Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we pose a question to a panel of ESPN fantasy basketball experts to gauge their thoughts on a hot topic.
Today's contributors are ESPN Fantasy's Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe, and ESPN Analytics writer Seth Walder.
Rookie Donovan Mitchell (No. 44) sits right next to veteran CJ McCollum (No. 43) on the Player Rater (averages), and their respective season-long stat lines are similar. Which player would you rather have the rest of this season?
Seth Walder: I'd rather have McCollum. I took a look at Mitchell because I wondered if the Jazz were to trade Rodney Hood, would that significantly alter the rookie's value? All-in-all, I think the impact would be minimal for the rest of this season.
Mitchell takes almost two shots more per 100 possessions when Hood isn't on the floor with him, but the quality of those shots is a little worse, according to Second Spectrum. And Hood also has had more than 10 fewer touches per 100 possessions without Hood as well.
To me, even if Hood leaves -- which may or may not happen -- that isn't as significant a change as the positive regression I think we'll see from McCollum just based on our prior expectations for the Trail Blazers' guard alone.
Jim McCormick: Whether using surface stats or advanced metrics, it's striking how alike the numbers are between these players. I mean, they have the exact same true shooting rate (55.4)!
I figured something telling might pop off the screen when poring over their respective production profiles, but the only discernible differences are that McCollum enjoys greater shooting volume from the field (8.6 percent more field goal attempts per game since start of December), while Mitchell claims a sizable lead in steal rate (71 percent higher steal percentage).
I understand arguments for Utah's dynamic combo guard, but I still trust the proven vet in McCollum as the stronger fantasy option. The differentiation point for me is how Portland's gifted guard has sustained this level of scoring efficiency for multiple seasons. Given Mitchell's remarkable acclimation to the NBA, this might be the last season this proves true.
Kyle Soppe: For me, this is more of a strategic question than it is player-specific: Do you prefer ceiling or stability?
I have, and will always be, on #TeamStability, so sign me up for McCollum in this spot. Mitchell is great, but we simply don't have the proof of sustainability from him like we do McCollum, a player who has averaged 20-plus points in 12 consecutive months (minimum six games played).
Mitchell's overall profile looks pretty good to me, and I'm fine with him as an asset the rest of the way, but there is one red flag that has me a touch worried about scoring regression. The rookie is shooting 34.7 percent on shots taken from 8-16 feet or beyond 24 feet ... but 48.6 percent from 16-24 feet. Either he is the master of the long 2 or it's simply a matter of time until his accuracy from that distance aligns more with expectations.
We know exactly what McCollum is, so the fact that I have any concerns around Mitchell has me leaning the other direction the rest of the way.