Tommy Beer

Notable Numbers

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Notable Numbers

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


 

Here in “Notable Numbers,” each week we attempt to unearth a plethora of interesting stats and facts that are also fantasy relevant. The topics discussed today include the resurgence of James Johnson and Kyle Kuzma.


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* My Buddy
At the start of last week, Buddy Hield had never scored 20-plus points and grabbed five or more rebounds in consecutive games in his entire career. Then, last Wednesday, Buddy poured in 24 points and pulled down six boards against Miami, and has tallied at least 20 points and six rebounds in each of the three games that followed.


Over the Kings last four contests, Hield is averaging 22.3 points and 3.8 made treys, while shooting a scorching 55.9 percent from the floor, including 48.4 percent from downtown, and 88.9 percent from the free-throw stripe.


However, Hield’s contributions have not been limited to just scoring the basketball. Buddy is also averaging 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.3 steals. And with Bogdan Bogdanovic dealing with a sore left hamstring, Buddy was inserted into the starting lineup on Monday. If Bogdanovic were to miss more time, Buddy would secure additional minutes. Hield has been inconsistent over much of his first two seasons, but is getting hot at just the right time for fantasy owners. The question is whether or not he can keep it up...

 

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* JJ’s Moving On Up
James Johnson had been one of fantasy’s more frustrating underperformers for much of the 2017-18 campaign. His average draft position back in October was 81st overall. However, Johnson did not deliver anything close to that ADP value. Over the 40 games he appeared in from the end of November through the first week of March, Johnson averaged a paltry 9.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 25.1 minutes, while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and 27.6 percent from 3-point territory.


However, Johnson has recently flipped the switch. Over Miami’s last five contests, he is averaging 17.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.2 treys, 1.4 steals and just 1.0 turnovers in 29.7 minutes, while shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 42.0 percent from deep.


That’s the type of all-around production that fantasy owners were hoping for when then invested an eighth-round pick in him. Due to his disappointing performance for the better part of three months, Johnson was cut loose in many leagues. If he is still on your waiver wire, he’s a terrific pickup as you look to advance in the playoffs.


* Kuz Comeback
Another player that has bounced back after a dip in production is Laker forward Kyle Kuzma.


Kuz was the darling of the fantasy community early in the year, when he sprinted out of the gates and posted shockingly impressive numbers over the first two months of the season. Over L.A.’s first 31 games, from opening night through Christmas Day, Kuzma averaged 18.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 triples, while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 41.6 percent from deep.


Over the Lakers next 31 games, from December 27th through March 5th, Kuz averaged 12.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 treys, while posting shooting percentages of .386/ .318/ .556.


However, Kyle has bounced back in the past two weeks, averaging 18.7 points, 9.2 boards and 2.3 triples over his last six games. He slashing .489/ .389/ .923.


The re-emergence of this efficient, effective version of Kuz is difference-maker in all fantasy formats. Like James Johnson, make sure he not still floating around your league’s waiver wire.


* Freakish
We often take Giannis Antetokounmpo's ridiculous numbers for granted, but his work over the last week deserves adulation. Antetokounmpo the first Bucks player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in January of 1974 to tally at least 30 points, ten rebounds, and five assists in three consecutive games.


Over this three-game stretch, Antetokounmpo is averaging 36.0 points (while shooting 55.4 percent from the floor and 95.8 percent from the stripe), 11.0 boards, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals.


Per Basketball-Reference, dating back to 1984 only four other players have posted at least 33/10/5 in three straight games: Larry Bird, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and LeBron James. There’s a reason the Greek Freak was the No. 1 overall pick in many fantasy drafts this season, and why he will be atop many fantasy cheat sheets in 2018-19 as well.


* Ben Balling
Speaking of singular performances, Sixers sensation Ben Simmons has been posting some incredible stats as well.


In Monday’s win over the Hornets, Simmons scored 11 points, grabbed 12 boards and dished out 15 assists. Over the last 50 years, only two other rookies have matched or exceeded those numbers in a single game: Walt "Clyde" Frazier in 1968 and Michael Jordan in 1985.


It was also the third triple-double for Simmons over the Sixers last four games, and his ninth on the season. He has now surpassed Magic Johnson for the most trip-dubs by a rookie in league history, trailing only Oscar Robertson. In addition, Ben is the first rookie with at least 12 dimes in three consecutive games since John Wall in January of 2011. One last note on Simmons: He has five games this season with at least 20 points and ten assists. The rest of the 2017 rookie class has one such game combined.


* Brooks A Rook?
Dillon Brooks hasn’t been nearly as productive as fellow rookies Kyle Kuzma or Ben Simmons, but the second-round pick out of the University of Oregon has been scoring at an undeniably impressive clip this month.


According to Basketball-Reference, Brooks is the first rookie in Grizzlies franchise history to score 15-plus points and knock down at least one 3-pointer in eight straight games. In fact, over the last 20 years, Stephen Curry and Donovan Mitchell are the only rookies to record longer such streaks.


Brooks is averaging 19.4 points and 2.4 triples over this current eight-game stretch. He has scored a total of 177 points in March, tied for 25th amongst all players this month. Brooks won’t provide much fantasy value other than points or 3-pointers, but if you are in need of a scoring specialist over the final three weeks of the season, he’s certainly worth consideration.




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