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By: Luke Moriarty – Staff Writer
Testing out a theme from the driver of Sports content — Twitter, I am going to give you five “Players I have Stock in”.
The idea of this is that these are players who may not be atop the NBA player rankings right now, but over time we could see them getting max contracts or even traded to Super Teams!
Without further ado, here are some guys you should ‘invest’ in as an NBA fan…
Shake Milton – PG Philadelphia 76ers
A Guard who’s name quite literally describes his game, Shake Milton is a tough guard who was taken out of SMU in the 2nd Round of the 2018 draft. His career in Philly started off quiet, given his position as a Point Guard in a system dominated by Ben Simmons handling the ball. Shake made 0 starts in his rookie season. However, through injuries last season, Shake took advantage of the starting role. He started 24 games, playing in 40 of the shortened season, where Milton averaged nearly 10 PTS, 3 AST, 3 REB per game. He played GREAT defensively, a tool he crafted at SMU, which made a case for his continuous playing time this season. Currently, Shake is averaging 15 points per game through the start of the 2020/21 year. His minutes on the court have nearly doubled, and his Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is hovering around a 17.5. As the 76ers look very strong this season, look out for Shake Milton to take advantage of a team in great form.
Precious Achiuwa – PF Miami Heat
Precious Achiuwa was very much slept on in this year’s NBA Draft following his ‘One and Done’ season at Memphis University. The Nigerian made player had more to show than that year of college. What people didn’t realize was that Achiuwa is the PERFECT type of player that fits the ‘grit’ of the Miami Heat’s team build. Achiuwa is 4th on the team in rebounds coming off the bench, as well as producing around 8 PPG. But again, like Shake Milton, you must look at how efficiently he is playing for Miami. Precious has indeed been ‘Precious’ in South Beach, with a PER of 16.3, something any bench player strives to keep consistent. He actually has a higher PER than BOTH of Miami’s draft picks last season, Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. If Miami can make another playoff run, be sure to keep an eye on Precious continuing to bolster his NBA status.
Nikola Vucevic – C Orlando Magic
Probably one of the most underrated Big Men in the league, this Montenegrin HOUSE of a Center has truly taken the full Orlando team under his wing this season. Vucevic is an offensive minded center, someone who thrives with the ball in his hands at multiple locations on the court. Vucevic is already 30 years old, by far the oldest of the 5 here that I’ve listed. However, my stock in him is for near future output. Vucevic is a piece that plenty of playoff caliber squads could use as a true stretch 5. He plays great defense when he has to, but his offensive output nears the price of a Anthony Davis or Karl Anthony Towns type center. This is an ability loads of teams could find useful come playoff time — because we all know it takes a COMPLETE starting 5 to win an NBA title, like the Lakers showed us last season.
Talen Horton-Tucker – G Los Angeles Lakers
Seen as a non-essential piece of last year’s team, 2nd year guard out of Iowa State Talen Horton-Tucker has risen to the occasion this year. Given, he still isn’t playing the crucial minutes he would want but Lebron James has seemed to take a liking to the young player. Talen is averaging around 7 PPG and shooting 86% from the Free Throw line, something Lebron values very highly. Even with the limited minutes, Horton-Tucker has a PER of 13.8. His promise is beginning to unfold before our eyes, and Lakers fans know that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is nearing the 30 year old mark. Someone is gonna have to fill the role in the future, and it should be Horton-Tucker.
Cam Johnson – SF Phoenix Suns
Cam Johnson was a very enticing prospect out of UNC back in the 2019 draft, and was selected 11th overall by the Suns. Johnson’s 2nd year in the league has been an upward trend, as he’s averaging a career high of nearly 12 PPG and is shooting better from the field. Phoenix already added the veteran piece of Chris Paul to try and help add to this young core, but the additional bonus of Johnson playing up to his highest potential could prove to be lethal for them. Johnson’s athleticism and length can make him a force both on the offensive and defensive side, he just needs his game to continue to translate to that upper tier. I know most Suns fans are REALLY looking forward to his development, and you should too.
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