Perfect time to sell high on John Wall

November, 3, 2010

It's amazing what can happen to a player's fantasy value during the course of just a few games. John Wall had a pretty solid preseason for a rookie. He led the NBA with 7.9 assists per game and looked faster than everyone else on the court. That was enough for me to target him in every league, usually around the fourth round. I took him before anyone else could, so it was hard to determine his actual value until I did an auction a week before the season began. Wall went for a shockingly low $14.

However, after he followed an opening performance of 14 points, 9 dimes and 3 steals with 28 points, 9 dimes and 2 3-pointers, his value shot up in everyone's minds. By the time he finished Tuesday's overtime win against the Philadelphia 76ers with a whopping 29 points (9-of-16 FG, 11-of-14 FT), 13 dimes and 9 steals, it seemed almost like a bargain for Keith Lipscomb to get the rookie for $40 in the ESPN Writers Keeper Auction League that went down Tuesday night. (Yes, I was cash-strapped and helpless to get my guy at that point.)

Granted, he had three turnovers in each of the first two games and eight turnovers Tuesday night, narrowly missing the dubious quadruple-double. Even in leagues that count turnovers, though, we can handle that if he keeps on cranking out mega-stats across the board. Everyone reading this should get a quick dose of "if" by looking at Brandon Jennings' stats from the first month of his rookie season in 2009-10. Then, take a look at the rest of the months. Remember the 55-point game in November? Remember the 30.7 percent he shot in February?

I think Wall is on a higher level than Jennings was as a rookie, so I do think he's going to be a stud all season. Still, it's important to keep perspective. Even if you love the guy, his trade value probably can't get any higher than it is today. So deal him to someone willing to overpay for his fast start.

Looking Back

• Sleeper darling Jrue Holiday finally showed up with a nice stat line of 14 points and 13 assists. Unfortunately, he failed to hit a triple on three tries and turned the rock over six times. He's still poised for a big season, so expect to see more nights like this going forward. Meanwhile, backup Lou Williams continues to excel. He dropped 30 points and 3 treys on the Wiz last night and is averaging 19.8 points and 4.3 assists in 26.0 minutes off the bench.

• There are so many reasons to love Josh Smith. For instance, even when he has trouble getting the ball through the net, like he did Tuesday night -- six points on 3-of-11 shooting -- he still cranks out great stats elsewhere: 5 blocks, 2 steals, 4 assists and 11 boards. Another reason to love him? Come on: His nickname is J-Smoove! How can you go wrong?

J.J. Hickson piled up a career-high 31 points against the Hawks, hitting 11-of-17 from the field and 9-of-11 from the charity stripe. On the downside, he had as many turnovers as boards (five) and failed to block a shot or drop a dime. He has plenty of opportunity, but I'm concerned he's going to have too much on his shoulders early in the post-Bron era in Cleveland. I'm not quite ready to buy on Hickson at this point.

Mike Conley had another solid performance Tuesday night: 16 points (6-of-11 FG), 3 3-pointers, 8 dimes, 5 boards, 3 steals and just 1 turnover. In four games, he's averaging 15.3 points, 8.3 assists, 1.3 3-pointers and 3.5 steals. You can't expect him to maintain that pace in steals and dimes, but this is a good sign, regardless. He's had trouble with consistency early in his career, but he's the kind of player capable of averaging 15 points, 7 dimes, 1.5 steals and a trey each game.

• In case you missed the news, the game between the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks was postponed due to a construction problem that released asbestos into Madison Square Garden. A makeup date hasn't been set.

Looking Ahead

Stephen Curry sounds unlikely to play Wednesday night against the Griz. If you saw him go down in a heap in his latest game after turning his already-sprained ankle, you're probably surprised he's even thinking about balling this soon. He's young and he heals quickly, but it may be in his best interest to rest it for a game or two and come back strong this weekend or next week.

Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball analyst for



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