10 Definitely Interesting, Possibly Helpful NBA Notes for December 23rd, 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 23, 2015.
1. While three-pointers have never been a huge part of LeBron James game, he’s having one of the worst long-distance shooting seasons of his career. His 26.9% from beyond the arc is tenth-worst in the NBA among players who have attempted 60+ threes. LeBron hasn’t shot below 30.0% from three-point range since he was a 19-year-old rookie in 2003-04. It feels borderline sacrilegious to find fault in a player whose 45.9 FanDuel points per game this year ranks 4th in the NBA, behind only Russell Westbrook (48.7 FD points/game), Stephen Curry (48.2), and James Harden (46.9). Still, just imagine if he could consistently hit threes…
2. Now, for a player who is actually struggling. Kobe Bryant has made only 41 of the 166 threes he’s chucked up this season. That puts him at a 24.7% three-point percentage, the lowest rate of his career (discounting his truncated 2013-14 season in which he only played six games). Kobe would need to make 27 consecutive three-point shots in order to raise his three-point percentage over the league average rate of 34.9%. And just for fun: to reach Stephen Curry current 45.3% three-point percentage, Kobe would need to hit 64 consecutive threes without missing.
3. In Monday’s blog, I suggested that Paul George struggling against Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs might be a boon for DFS players, as it would depress his price tag even further just in time for a dream matchup on Wednesday against the Kings. Well, struggle he did. George went 1-for-12 from the field, ending with just 7 points. George’s .107 effective field goal rate made it the tenth-worst shooting game in the NBA this season (note to self: avoid Kawhi, avoid Kawhi, AVOID KAWHI). George’s price on Wednesday is down to $9,100, and Sacramento represents a near-ideal matchup for George, whether he’s playing small forward or power forward – per RotoWire, the Kings are bottom-six in the NBA in DvP against both positions.
4. In his last game against Denver, Brandon Knight had one of his best games of the season, putting up 38 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals, leading to 61.2 FanDuel points. On the other hand, Knight has been ice cold as of late, failing to hit 5x value in any of his past five games, and being held been below 3x value in four of those games.
5. One of the many narratives that has been floated around about the Jazz in Rudy Gobert absence is that, given their smaller lineup, they play at a faster pace. This doesn’t appear to be true. In the 12 games Gobert has missed this season, the Jazz have played at a slower pace than their season average pace of 93.9 in nine of those games.
6. Last year on this day, Russell Westbrook exploded for 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists against the Trail Blazers. It’s hard to project a repeat performance this year, as Westbrook’s Thunder are favored by 13 on the road against the Lakers. In the Thunder’s most recent game against the Lakers (last Saturday’s 118-78 blowout), neither Westbrook nor Kevin Durant saw a minute of action in the fourth quarter. Despite a dominating performance, Westbrook’s 28.7 FanDuel points was his lowest total since November 28th.
7. It’s a revenge game for Dwight Howard, as he faces off against his old team, the Orlando Magic, and revenge games actually seem to matter for him. In 6 career contests against the Magic, Howard is averaging 25.8 points and 14.7 rebounds, both well above his career numbers of 18.0 points and 12.7 rebounds. The last time he faced Orlando (November 4th of this year), he had one of his best games of the season, scoring 23 points and grabbing 14 boards. He was a flawless 10-for-10 shooting, making him one of just two players this season to shoot 100% from the floor (minimum 9 field goal attempts). The other player is…
8. Lance Thomas, who hit all 9 of his shots against the Magic on on Monday night, scoring a season-high 24 points. Thomas has been hot lately, reaching 4.5x in each of his past 4 games. During that span, he’s averaged 22.5 FanDuel points per game, and he could see an increase in minutes Wednesday with Carmelo Anthony listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Even against LeBron’s stellar defense, Thomas could be a value if he plays starter’s minutes on Wednesday.
9. Kevin Love is shooting 35.7% in December, which represents his worst single month in the past three years (discounting October of the 2014-15 season, which only includes 2 games). Among players who have attempted more than 10 field goals per game this month, only “(player-popup)Alec Burks”:/players/alec-burks-13353’s 35.5% from the floor is worse than Love’s shooting rate.
10. John Wall has 138 assists this month, 35 more than 2nd-place Ricky Rubio. If Wall were to hit his career average of 8.7 assists per game for his three remaining December games, he’d end up with 164 assists this month. Ricky Rubio would need to average close to 16 assists over his past 4 games in December surpass Wall in assists this month. Still, it’s understandable if DFS players show some trepidation in using Wall in this matchup – in his last game this season against the Grizzlies (December 15th), John Wall put up just 17.9 FanDuel points, his lowest output in any game this season.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, click the green thumbs up in the upper right corner, and feel free to leave me a comment to talk basketball, strategy, or your favorite Christmas movie (the correct answer is Home Alone).
Check back on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the NBA season for more notes.
DvP data is pulled from RotoWire. Other sites used for this blog include NBA.com, ESPN.com, Basketball Reference, Covers.com, RotoGrinders’ own player pages, and StatMuse (an incredible new site that I just discovered).
Good luck on tonight’s NBA slate!