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Notable Numbers

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Notable Numbers

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Here in “Notable Numbers,” we attempt to unearth a plethora of interesting stats and fantasy-relevant facts each week. The topics discussed today include Jayson Tatum’s surprisingly solid rookie season and Jimmy Butler bouncing back in Minnesota.

 

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* Drummond Doing It All
Last season, Andre Drummond set a career-high in assists when he dished out 90 dimes over 81 games. Prior to 2016-17, Drummond had never averaged more than 0.8 assists per contests. However, through the first 23 games of the 2017-18 campaign, Andre has already handed out 89 assists. Last week, he had at least six assists in four straight games. That run included a monster effort in a win over the Celtics, in which he tallied 26 points, 22 rebounds, six dimes and four steals. He joined Elton Brand and Chris Webber as the only players with at least 25 points, 20 boards, five helpers and four steals in a single game over the last 20 years.

 

Drummond is currently averaging 3.9 assists a night, nearly quadrupling his previous career-best mark. He is also still dominating the paint, averaging a league-leading 15.0 rebounds per game and 1.3 blocks. Per Basketball-Reference, Drummond has a chance to become the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975-76 (and just the second player in league history) to average at least 15 rebounds, four assists and one block per game over the course of a full season. Factor in his improved free-throw shooting (64.0 percent) and it is clear to see why Dre ranks just outside the top-30 overall in nine-category fantasy leagues.

 

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* ‘Dipo Doing it Well
Victor Oladipo scored 25 points or more in a game just four times last season in Oklahoma City. He had never recorded more than eight 25-point games in any single season over his four-year career. That is, until this season. ‘Dipo has already notched nine 25-plus point efforts over his first 23 games.

 

On the season, Victor is one of only six players currently averaging at least 23 points, five rebounds, four assists and two treys per game. The other five are Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, James Harden and DeMarcus Cousins. Of those five, Durant is the only player with a higher field goal percentage than Oladipo (48.3 percent).

 

* Tatum on Target
Celtics GM Danny Ainge took plenty of heat from pundits when he traded away the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, and along with it, the opportunity to select the consensus top player in the draft, Markelle Fultz. Six months later, although we only have a small sample size to look at, Ainge’s much-debated gamble is looking better and better by the day. While Fultz remains sidelined due to a debilitating injury to his shooting shoulder, Jayson Tatum continues to exceed even the most optimistic of expectations.

 

The 19-year old Tatum is averaging 13.9 points and 5.3 rebounds. He has scored a total of 348 points over his first 25 NBA games, which is the fourth most ever by a Celtic over the first 25 games of their career. Larry Bird sits atop that list (454 points). Paul Pierce (333) is now fifth, one spot behind Tatum.

 

In addition, Tatum leads the entire league in 3-point accuracy, as he is shooting a scorching 51.3 percent from downtown. No rookie in NBA history has ever shot above 50 percent while averaging at least three triple attempts per game during his debut season. Due to his remarkable efficiency, Tatum is averaging 1.53 points per shot this season, which ranks first among all non-centers. Yes, that means Tatum is ahead of James Harden (1.50), Steph Curry (1.49), LeBron James (1.50) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (1.48).

 

(Oh, as part of the Fultz-Tatum trade, the Celtics also get either the Lakers first-round pick in 2018 [if it falls between No. 2 and No. 5] or Sacramento's first-rounder in 2019.)

 

* Horford’s Heater
Another Celtic quietly putting together an excellent season in Beantown is center Al Horford. In Monday’s win over Milwaukee, Horford scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, hauled down nine rebounds and dished out eight assists. What is remarkable about this effort, is that it was par for the course from Horford. Over his last three games, Horford has made 23 of 32 field-goal attempts (71.9%) and has tallied 22 rebounds and 24 assists. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other Boston player ever to shoot 70% or better with 20-plus rebounds and 20-plus assists over a three-game span was Larry Bird, who did so in both April 1983 and March 1986.

 

On the season, Big Al is averaging 14.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.3 dimes, 1.4 treys and 1.0 blocks. Thus, he is on pace to become just the fourth player in NBA history to average at least eight rebounds, five assists, one block and one 3-pointer per game. Per Basketball-Reference, the three players to have done this previously are Scottie Pippen (1994-95), Draymond Green (2015-16) and Kevin Durant (2015-16).

 

* Butler’s Back in Business
Jimmy Butler’s debut season in Minnesota got off to a rocky start. Over his first 12 games in a Wolves uniform, Butler was averaging 15.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.7 treys and 1.8 steals, while shooting just 39.7 percent from the floor and 29.6 percent from 3-point territory.

 

However, starting with a strong performance in a win over the Mavericks back in mid-November, Jimmy Buckets has turned his season around. Over his last 11 games, Butler is averaging 22.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.7 treys and 2.1 steals, while shooting a solid 48.9 percent from the floor and 42.2 percent from downtown. The buy-low window on Butler has slammed shut. Congrats to those fantasy GM’s that were able to snag him at a discount.

 

* Time Lapse LeBron
We have highlighted the incredible season being authored by the ageless LeBron James a few times in this space already this season. Here is yet another illustration: 

 

11 years ago, over 15 games in November of 2006, LeBron (in his fourth NBA season) averaged 27.5 points (on 56.3 TS%), 6.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists.

 

Last month, over 15 games in November of 2017, LeBron (in his 15th NBA season) averaged 29.6 points (on 66.3 TS%), 8.7 rebounds and 8.5 assists.

 

* I’ll take pleasant surprises for $200, Alec
Coming into Tuesday night’s showdown vs. the Thunder in Oklahoma City, Alec Burks had scored at least 24 points and shot above 58 percent from the floor in three consecutive contests. Burks came back down to earth in Utah’s loss to OKC, finishing with 11 points on just 2-of-9 shooting.

 

Nonetheless, Burks’ most recent sample size is still undeniably impressive. Over his last five games, he is averaging 20.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.2 treys, and 1.4 steals in 26.0 minutes, while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor, 47.8 percent from downtown, and 91.3 percent from the free-throw stripe. Once Rodney Hood (ankle) returns to the lineup, Burks will see his minutes scaled back, but he has proved he’s finally healthy. Remember, before suffering crippling injuries in 2015, Burks was a 14 point-per-game scorer for Utah. Due to his upside, Burks should be rostered in deep leagues.

 




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