging just 11.8 points, 5.2 assists and 1.2 steals with terrible percentages (.369/.741), which is a 13th-round value according to Basketball Monster’s player rankings.
Felton’s average draft position in Yahoo! leagues was 112th, which is in the ninth round of a 12-team league. My projections had him as a fifth-rounder, which was higher than most estimates but one I’m comfortable with. Either way, he’s been a disappointment.
The most surprising aspect of Felton’s performance thusfar is his FT%, which is well below his career number of .784. That number will improve and the addition of Stephen Jackson should help boost the team’s overall offense and influence Felton’s ability to register assists.
While he has failed to reach double figures in the last three games and has seven or more assists just three times in 11 games (he averaged seven assists per game last season), the time to buy on Felton is now.
Felton has been consistent in last three seasons, averaging between 14.0 and 14.4 points, 6.7 and 7.4 assists and shooting in the range of .797 and .805 from the line.
Despite a rough start, he will eventually find that consistency and remain a solid fantasy point guard. In fact, I think I’m going to try and make a deal for him in one of my leagues right now.