With a quarter of the NBA season completed we continue our poise or panic breakdown of players who still have question marks. Some of these players are on the brink of being a trade piece or dropped completely. Patience will pay off with other players. Find out who they are and what you should do if they’re on your team below!
Week 7 Poise or Panic
Keegan Murray – Sacramento Kings (F)
I will be the first to admit that I was really bullish on Keegan and still am in dynasty leagues. But after getting off to a great start this season he has struggled mightily. Through 16 games, Murray is shooting 39.9% from the field and 31% from three on 9.6 shots per game. In his 3 games last week he shot 8% from the field and 5% from 3 averaging 5 fantasy points.
We all know that rookie struggles are common, but for redraft owners, you can not wait any longer for him to turn his season around and his recent play makes him droppable. The Kings are legit this season and just came off a 7-game winning streak which means Murray might not have the ability to play through his mistakes. He was the main guy at Iowa and now has to adjust to playing with guys like De’Aaron Fox and Domas Sabonis.
Murray is not giving you much in other categories except for scoring so I’m in panic mode in redraft leagues. If you can trade him great, but it’s highly unlikely so I would look for players on the waiver wire like Deni Avdija or Jalen McDaniels to pick up for Murray.
Christian Wood – Dallas Mavericks (F/C)
It has been an interesting start to Wood’s tenure with the Mavs. He fell in many draft boards due to Jason Kidd saying Wood will come off of the bench. 19 games into the season and Wood is still coming off the bench and playing only 25.5 minutes per game. He is currently averaging 17.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.5 three-pointers, and 1.1 steals per contest while shooting 56.6 percent from the field.
There is no doubt Wood is talented offensively, but the main reason why Jason Kidd has him coming off the bench is because of his lack of defense. The Mavs went to the Western Conference finals last season due in large part to their defense and Kidd wants to instill that in Wood. However, the Mavs are in desperate need of scoring right now and have dropped their last 4 games. It was encouraging to see that Wood opened the second half with the starters in their most recent game vs the Bucks and hopefully his minutes per game will be closer to 30.
I’m staying poised with Wood and would even go as far as to buy low if you need a big. The Mavs can’t afford to extend their losing streak and they are much better offensively when Wood is on the floor. Luka is shouldering too much of the load and right now I would live with the defensive shortcomings for more firepower on offense if I was Kidd.
Scottie Barnes – Toronto Raptors (G/F)
My poise or panic player this week is Scottie Barnes, who I was high on going into this year. What concerns me, is not so much the constant injuries but Scottie’s production even with Pascal and Fred VanVleet out. He is scoring less than last year at a lower Field Goal percentage. He’s increased his assists to 5.2 a game since he’s been given the point forward role, but I feel this slight decline in production is also a factor from OG Anunoby’s All-Nba start to the season. With some signs of a sophomore slump, Scottie should look to be more aggressive and attack the rim rather than settle off balance jump shots. He is, however, stringing together a pair of promising fantasy productive games, averaging 44 between the last two contests. On the season he is averaging 29.8 Fantasy Points per Game but in CAT he’s currently ranked an alarming 77th overall.
For me, although Scottie played the majority of his career pre-NBA as a guard, the pace and tempo are so much more difficult to acclimate in the NBA. Like a ton of young stars, starting the season – especially the second year — has a ton of pressure. On a promising note, last year Barnes also was slow to start the season, but he finished the last 3 months of the regular season at an all-star caliber play which led to him winning Rookie of the Year. For me, it’s a strong poise on Scottie, especially in Points and Dynasty leagues. Let’s just hope he continues to develop and not get lost trying to do too much.
RJ Barrett – New York Knicks (G/F)
The bright lights at the Mecca appear to still have a glaring effect on the newly extended RJ Barrett. This one pains me to write up as a poise or panic candidate as I was hopeful Barrett would take a leap in his overall game. Even with the acquisition of Jalen Brunson giving the Knicks a much-needed effective floor general – RJ is yet to find his rhythm offensively. Shooting a career low from field goal (40.1%) and an even more concerning 26.8% from deep, RJ has struggled in being an effective scorer this season. Well, 1/4 into this year his scoring is the only bright side to his game thus far.
RJ has however put together a strong past 3-game performance averaging 33 FPPG. Barrett has scored at least 12 points in each of his last five games for the Knicks, averaging 19.2 points per game on 40.3% shooting from the field in that span. The dynamic 22-year-old is capable of carrying an offense but has yet to do so on a more consistent basis for fantasy owners, averaging 18.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game to go along with a solid 24.6% usage rate. I am hitting more towards panic mode for a 9 CAT league, however, Barrett’s scoring ability gives me confidence as a strong poise for Points leagues. Feel the only way is up from this point in RJ’s offensive start, let’s hope the former 3rd overall pick bounces back.