Jared Johnson

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Really? An L for 50?

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Back-to-back 50-spots, back-to-back losses

 

The Rockets could not cobble together a win despite getting yet another 50-plus-point performance from James Harden, who finished with 51 points, eight assists, six triples, four rebounds, three steals and eight turnovers in 41 minutes. He got his points with remarkable efficiency, going 15-of-28 from the field and 15-of-16 from the charity stripe for an incredible 72.8 true shooting percentage to accompany his ridiculous 46.0 usage rate, and this was the first back-to-back 50-point performance from an NBA player since Kobe Bryant did it four times in a row during the 2006-07 season (Kobe got the wins, though). Harden did look a bit gassed down the stretch, which makes sense considering he’s been averaging 40.5 minutes per game over the past four, and the fatigue can probably explain some of the silly turnovers he committed during crunch time. All that said, the win-loss record means nothing in fantasy hoops, and while Harden wasn’t able to deliver the win for Houston, he has put his owners in a strong position to churn out some more W’s this week.

 

 On the other end of the floor, Austin Rivers popped off for a career-high 36 points on 11-of-25 shooting (8-of-11 from the line) to go with six trey-bombs, seven dimes, two rebounds, one steal, one block and four turnovers in 39 minutes. He’s been doing work for the banged-up Clippers, posting mid-round value (punting free throws) over the past month with averages of 19.6 points, 4.3 dimes, 0.7 steals, 0.6 swats and an elite 3.3 triples per contest on 44.3% shooting from the field and 63.9% from the line, making him must-own in all leagues.

 

Lou Williams also had a stellar outing, scoring 32 points on 10-of-21 shooting (5-of-6 from the line) to go with seven 3-pointers, seven assists, two rebounds, three steals and one turnover in 39 minutes. He’s been flirting with top-50 value all year long, but I’d view him as a sell-high guy as his numbers will take a hit once Blake Griffin (knee) and Danilo Gallinari (glute) get back to the court; he could also get traded.

 

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Buy-Low Option

 

John Wall played just 16 minutes on Friday, registering 10 points (4-of-11 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), two rebounds, four assists, one 3-pointer and nothing else in a 119-84 blowout loss to the Nets. Wall just hasn’t really had a “wow-game” this season, and while he’s been sending away a career-high 1.2 shots per contest, his scoring (19.3), assists (8.6), steals (1.2) and shooting percentages (41.7 FG%, 70.5 FT%) has been less than what we'd typically expect from the All-Star. However, I think it’s only a matter of time until Wall returns to Optimus Dime-mode. Let’s dig a bit deeper into the numbers.

 

First off, there’s just no way his free throw percentage doesn’t come up drastically as we get deeper into the season. His current 70.5% clip is a career-low by a huge margin (last year he shot 80.1% from the stripe), and as a career 78.8% free throw shooter, this simply has to see a regression to the mean at some point. Same goes for the steals numbers, Wall is typically elite in this category and hasn’t averaged less than 1.5 steals per game since 2012.

 

His jumper has also been slightly off this year as he’s connecting on just 33% of his jump shots (down from 35.5% last season), and he’s also connecting on just 29% of his mid-range looks (down from 38.7% last season). Lastly, 43.8% of his attempts can be described as open looks, which is up from last season (35.2%), but he’s only connecting on 37.7% of those shots (down from 44.7% last year). I just don’t see how these numbers don’t correct themselves at some point, so I see Wall (currently just top-80) as a premiere buy-low target considering he’s been a top-20 finisher for the past two seasons.

 

The Duranchula vs. The Kuz

 

Kevin Durant helped the Dubs to their 11th straight win on Friday, scoring 33 points on 9-of-20 shooting (12-of-13 from the line) to go with seven rebounds, seven assists, three 3-pointers, two steals, four blocks and just one turnover in 38 minutes. Since Stephen Curry (ankle) hit the sidelines, KD has seen his usage rate rise to 36.3 and he’s responded with averages of 32.3 points, 9.6 boards, 6.6 dimes, 0.6 steals, 3.0 triples, 3.0 swats and 3.0 turnovers per contest on 47.6% shooting from the field and 92.5% from the charity stripe, which has him holding down the top spot in fantasy hoops. Expect the gaudy stat lines to continue.

