10 Definitely Interesting, Possibly Helpful NBA Notes for December 16th, 2015
Every day while doing NBA DFS research, I invariably stumble across some unexpected nuggets of information that are occasionally helpful, but always interesting in one way or another. Here are 10 for Wednesday, December 16th.
1. In 64 games last season, Kawhi Leonard made three or more three-pointers in four games. In just his first 24 games in 2015-2016, he’s hit three or more from beyond the arc seven different times. Leonard’s career-high 48.9% field goal percentage from three-point land is tops in the NBA (among qualified players), and it obliterates his previous season high-water mark of 37.9%, which he hit in the 2013-14. On Wednesday, Leonard faces the Wizards, who allow 3.6 three-pointers per game to small forwards, by far the most in the NBA. For context, the Sacramento Kings are second-worst in that category, allowing 2.6 per game.
2. The San Antonio Spurs defensive rating of 95.3 is the best mark for any defense since the 2003-04 iteration of the Spurs. They’ve held opponents under 80 points a quarter of the time they’ve taken the floor this year (six times in 24 games this years). If you draw this out over a full season, they’re on pace to hold opponents below 80 over 20 times this year, feat that has not been accomplished since the Memphis Grizzlies did it in the 2005-2006 season.
3. In the past week, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook rank 3rd and 4th in FanDuel points per game, scoring 48.1 and 47.5 points per contest, respectively. That isn’t the least bit surprising – they’re both elite players, and their skill sets differ enough that they can both put up huge numbers concurrently. I only find this interesting because occasionally (occasionally), I’ll talk myself off of using both players in the same lineup, which clearly is a mistake.
4. Damien Lillard has faced Russell Westbrook nine times in his NBA career. In four of those contests, he’s been held to 10 points or fewer.
5. In the past 3 games, Ricky Rubio is making just 5.6% of his team’s field goals when he’s on the floor. That’s the lowest total in the NBA over that stretch (among players who’ve averaged 20 minutes per game).
6. After attempting 10 more three-pointers Tuesday night, Avery Bradley is attempting 6.1 three-pointers per game, and he’s hitting them at a 42.1% clip. Both of these figures are career highs for Bradley, who seems to be having a renaissance in the absence of fellow Boston guard Marcus Smart. With RotoWorld reporting that Smart could remain out until Christmas, Bradley remains an under-the-radar option with moderate upside, depending on whether his shot is falling.
7. In the 10 games this season that Zaza Pachulia has played 30 minutes, he’s put up a double-double in eight of them. The Dallas center is having a career year, averaging a career-high 10.4 points per game to go along with 10.4 boards. He’s one of just 5 players in the NBA (joining Andre Drummond, DeAndre Jordan, Hassan Whiteside, and Dwight Howard) to average 10+ points, 10+ rebounds, shoot 50% from the field or better. On Wednesday, he finds himself in a plus matchup against the Pacers, who rank in the bottom third of the league in FanDuel points allowed to centers.
8. Paul George is slumping. In the past two games, he’s put up a combined 44.8 FanDuel points, a number he’s eclipsed in 10 single games this season. He’s shooting just 28.3% from the floor during these games. Still, it’s only two games, and it would surprise exactly no one if he ended up scoring 60 on Wednesday against the Mavericks. DFS owners may want to hope for another bad game or two, though – George’s salary has dropped $600 since December 12th (down from $10,400 to $9,800), and if it drops a few hundred more, he’ll be an elite value moving forward.
9. Think New York Knicks fans regret booing the selection of Kristaps Porzingis in last year’s draft? Porzingis has been a revelation, and he hasn’t let the pressure of playing in Madison Square Garden get to him. Porzingis is playing far better at home this season than on the road – when playing in New York, he’s averaging 13 field goal attempts (compared to 10 on the road), 16.2 points (11.2 on the road), 9.2 rebounds (7.6 on the road), and a .487 field goal percentage (.385 on the road). On Wednesday, the Knicks host the visiting Timberwolves and their own rookie sensation in Karl-Anthony Towns.
10. Last night, Kevin Martin served as a textbook example of the inherent risk in using players who only contribute in scoring in cash games. After shooting 51.9% from the floor and averaging 33.4 FanDuel points over the past three games, Martin’s shot stopped falling on Wednesday. He went 1-for-8 from the floor and only played 22 minutes, ending up with 6.5 FanDuel points. It was his 5th game this season of posting single digits in FanDuel points.
Thanks for reading! I’m not sure how I went an entire blog post without mentioning the Warriors/Suns game, but with a 220 over/under…just play them all.
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