Mike Gallagher

NBA Fantasy Trends

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Stats: Stephen Off

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Not again. Most nights in the past week, we’ve had a superstar player suffer an injury. On Monday night, it was one of the biggest stars in the league with Stephen Curry spraining his right ankle with just one minute left in a win over New Orleans, and today we found out Curry will be missing at least one game, per ESPN's Chris Haynes.

 

Curry had to leave the Smoothie King Center on crutches and he was in a walking boot. There’s also a lot of swelling in his right ankle from this scary-looking injury, so there's a very good chance he'll be out beyond Wednesday. After the game, Curry did joke that he had to tell his dad that he couldn’t play golf with him on Tuesday. While X-rays were negative, we’ll have to wait for the MRI today to see how his ligaments held up in his right ankle. 

 

Curry’s right ankle is his “bad” one after two surgeries on that joint earlier in his career. The first was in May 2011 to repair instability caused by multiple ankle sprains and the second was exploratory surgery in April 2012. Of course, he’s been very healthy for each of the previous five seasons with at least 78 games in all of them. Although, we did get a couple scares on his right ankle with a right ankle tweak in April 2016, and we saw him have one of his worst postseasons since he became the star he is today, but the main reason for that was a knee injury that occurred later in the postseason run that resulted in the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead. Curry had also had a couple other minor ankle tweaks to both his left and right ankle in this time he's been healthy.

 

So if Curry is going to miss time, who is going to step up? Let’s take a look at how the rest of the team does when Curry is off the court while Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are out there. We’re going off a 132-minute sample here, and let’s look at some noteworthy per-36 minutes stats.

 

Player (total minutes) Points Assists Boards TS% USG%
Kevin Durant (132) 24.2 6.3 7.1 60.9 30.8
Klay Thompson (132) 14.7 3.3 5.2 46.6 22.8
Andre Iguodala (88) 4.5 6.5 3.7 45.1 9.1
Shaun Livingston (82) 12.2 4.8 3.5 54.6 16.7
David West (78) 22.2 11.6 3.7 71.3 23.5
Draymond Green (46) 21.8 7.8 6.2 74.2 22.7
Patrick McCaw (41) 8.0 5.3 3.5 64.3 10.2
Zaza Pachulia (20) 10.9 0.0 14.6 100 8.8
Nick Young (14) 7.6 2.5 0.0 150.0(!) 3.4
Kevon Looney (10) 10.4 0.0 3.5 52.1 12.1
Jordan Bell (8) 18.2 0.0 3.5 66.7 20.6
Omri Casspi (8) 14.3 4.8 9.5 150.0(!) 11.1

Obviously Kevin Durant jumps out here and he does get a noticeable usage rate boost from his 28.7 with Curry this season. He also has some nice assist numbers and of course the efficiency is still there. Plus, the Warriors still have a net rating of +8.3 with Klay and Durant while missing Steph. Thompson also gets a similar usage rate boost in these 132 minutes from his 19.7 with Steph. Although, Klay’s efficiency is truly elite with his 68.9 TS% with Curry. Thompson is assisted on 86.7 percent of his makes with Curry and 77.3 without the former MVP, so it’s not like he’s doing too much more on his own. In other words, Thompson was just missing shots with his 33.3 percent from deep without Curry and 50.5 percent with him. If you were wondering, KD’s assisted shots are somewhat similar at 65.1 with Curry and 61.8 percent without.

 

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Draymond Green also has some outstanding numbers without Steph. Unlike Klay and KD, Green is assisted more on his makes at 90.9 percent without Steph and 79.5 percent with him. In the two games without Curry, Green had an awesome game against the Magic and a bad one against the Kings, so it’s not like those games threw off the numbers. Also, Green has played a grand total of 234 minutes without Steph, so most of those are with either just KD or Klay, or without both. He should be a beast while Curry is on the shelf.

