Tommy Beer

Notable Numbers

print article archives RSS

Notable Numbers

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Here in “Notable Numbers,” we attempt to unearth a plethora of interesting stats and fantasy-relevant facts each week. The topics discussed today include James Harden’s otherworldly explosion, Dejounte Murray’s stock spiking, and Andre Drummond’s dominance.


Follow me on Twitter, if you’re into that sort of thing: @TommyBeer


* Harden Makes History
We have to start with the historical performance from James Harden, right? As you must know by now, Harden posted a stat line the league had never seen in Tuesday’s win over Orlando. Not only did he score a career-high, and Rockets franchise record, 60 points while shooting 19-of-30 from the floor and 17-of-18 from the free-throw line, Harden also and added ten rebounds, 11 assists, five 3-pointers, four steals and a block. Seriously.


Truly incredible, considering the entire Orlando Magic starting five combined for 56 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, five triples, five steals and 2 made free throws in 126 total minutes. Oh, and the seven other Rockets not named Harden combined for 54 points, 30 rebounds, six assists, eight treys, one steal and six made free throws.


This dominant display shattered a number of NBA records, including the most points ever scored in a triple-double. However, it was the third time in his career that Harden had at least 50 points in trip-dub.


Over a 53-year span from 1963 through 2016, only two players registered a 50-point triple double. Wilt Chamberlain had one in 1968 (53 points, 32 boards and 14 dimes) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had one in 1975 (50/15/11). Since the start of last season, both Harden and Russell Westbrook have each recorded three such games apiece.


One last tidbit from this historic effort: Including his own buckets and his assists that led to made field goals, Harden accounted 86 points on Tuesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau: “The only player this season with a higher single-game total of points scored or assisted is Harden himself, who posted a 91 in that category (56 points scored, 35 points assisted) on November 5 vs. Utah. Harden also occupied the number-one slot in the NBA last season with a 95 (53 scored, 42 assisted) on Dec. 31, 2016 against the Knicks.” The only other player besides Harden in the last 20 seasons to score or assist on 85 or more points in a single game was Kobe Bryant. In Kobe’s 81-point masterpiece, he dished out two assists, leading to five points. Besides The Beard and Bean, only three other players in NBA history either scored or assisted on as many as 85 points in a single game: Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and Bob Cousy.


* Murray The Man Now
Dejounte Murray didn’t score quite as many points as James Harden on Tuesday night. Okay, he scored 60 fewer, to be exact. However, despite putting up a goose egg in the scoring column, Murray still managed to keep his fantasy owners happy. That’s because Dejounte also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds and dished out seven assists in 26 minutes.


Two weeks ago, Coach Gregg Popovich decided to make a switch at point guard, inserting Murray into the starting lineup in place of Tony Parker. In the six games since, Murray is averaging 10.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists (versus just 2.2 turnovers), 1.8 steals and 0.7 blocks, while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and 91.7 percent from the free-throw line.


Murray’s fantasy value is climbing, but he is only beginning to scratch the surface of his upside, which means he is still a “buy low” candidate, in my opinion. He doesn't take/make 3-pointers (just 13 in his NBA career), which does hurt, but he stuffs the stat sheet in most other categories, which props up his floor. I think he’ll continue to earn Pop’s trust, and that will lead to more minutes and added responsibility.


*KAT Calls
Karl-Anthony Towns is putting together another incredibly impressive all-around season. He has tallied 45 double-doubles in 2017-18 (no other player in the league has more than 38) and ranks eighth-overall in nine-category fantasy leagues.


However, his production has tailed off a bit of late, and much of that has to do with how he is being utilized on the offensive end of the floor.


Back on January 20th, Towns attempted just seven shots in a win over the Raptors. Five other Wolves players had more field goal attempts than KAT in that game, including Marcus Georges-Hunt and Nemanja Bjelica. Over Minnesota’s last seven contests, Towns has attempted fewer than ten shots in five of them. Over this seven-game span, KAT is averaging 11.1 FG attempts, tied with Taj Gibson and only fractionally ahead of Jeff Teague (10.9 FGA) and Jamal Crawford (10.4). Towns usage rate over this stretch is just 20.3 (tied with Teague for fifth on the team).


Towns effective FG percentage this season currently sits at .591, which ranks 11th overall in the NBA, just behind LeBron James. His True Shooting Percentage (.636) is the eighth best mark in the league.


KAT is too efficient of an offensive force to be used so sparingly. Hopefully, coach Tom Thibodeau will take greater advantage of the dominant big man’s versatile skill set.


* Still Dre Day
While it certainly didn’t receive as much hype as Harden’s historic night, Andre Drummond posted a previously unseen statline last Wednesday vs. the Jazz. Drummond recorded season-highs in points (30), rebounds (24) and blocks (six), while also tallying four assists and three steals. The NBA first started recording blocks and steals in 1973-74, and no player had ever matched those numbers in each of those categories.


Drummond, who was named to the All-Star team as a replacement for John Wall (knee) this week, is having the best season of his career. As expected, he owns the glass, averaging a league-leading 15.3 boards per game. However, shockingly, he’s also averaging a career-high 3.9 assists per game.


Over the first four seasons of his career (304 games), Drummond dished out a combined total of 187 assists. Over the first 47 games of this season, Drummond has dished out 183 assists.


According to Basketball-reference, he has a chance to become the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975-76 to average at least 15 rebounds and four assists per game.

 

In addition, his improvement at the charity stripe has been jarring. For the season, Drummond is shooting 62.5 percent from the free throw line, compared to his career mark of 38.9 percent. Per NBA.com, if Drummond maintains this improvement at the stripe throughout the season, it would be the second largest year-to-year jump in free throw percentage in the history of the NBA. (Chris Webber currently owns the record. He shot 45.4 percent in 1998-99, and then went all the way up to 75.1 percent in 1990-00.)


Quick Hitters:
* There are only four players in NBA history to average at least 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists per game over the entirety of their career (minimum 500 games played): Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird and... Blake Griffin. (Yes, I think Blake is primed for a big second half in Detroit.)


* Ben Simmons has recorded at least 10 points, five rebounds and five assists in a single game 28 times this season. Only three players in the league have more such games: LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and DeMarcus Cousins.


* The perennially underappreciated Khris Middleton is one of just four players in the Eastern Conference in 2017-18 averaging at least 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game for the season.




Email :Tommy Beer



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Heat Making Major Moves

    Heat Making Major Moves
  •  
    Cavs Must Figure Out Roles

    Cavs Must Figure Out Roles
  •  
    Waivers: Cole

    Waivers: Cole's Time to Shine
  •  
    Matchups: Bortles vs. Texans

    Matchups: Bortles vs. Texans
  •  
    Dose: Osweiler leads DEN

    Dose: Osweiler leads DEN
  •  
    RotoPat: Start Rodgers

    RotoPat: Start Rodgers
  •  
    Rankings: Steelers on top

    Rankings: Steelers on top
  •  
    Dose: Rodgers returns for GB

    Dose: Rodgers returns for GB