NBA Barometer: Brook Lopez has the Greenest of Green Lights
NBA Barometer: Brook Lopez has the Greenest of Green Lights

This article is part of our NBA Barometer series.

GUARDS

Gaining Value

Emmanuel Mudiay, NYK: The fourth-year guard has delivered over the last few weeks, eclipsing 30 points twice in December and hitting the 28-point mark in another contest thus far. The surge has led to averages of 20.0 points (on 47.8 percent shooting), 5.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds across his last eight games, arguably his most productive stretch of basketball in three-plus NBA seasons. The most encouraging aspect of his improvement – and the one that stands to give him the best chance of long-term success if it persists – continues to be his shooting. After shooting no better than 40.1 percent in any of his first three seasons, Mudiay boasts a 47.1 percent figure in 2018-19.

Monte Morris, DEN: The 2017 second-round pick saw action in only three games during his rookie campaign, but he's been logging valuable playing time thus far in his sophomore season. That's led to 10.1 points, 4.1 assists and 2.8 rebounds across 24.9 minutes over 30 games, and those numbers have seen a nice boost with Gary Harris out of the lineup. Morris has rattled off seven straight double-digit scoring efforts and has been filling out the rest of the stat sheet quite nicely. He also has multiple steals in three consecutive contests and has dished out between five and seven assists in four of the last five. His shooting has been locked in as well, as he's hitting better than 48 percent of his field goals, including a blistering 45.3 percent from distance.

Kevin Huerter, ATL: After a slow start to his rookie season, Huerter has posted double-digit scoring tallies in three of his last four and presently has a hold of the starting two-guard job. Huerter's shooting percentage is up to 42.6 percent and climbing, and his 41.6 percent figure from three-point range is already impressive. While he could take a step back when Taurean Prince returns from injury, Huerter should still hold onto a significant role going forward as the Hawks' (very lite) version of Klay Thompson.

ALSO GAINING VALUE:Yogi Ferrell, SAC

Losing Value

Dennis Smith, Jr., DAL: Smith has missed time with a wrist injury of late, but he wasn't exactly trending in the right direction before that. The 2017 first-round pick scored no more than 13 points in the five contests prior to that stretch, despite seeing his normal allotment of minutes.

FORWARDS

Gaining Value

Larry Nance, Jr., CLE: Tristan Thompson's recent foot injury has opened up plenty of opportunity for Nance, who's been making excellent use of it. Nance has logged over 30 minutes four times in the last five games, double-doubling in three of them and contributing a game-winning tip-in Tuesday night versus the Pacers. He's scored in double digits in seven of the last nine overall, so his recent surge actually predates Thompson's absence. Perhaps most impressively, Nance has dished out at least six assists in five straight games, and he's averaging 2.4 steals per game over that span.

Kevin Knox, NYK: As it often does with rookies, it took a bit, but Knox seems to have hit his stride. The 2018 first-rounder has now scored between 15 and 26 points in his last six games – his longest streak of double-digit point tallies thus far. The 19-year-old's shooting still is a work in progress at just 37.4 percent, but it's been much better of late. Knox is draining 43.6 percent of his buckets over the last five, a sharp uptick that leaves him with a bright outlook, especially considering he now seems to have a firm grip on the starting small forward job over Mario Hezonja.

ALSO GAINING VALUE: Derrick Jones, Jr., MIA; Trevor Ariza, WAS; Rodions Kurucs, BKN; Dario Saric, MIN; Justin Jackson, SAC; Bobby Portis, CHI; Jeff Green, WAS

Losing Value

Jabari Parker, CHI: Parker is essentially on hold until the Bulls trade him, and until that happens he can be ignored in most formats.

CENTERS

Gaining Value

Brook Lopez, MIL: Lopez has always packed plenty of scoring punch for a big man, but he's stepped it up in the past several games. Lopez has scored in double digits in nine out of the last 11 games, averaging a 12.5 points per contest over that span. He continues to bomb away from deep – 6.9 3PA in December – with his overall statistical profile looking more like a traditional shooting guard than a seven-foot center. Lopez's field goal percentage is down under 43 percent for the season, but he's making a career-best 2.5 threes per game and blocking 1.9 shots per game – his highest figure since 2012-13.

Nikola Jokic, DEN: The versatile big man is now averaging 23.0 points (on 51.1 percent shooting), 11.8 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.0 steals over eight contests in December. He's currently working on a six-game double-double streak heading into Saturday's showdown with the Clippers.

ALSO GAINING VALUE: Richaun Holmes, PHO; Dewayne Dedmon, ATL

Losing Value

Wendell Carter, Jr., Bulls: After an impressive start to his first season, Carter has tailed off significantly. December has especially been a struggle, as he's now posted six straight single-digit scoring tallies and nine in his last 11 games, overall. Reduced minutes have been at play as well, as the 2018 first-round pick has logged between 14 and 21 minutes in five of the last six. The recent season debuts of both Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis are robbing Carter of some usage, and it remains to be seen if his recent playing time reduction will be more of a long-term factor.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for Rotowire.com, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.
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