 

On the other end of the floor, Kyle Kuzma put himself in some elite company, joining the great Jerry West and Elgin Baylor as the only other Laker rookies to score 25+ points in three straight games, recording 27 points, 14 rebounds, three 3-pointers, two steals, one block and three turnovers through 43 minutes of floor time. He’s been on quite the tear during this three-game stretch, posting averages of 30.0 points, 9.0 boards, 2.7 assists, 1.0 block, 1.7 turnovers and an unsustainable 4.7 trey-bombs per contest while rocking a ridiculous 79.8 true shooting percentage and seeing 40.9 minutes a night. It looks like he’s going to pick up a majority of Brook Lopez’ (ankle) minutes and usage while BroLo is out, and while the FG%, 3-point shooting and scoring won’t be quite this ridiculous, he’s obviously going to have plenty of opportunity with the hefty workload to produce elite value in fantasy hoops. Reminder, he was the No. 27 overall selection in this year’s draft. Wow.

 

On the Radar

 

Reggie Bullock scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting during Friday’s win over the Knicks, adding six rebounds, two 3-pointers, one steal, one block and one turnover through 30 minutes of floor time. Excluding Wednesday’s four-point dud, Bullock has been playing quite well since being inserted into the starting five with averages of 11.5 points, 1.8 triples, 1.5 steals and just 0.3 turnovers per contest on 62.2% shooting. The sky-high FG% obviously isn’t sustainable, but he’s worth a look in deep leagues while he’s playing this well.

 

Mario Hezonja came through with 11 points (4-of-10 FGs, 2-of-2 FTs), four rebounds, one 3-pointer, two steals and one assist in 20 minutes off the bench on Friday. He’s been making the most of some increased opportunity over the past few weeks with Orlando desperate for healthy bodies, posting averages of 13.2 points, 4.8 boards, 2.2 triples, 1.2 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.2 turnovers per game on 46.7% shooting, so give him a look if those numbers are appealing.

 

Tyler Johnson scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting (1-of-2 from the stripe) to go with seven rebounds, four assists, two 3-pointers and three turnovers in 39 minutes. Goran Dragic (elbow) isn’t expected to play on Saturday and Dion Waiters (ankle) is unlikely, so Johnson, Wayne Ellington and Josh Richardson figure to be forced into heavy minutes on Saturday night as the last men standing in Miami’s banged up backcourt.

 

Wayne Ellington started the second half on Friday after Waiters went down, finishing with 28 points, eight 3-pointers and three boards in 39 minutes. Both Johnson and Ellington will be guys to think about as potential deep league streamers on Saturday night, with Johnson offering across the board production and Ellington serving as a solid 3-point specialist.

 

Kelly Oubre scored a team-high 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting (2-of-2 from the line) during Friday’s blowout loss to the Nets, adding two rebounds, one 3-pointer, one steal, one block and two turnovers in 29 minutes off the bench. He’s been a steady late-round asset on the year with averages of 11.3 points, 5.2 boards, 1.4 triples, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.1 turnovers per game on 40.7% shooting, so he’s worth owning in most leagues.

 

Caris LeVert led the Nets’ second unit with 17 points (7-of-9 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), six rebounds, three assists, two 3-pointers and two turnovers in 24 minutes. He’s been flirting with top 80 value over the past month with averages of 13.0 points, 4.6 dimes, 1.4 steals, 1.4 triples and 2.4 turnovers per contest on 47.4% shooting, so I’d consider him “must-own” right now.

 

Yogi Ferrell scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting Friday, adding five triples, two assists, two boards, two steals and one turnover in 33 minutes off the bench. He’s been feeling it over the past seven with averages of 14.7 points, 3.6 dimes, 5.3 boards, 2.3 triples, 1.0 steal and 1.4 turnovers per game on 48.8% shooting, which has been good enough for top-50 value in 9-cat leagues. He’s worth a look if you’ve got someone to cut.

 

Frank Kaminsky started the second half on Friday with Dwight Howard going down with a dislocated finger and finished with 16 points (6-of-12 FGs, 2-of-4 FTs), five rebounds, three assists, two 3-pointers and one turnover in 30 minutes. If D12 can’t give it a go on Saturday, Kaminsky will be someone to think about streaming.

 


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A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @JaredJ831, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.
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