 

Andre Iguodala hasn’t really fared well in this sample. Like Dray, almost all of his non-Steph minutes haven’t come with both KD and Klay with a total of 256 minutes without Steph. Even in that bigger 256-minute sample, he still only had a 12.4 usage rate and per-36 averages of 8.3 points, 5.1 boards and 4.6 assists. Iguodala was outstanding last year without KD, but maybe he’s not totally healthy. In fact, he kind of joked about it after a game two Saturdays ago. "I don't know how many basketball games I played, 'cause it's like adding up. I don't even know the days anymore,” he said after the game on Nov. 25. On paper, Iguodala should be better while Curry is out, but it’d be nice to see him show he’s close to 100 percent.

 

As always with injuries, we want to know who is going to start. If healthy, it should be Patrick McCaw after his start against the Kings last Monday. In those 33 minutes, McCaw had 16 points, three rebounds, seven assists, one block, four steals and two 3-pointers. He did hurt his nose on Monday in New Orleans and did not return, but he said he was OK. For now, he's questionable for Wednesday against the Hornets. McCaw has a much higher upside in fantasy because he can add all sorts of stats while Livingston doesn’t really add defense and doesn’t take treys.

 

If you want to look at the lineup without Curry this season, here are the lineups with at least 15 minutes so far:

 

Livingston, Thompson, Iguodala, Durant and West: 44 minutes, +10.8 net rating

Livingston, Thompson, Iguodala, Green and West: 24 minutes, +31.0 net rating

McCaw, Thompson, Iguodala, Green and West: 23 minutes, -24.2 net rating

Young, Thompson, Iguodala, Green and West: 21 minutes, -11.2 net rating

McCaw, Young, Casspi, Looney and Bell: 18 minutes, -26.9 net rating

Livingston, Thompson, Durant, Green and Pachulia: 16 minutes, +59.6 net rating

 

 

The Livingston lineups were all good while the McCaw lineups got thumped, so that’s a little discouraging for McCaw. That said, McCaw is still much better as a stat-stuffer and the Warriors have been warming up to the idea of McCaw at PG since the preseason.  If you’re in a fantasy league and we get bad news on Curry, he’d be the guy to get off waivers.

 

Rookie notes

 

Jayson Tatum continues to be the most un-rookie rookie in quite some time. He has a 64.9 TS% and a 17.7 usage rate over his 30.4 minutes per game this season. As you might expect, no rookie in NBA history has hit at least 63 TS%, a 15.0 usage rate and 25 minutes per game as a qualifier for minutes. Only 12 rookie qualifiers ever have even hit 20 minutes per game, a 15.0 usage rate and a 60.0 TS% with Tatum obviously being the highest of the dozen for scoring efficiency.

 

Tatum’s best two games from an efficiency standpoint have been his last two with a 109.5 TS% on Monday and an 84.5 TS% on Saturday. What’s even crazier is his season low for TS% is 43.3. There are a whopping 60 NBA players with a season TS% lower than Tatum’s worst game, including high-profile rookies Lonzo Ball, Frank Ntilikina, Markelle Fultz and former Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. Tatum is a top-30 player in nine-category leagues so far this season, and that may not change.

 

The other rookie on a heater is Donovan Mitchell. His 41-point explosion on Friday was the first 40-point game from a rookie since Blake Griffin in 2011. His last 12 games have been awesome with averages of 20.3 points, 3.9 boards, 4.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.8 treys on 46.6 percent from the field and 82.5 percent from the line.

 

His last five have been particularly outstanding, averaging 25.2 points, 2.8 boards, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 4.4 treys for a very nice 69.0 TS%. Here’s what his shot chart looks like over his last five:

 

Just cleaning up from three and he had all that efficiency despite being unassisted 45.5 percent of the time. As you’d expect, he had a 66.7 eFG% on his 60 jumpers over his last five, which includes him getting blocked five times. He's also been very good at the rim and his craftiness is a big reason why.

 

 

Mitchell probably won’t be this good, but he sure looks like he’s going to be a difference maker in fantasy. As we’ve said on the pod, you can get a king’s ransom if you wanted to trade him because he’s just sweeping the nation.



Mike Gallagher has covered fantasy hoops for eight years and this season is his second with Rotoworld. You can find him on Twitter talking about a player's shots at the rim.



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