Early Buy-Low Candidates

Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers

Damian Lillard remains the most frustrating player to own to start the season. Fortunately, ten games are far less important than the nine-year dominant career Lillard has had thus far. Shooting percentages are so fluky in a small sample, in both a positive and negative way. Lillard is shooting 35-percent from the field and 24-percent from the three-point range. This does not have an impact on how he will play for the rest of the season. 

Taking the last three seasons as a sample, Lillard has shot 45-percent from the field and 38-percent from three-point. Those are massive steps up from what he is currently at. Given how projectable basketball is as a whole. It’s safe to say Lillard will be just fine the other 90-percent of the season we have left to play out. 

If you are a fantasy basketball veteran, you know that there are always a group of players who cannot find their shot the first few weeks of the season. Everyone freaks out over their first or second-round pick not being able to make a basket for two weeks. Then mid-November rolls around and everything is back to normal. People do some crazy things, it can’t hurt to throw your second or third-round pick out for Lillard and see if the person accepts the deal. 

Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls 

After being traded over from the Orlando Magic at mid-season last year, Nikola Vucevic showed off his offensive skillset. Averaging 21.5 points and 3.9 assists per game on 47-percent shooting. Now that the Bulls have added Demar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, it’s a bit of a different team, a thing Vucevic will need to adjust to. As of last night, he is averaging 13.4 points and 4.3 assists per game on 38-percent shooting. 

The only noticeable difference is that Vucevic has taken fewer shots with the new additions the Bulls have made. Instead of taking the 18.8 field goal attempts per game, he had last year. That number is down to 14.3. This is not terrible by any means but, it’s hard to believe he will score more than 20 points per game again. 

Even with that, we are looking at 18 points, ten rebounds, four assists, and a steal per game on great percentages. Vucevic is a monster fantasy player and has been for years. Now is the perfect time to buy low as he is perfectly capable of finishing as a top 20 fantasy player. Once he gets the shooting issues figured out, finishing that high should be well within his range of outcomes. 

Robert Covington, Portland Trailblazers 

Going into the 2021-2022 season, Covington was as reliable a source of steals, blocks, and threes as they come. While he’s playing the minutes you would like to see out of a fantasy starter, the stats aren’t there. In 27 minutes per game, Covington has averaged seven points, five rebounds with a steal, and less than a block. 

After ten games, Covington is the 70th ranked player in nine-category leagues. The reason why you would want to trade for him is the fact that he provides a unique skill set that is difficult to find on the cheap. Whichever person rosters him may want to sell if they see that he is averaging seven points, five rebounds, and close to zero assists per game. Of course, stats that we don’t care about going after a player like Covington. 

Over his past three seasons, Covington has averaged 1.7 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 2.2 three-pointers per game. The fact that he’s getting starter minutes and the Trailblazers seem to be struggling as a whole to start the season. We should see Covington pick it up over the next few weeks. He seems to have found his stride over the last two games, hitting nine three-pointers, with three steals and a block. As long as Covington is playing, making his threes, and getting his defensive stats, he is a safe buy-low given his reliable track record of doing that. 

Jalen Green, Houston Rockets 

A lot of rookies have struggled out of the gate, including Jalen Green. What could separate himself from the rest of the pack is that he will get all of the shots and minutes he can handle– about the only good thing to come out of being on the Houston Rockets. 

Last season in the G-League, Green impressed in some of his shooting metrics. He was able to convert on 83-percent of his free throws and 36-percent of his looks from beyond the three-point arc. Some indicators that he could be a well above average shooter once he gets acclimated to the NBA. Another thing we love to see is the 1.5 steals per game that he posted, in a small sample of 15 games. 

The best kind of players to buy low on are ones that play minutes with high usage rates. While Kevin Porter Jr. could be the go-to ball handler in this Rockets offense, Green is the better prospect overall. Houston playing him 31 minutes per game is incredibly encouraging and allows him to meet that potential this season, in fantasy. Even if he ends up shooting around 40-percent from the field, all of the other stats should make up for it. 

Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets 

Terry Rozier, formally known as “Scary Terry”, may not appear as scary to opposing defenses. Similar to the rest of this group of players to buy-low from, Rozier has mostly struggled from a percentage standpoint. Since coming over from Charlotte, Rozier has shot 44-percent from the field and 40-percent from three-point land. Perfectly respectable numbers as a guard that takes a lot of outside shots.

For the first six games of the 2021 season, Rozier has shot 31-percent from the field and 24-percent from three. His numbers are so unsustainably bad it is hard to believe Rozier does not turn it around immediately. If you do not make a move for Rozier in the next week or so, all it takes is one 30-point outing to close that window shut.

Expect Rozier to post a line similar to 18 points, four rebounds, four assists, one steal, three triples a game with solid percentages for a guard. You can try putting him in a one-for-one deal, trying to sell a player that maybe doesn’t fit your team as well or if you’re just in need of a guard. Rozier is among the top names to target as the season progresses.

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