10 Definitely Interesting, Possibly Helpful NBA Notes for January 15, 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 Friday, January 15, 2016.
1. Last night, Jimmy Butler had the best game of his career, posting a line of 53 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Only one player in Bulls history has matched or bettered those marks in a game. If you guessed Horace Grant, keep guessing. It was, of course, Michael Jordan, who did it in 1989 and again in his famous 69-point game in 1990. Butler’s 76.0 FanDuel-point performance is certainly impressive. Jordan’s 1990 game (had DFS existed in 1990) would have netted 107.6 FanDuel points, the most by a player in any game in NBA history.
2. Butler’s no Jordan, but he has been transcendent in the month of January, and with each passing game, he’s making it harder to justify rostering James Harden. Butler ranks first among shooting guards in FanDuel points per game this month with 48.5 – he’s a full 10 points higher than Harden, who ranks second at 38.4 per game.
3. This year, there have been five instances of a player scoring fewer than six points in a game, yet managing 36+ FanDuel points. Joakim Noah is responsible for three of those games. Clearly, scoring isn’t Noah’s forte. But when you’re getting 16 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and a block (as Noah did against the Sixers last night), it’s fine if your jumpshot is cringe-worthy. If Pau Gasol sits against the Mavericks on Friday, Noah is a plug-and-play.
4. Isaiah Thomas II currently has the sixth-highest usage in the NBA in January, with his 31.7% mark ranking behind only DeMarcus Cousins, James Harden, Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George. Thomas is taking 19.6 shots per game in January, nearly seven more per game than anyone else on the Celtics this month (”(player-popup)Jae Crowder”:/players/jae-crowder-13942’s 12.7 field goal attempts per contest ranks second). Against the Suns, who are worst in the league against point guards in points allowed per game (24.9) and field goal percentage (46.6%), Thomas is in line for another big game on Friday.
5. Amir Johnson has topped 47 FanDuel points on six occasions throughout his career. On Wednesday, he did it for the first time as a member of the Celtics, but what’s really noteworthy about the performance (apart from the fact that it’s Amir Johnson, and it’s 47 FanDuel points) is that he did it in under 29 minutes. All five of Johnson’s 47+ games came when he played for the Raptors, and all five of them required him to log at least 35.6 minutes. At a cheap price, Johnson has been hot in January – over seven games, he’s averaging 30.4 FD points per game, more than Marcin Gortat, Hassan Whiteside, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Nikola Vucevic, to name a few.
6. Since January 1, Brandon Knight is averaging 20.3 field goal attempts per game, which ranks second in the NBA behind only DeMarcus Cousins (who’s taking a ridiculous 23.5 shots per game). This may not be the time to deploy him, however – the Celtics rank #1 in the NBA in limiting FanDuel points to enemy point guards by a full 2.5 FanDuel points. They allow the fewest actual points per game (18.0), the fewest three-pointers per game (1.2), as well as the fourth-lowest field goal percentage (39.6%). They have yet to allow 40+ FanDuel points in a game to anyone not named Curry, Westbrook, or Lowry. “Don’t roster guys versus the Spurs” is pretty much DFS 101, and I think it’s time people start avoiding point guards versus Boston to the same degree.
7. Since Kyrie Irving re-joined the Cavaliers on December 20th, the team is scoring nearly nine more points per 100 possessions – their offensive rating has increased from 106.8 to 115.5.
8. Remember the days that we had reservations about playing Dwight Howard because of potential minutes restrictions? Those days are gone. In January, Howard has logged 38.8 minutes per game, most in the NBA. Granted, we’re only five games in, but the last time Howard averaged more than 38.8 per game was back in October 2012, when he put up 39.7 minutes per game as a member of the Lakers.
9. After missing four games with injury, Nicolas Batum has returned to the Hornets’ starting lineup, but his role appears to have shifted. He’s looking to distribute much more. In December, he averaged 48.9 passes per game, creating just 14.3 points from assists. Compare that to his three games in January, when he’s averaging 57.7 passes per game, creating 19.7 assist points. His field goal attempts have been nearly cut in half, as well, going from 13.4 in December down to 7.3 this month. For some context, he ranks 169th in the NBA in field goal attempts per game in January, tying him with Boris Diaw, Hollis Thompson, and Cameron Payne. Until he starts looking to score more, he’ll have a hard time paying off his relatively steep price tag.
10. For today’s utterly useless fact of the day: Bradley Beal is the most active player in the NBA. According to NBA.com’s Player Tracking, Beal has run 14,066.5 feet this year, or 2.66 miles. That ranks second in the NBA behind Jimmy Butler, who’s covered 14,431 feet, or 2.73 miles. What’s noteworthy about Beal is that he’s only played in 17 games, compared to Butler’s 35. Nobody in the top 53, other than Beal, has played fewer than 30 games.
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All DvP numbers are pulled from RotoWire.com. Other sites used to gather information for this blog are NBA.com, ESPN.com, Basketball Reference, Roto Guru, and RotoGrinders’ own player pages.
Good luck on tonight’s slate!