10 Definitely Interesting, Possibly Helpful NBA Notes for December 28th, 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 Monday, December 28, 2015.
1. Kemba Walker leads all guards with 39.0 minutes per game over the past two weeks. He may not hit that mark tonight in a potential blowout against the Lakers, but he should get his points against the team that is by far the worst in the NBA against point guards. This season, the Lakers have allowed 47.3 FanDuel points per game to the position, nearly 10% more points than the second-place Denver Nuggets (43.4). And they’re not improving – in recent games, the Lakers have given up big points to Mike Conley (39.3 FanDuel points, 10 points higher than his season average), Chris Paul (43 points, nearly seven points higher than his average), and Russell Westbrook (46.6 points).
2. With Alec Burks joining Rudy Gobert in the Jazz infirmary, Gordon Hayward will be looked upon to shoulder even more of the load. In 78 career games without Alec Burks in the lineup, Hayward has seen his usage climb three percentage points, from 22.5% to 25.5%.
3. In his last game, Draymond Green fell just three assists shy of recording his fifth triple-double of the season. Only four power forwards in NBA history have recorded five triple-doubles in a season: Kevin Garnett (six triple-doubles in 2002-03), Charles Barkley (who did it twice, with six in 1992-93 and five in 1986-87), Antoine Walker (five in 2000-01), and Chris Webber (five in 1999-00). Green has a decent shot at reaching a triple-double on Monday, as the Warriors face a Kings team that ranks in the bottom seven in the NBA in rebounds and assists allowed to power forwards.
4. In 403 career games playing alongside Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan averages 10.2 total rebounds per game. in 20 career games without Blake Griffin in the lineup, Jordan averages 17.5 total rebounds per game. Washington, Jordan’s opponent on Monday, is a bottom-five team in the NBA in rebounding differential.
5. LeBron James torpedoed a lot of lineups on Saturday in the Cavaliers’ 105-78 loss to the Trail Blazers. He managed just 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, and he only saw the court for 26 minutes. Strangely, his stat line in this game was remarkably similar to the stat line for the Cavs’ October 28th win over the Grizzlies (LeBron shot 4-for-13 for 12 points in that game, as well, and also missed all three of his three-point attempts). How much of an outlier were these two performances in the context of James’s career? Well, you have to go all the way back to 2007 to find another game in which he scored 12 or fewer with a field goal percentage below 30.8%.
6. Over the past four games, Terrence Ross has been a better three-point shooter than Klay Thompson. During that span, they’re both tied for the league lead in attempts from beyond the arc with 8.3 per game, but Ross is hitting four of his threes per game, compared to Klay’s 3.5. Small sample, sure, and this isn’t to suggest that Ross is the superior player. But at $4,000 at FanDuel, Ross is an excellent value play, having reached 5.5x value or higher in five of his past six games.
7. Nikola Vucevic ranks 2nd among centers (behind only DeMarcus Cousins) in usage over the past 5 games (28.5%). During that span, he’s exceeded 40 FanDuel points in four of the five games (and he reached 33.7 the game he didn’t hit 40). The Pelicans allow 49.1 FD points per game to centers, third-most in the NBA.
8. With the Wizards being decimated by injuries recently, their game plan has been pretty simple: feed Marcin Gortat in the paint, feed Marcin Gortat in the paint, feed Marcin Gortat in the paint. Over the past two weeks, Gortat has attempted a league-leading 8.5 shots in the paint per game. For context, that’s more than twice as many shots in the paint as Brook Lopez, who ranks third in the NBA over that stretch. He’s been efficient, as well – his 9.7 points in the paint leads the NBA over the past two weeks.
9. Evan Fournier has, thanks to Scott Skiles, been on a minutes roller coaster ride this season. From the start of the season through November 22nd, Fournier ranked 2nd in the NBA in minutes, seeing the floor for 39.2 minutes per game and trailing only James Harden. During this stretch, he averaged 29.2 FanDuel points per game. At that point, Scott Skiles decided he no longer liked his small forward – from November 23rd to December 20th, Fournier’s minutes per game plummeted to 25.2, placing him fifth on his own team in minutes. Not surprisingly, his output dipped, as he put up just 16.1 FanDuel points per game during this stretch. Fortunately for DFS players, the rollercoaster appears to be on its way up again – since December 21st, Fournier is playing 34.4 minutes per game and putting up 28.1 FD points per game. His FanDuel price ($5,100) doesn’t appear to have caught back up with his increased minutes, which presents a nice buy-low opportunity.
10. In his last game, J.J. Barea joined Steph Curry, James Harden, and Kyle Lowry as the only players in the NBA this season to have two consecutive games of 25+ points, 5+ assists, and 5+ three-pointers (Curry did it twice). With Deron Williams listed as doubtful, Barea will once again be the punt play du jour, making him a must-play in cash games. His ownership will be through the roof, though, and that, added to the Bucks’ playing at the fifth-slowest pace in the NBA and the game’s low point total (198.5 per covers.com) makes Barea an interesting tournament fade. Full disclosure: I’m playing him everywhere until he stops hitting 10x value, which he’s averaged over the past two games.
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For the research in this blog, I consulted NBA.com, Basketball Reference, StatMuse, RotoWire, ESPN.com, and RotoGrinders’ own player pages.
Be sure to check back on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the NBA season for more notes!