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Notable Numbers

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Notable Numbers

Wednesday, February 7, 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 the efficient and effective play of Denver’s Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic, as well the rising stock of Josh Hart and Julius Randle in Los Angeles.


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* Master of None
Gary Harris’ 2017-18 season averages (17.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists) don’t jump off the page at you. However, although he’s not overly impressive in any particular category, he contributes across the board and doesn’t hurt fantasy owners anywhere. It is this versatility and efficiency that makes him such a valued commodity in nine-category leagues. In fact, he ranks 23rd overall in nine-cat leagues this season, ahead of such heavyweights as Draymond Green and Joel Embiid.


And Harris has increased his scoring of late, boosting his value even further. Over the Nuggets last seven games, Harris is averaging 21.0 points, while shooting 49.0 percent from the floor, 48.9 percent from downtown and 92.9 percent from the charity stripe.


Want proof of just how efficient Harris has been all year long? The only player in league history to average at least six 3-point attempts and shoot over 50 percent from the floor and 40 from 3-point range over the course of a full season was Stephen Curry in 2015-16. Through 50 games this season, Harris is currently averaging 6.0 treys while shooting 48.9 percent from the floor and 39.7 percent from deep.


* Goatkic
Another Nugget uniquely stuffing the stat sheet has been center Nikola Jokic. Particularly impressive has been Jokic’s dishing.


The Joker is arguably the best passing big man in the sport and has put those skills on full display recently. Amazingly, Jokic has dished out at least five dimes in nine straight games and has five-plus assists 15 of Denver’s last 18.

 

Over those previous 18 contests, dating back to January 1st, Jokic is averaging a whopping 7.2 assists per game.


Here’s the NBA leaderboard for most total assists since the calendar flipped to 2018:
1. Russell Westbrook (187 assists)
2. Nikola Jokic (129 assists)
3. Chris Paul (120 assists)


On the season, Jokic is averaging 10.6 rebounds to go along with his 5.5 assists. According to Basketball-Reference, there are only two centers in NBA history to average over ten boards and at least 5.5 dimes: Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Not bad company to keep...

 

* We’ll Miss You, Kristaps
Speaking of versatile big men, New York is still reeling from the devastating news that Kristaps Porzingis will be sidelined for the next 9-12 months due to the ACL tear in his left knee. It’s a brutal blow for the Knicks.


Looking ahead in the short term from a fantasy perspective, Michael Beasley will see a much greater role in the New York offense. Beasley’s usage rate spikes to over 30 when he is not sharing the floor with KP. The Beas has started seven games in place of Porzingis this season and averaged 20.3 points (on 54.5 percent shooting), 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 28.9 minutes over those seven starts.


In addition, Tim Hardaway Jr. re-injured his left leg Tuesday night. That's the same leg which kept him out of 20 games earlier this season, and could force him back to the sideline. The Knicks roster could get shaken up prior to the deadline, but assuming it stays intact, Beasley will be a focal point of the New York offense moving forward and should be able a consistent and productive fantasy contributor.


*Hart Land
The Lakers have had plenty of talented rookies over the last 30-plus years. However, according to Basketball-Reference, dating back to 1983, no Los Angeles rookie has tallied at least 14 points and grabbed ten rebounds in three straight games - until Josh Hart did just that over the last seven days.


Hart, filling in for the injured Lonzo Ball, has been beast since being inserted into the starting lineup last week. Over the Lakers previous three contests, Hart is averaging 14.7 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.7 treys and 1.3 steals, while shooting a scorching 71.4 percent from the floor and 61.5 percent from downtown.


In addition, it sounds like the Lakers may keep Ball out until after the All-Star break. "We’re not going to rush him back," said coach Luke Walton on Tuesday. "Let’s say he’s ready to play … the last game (before the break, Feb. 15 in Minnesota) … At that point we’d probably say let’s give him an extra week and get him back afterward." Hart’s percentages will definitely come back down to earth, but he still has an opportunity to post some impressive numbers over the next week, which means he shouldn’t be hanging around any waiver wires.


*Julius’ Stock is Jumping
Another Laker making fantasy waves has been underrated forward Julius Randle.


Randle only had a limited impact early on this season, as he was averaging fewer than 20 minutes per contest over the first month. Yet, as the year has dragged on, Randle has earned more and more playing time.


He’s logged at least 25 minutes in each of the Lakers last eight games and is averaging 18.9 points (on 57.8 percent shooting), 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists over this stretch. The Lakers could make some moves prior to Thursday’s deadline, which would obviously impact Randle and his playing time going forward. However, there was an ESPN report earlier this week that stated the Lakers may choose to re-shift their focus towards creating cap space in 2019, as opposed to this summer. Thus, Randle could be in the team’s long-term plans.

 

* Another Rubio Rebound?
Ricky Rubio struggled over the first half of last season in Minnesota. There was even talk that the Wolves were considering trading him to the Knicks in exchange for Derrick Rose at the deadline. However, the Wolves didn’t trade him, and Rubio played exceptionally well over the second half of the 2016-17 season.


Rubio averaged 16.0 points, 10.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds after the All-Star break last season. Russell Westbrook and James Harden were only two other players to average at least 15 points, ten dimes and four boards.


Minnesota ended up dealing Rubio to the Jazz over the summer and Ricky stumbled out of the gates this season as well. However, as we work our way past the midway point of the 2017-18 campaign, Rubio’s performance is peaking once again. Over Utah’s last five games, Rubio is averaging 21.0 points, 9.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 2.0 triples and 1.0 steals. He is shooting 55.1 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from 3-point territory over this stretch.


Rubio has the ability to put up big numbers when he’s locked in and his shot is falling. Right now, his shot is falling.




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