Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a rotating panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic. Today's contributors are ESPN Fantasy's Joe Kaiser, Kyle Soppe and ESPN Insider Bradford Doolittle.
DeMarre Carroll and Al-Farouq Aminu got off to slow starts this season while recovering from injuries, but they have been picking up steam lately. Both players have proved in the past to be quality fantasy contributors when healthy and getting enough minutes. Do you recommend adding Carroll (34.2 percent ESPN ownership) and/or Aminu (26.4 percent)?
Joe Kaiser: The big problem with Carroll is consistency, which is unusual for a veteran with his experience. On any given night, he is capable of putting up 17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 3s and a steal, but he's also vulnerable to the 2-point, 4-rebound, 1-3 game. Four times in the last 10 games, he has scored six points or fewer, to give you an example. Basically, I look at Carroll as more of a streaming option and a player to pick up on Sunday night or Monday morning in anticipation of weeks when the Raptors play four games.
As for Aminu, he's a little different situation. If you stopped keeping track of the Portland forward in recent weeks, you've missed Aminu finally breaking out after being a virtual non-factor in fantasy through November and December -- partially due to injury, partially due to poor shooting. All that has changed in the last five games, as Aminu has played more than 34 minutes a game and averaged 11.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 threes, 0.8 steals and 1 block per game while finally shooting at a high percentage (58.5). This is the player I expected him to be when the season started and, barring Portland trading for another big man like Phoenix's Tyson Chandler, Aminu is a player worth picking up and keeping on your roster as long as he continues to play close to this level.
Kyle Soppe: Aminu would be my preference, but you're looking at two very similar players who really fit only on a certain type of roster. For a third straight season, both Carroll and Aminu are on pace to take more than 80 percent of their shots from either inside of eight feet or outside of 24 feet, so the analytics side of me is happy with that.
That said, with the ball-dominant nature of the backcourts in both Toronto and Portland, the ceiling on both these players isn't all that high. I think Aminu provides the greater upside due to his rebounding and probable shooting regression (there are 37 players shooting a higher percentage from 3-point range than Aminu is from within eight feet) while Carroll is a safer bet for a 10-point and 4-rebound night. You're team isn't relying heavily on either, so I will take Aminu over Carroll, but I'd consider adding either if you're starved for 3-pointers.
Bradford Doolittle: I'd say yes on Aminu and no on Carroll, assuming in both cases that their recent numbers match up with what can help your team and work in your league context.
Aminu started off the season attempting to restyle himself as a 3-point gunner. Since he came back from injury, he's been much more selective. That's helped his shooting efficiency recover some, and even his assists have gone up. You know he's going to get big minutes, because the Portland defense has been awful without Aminu on the floor, so he'll continue to be a steady source of rebounds.
Carroll's recent surge has been more a product of hot 3-point shooting than anything. His playing time will likely ebb and flow based on matchups, and there has been no consistent defensive boost from him despite his reputation as a rugged defender.