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Notable Numbers

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Notable Numbers

Wednesday, January 3, 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 Jimmy Butler’s dominating December and the temptation of Marquese Chriss.


Follow me on Twitter: @TommyBeer


* Jimmy Gets Buckets
It took Jimmy Butler a little while to find his footing in Minnesota, but he has gotten red hot as the temperature has dropped.

 

Over his first 20 games in a Timberwolves uniform, Butler averaged a relatively disappointing 17.5 points on 44.0 percent shooting. However, in the 16 games the Wolves has played since, he is averaging 26.6 points on 50.9 percent shooting. Jimmy has been particularly terrific over the last few weeks. He's been Minnesota’s leading scorer in seven of their previous eight games, with the Wolves winning each of those seven contests. Over these past eight games, Butler is averaging 28.8 points, 5.6 assists, 1.1 treys and 1.9 steals, while shooting a blistering 53.7 percent from the floor and 93.8 percent from the free-throw stripe.


Dating back to December 1st, Butler ranks fifth overall in nine-category fantasy leagues and is one of only five players averaging at least 25 points, five boards and five assists. The other four are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Russell Westbrook.

 

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* Caris Can Dish
Caris LeVert surprisingly popped up on the Nets injury report Tuesday with a left groin strain and is currently listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s matchup with Minnesota. However, this just a game-notes designation; hopefully, he’s only dealing with a minor issue that won’t sideline him for long.


The injury is disappointing because LeVert is currently playing extremely well. Not only has he scored at least 12 points in 14 of the Nets last 15 games, but he’s also been finding his groove as a playmaker and racking up assists at an impressive clip. When the Nets drafted LeVert, they stated that they hoped to develop him as a ball handler and facilitator, despite the fact that he was primarily a shooting guard and scorer at Michigan. Over the last month, LeVert has showcased the impressive strides he’s made.


Prior to December 7th, LeVert had never dished out more than seven assists in a game in his young NBA career. In the 14 games since, he has tallied at least seven dimes on six separate occasions, including each of Brooklyn’s last four games. According to Basketball-Reference, LeVert joined Deron Williams as just the second Net since 1983 to dish out at least seven assists in four straight games as a reserve. Here’s to hoping we get good news concerning his injury later today.


* Sweet Lou
Lou Williams eclipsed the 30-point plateau once again on Tuesday night, when he poured in 33 points and dished out six assists in the Clippers victory over the Grizzlies. Williams is on an absolute tear, having scored over 20 points in six straight games. He is averaging 30.8 points, 4.8 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 4.3 triples, while shooting 49.0 percent from the floor, including 47.3 percent from downtown, and 90.5 percent from the free throw stripe over that six-game stretch.


Despite this being his 13th year in the league, on the season, Williams is averaging career-highs in points (21.4), assists (4.8), 3-point percentage (40.8 percent). One of the primary reasons for his statistical spike is because he’s also averaging a career-high in minutes (31.2). Williams is on pace to become the first bench player to average over 21 points per game since Ricky Pierce averaged 23.0 points a night as a reserve in 1989-90.


* For Chriss’ Sakes
Perennial fantasy flirt Marquese Chriss is back at it, tempting GM’s all over the land. After a brutally disappointing first two months of the season, Chriss has strung together two weeks of promising production.


Over the Suns last five games, Chriss is averaging 12.2 points (on 60.0 percent shooting), 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.8 treys and 1.8 blocks in 27.3 minutes per contest. This is the type of production that fantasy owners thought we’d see far more frequently heading into the 2017-18 season, and why he was a highlighted name on many a cheat sheet.

Over his final 15 games of the 2016-17 campaign, Chriss averaged 13.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.1 triples, 1.0 steals and 1.4 blocks in 27.8 minutes. Over the full course of his rookie season, he averaged 1.5 treys, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per-36 minutes. The only other NBA player to match those per-36 averages was DeMarcus Cousins.


Clearly, the talent is there. However, the focus and energy level has been inexcusably lacking for most of this season. Head coach Jay Triano has praised Marquese for his recent increased activity. “We’re seeing him run the floor and get alley-oops, we’re seeing him run down and get chase down blocks. Those are the energy type things we expected from him that we weren’t getting earlier,” said Triano earlier this week in a radio interview.

The question is how long can Chriss stay locked in?


Quick Hits:
* Donovan Mitchell is on pace to join Allen Iverson as just the second rookie in NBA history to average at least 18 points, 2.0 3-pointers and 1.5 steals per game.


* James Harden tallied a total of 2,490 points and 805 assists in 2017. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other player in NBA history with that many points and assists in one calendar year was Nate Archibald in 1972 (2,842 points and 933 assists).


* Andre Drummond led the NBA in rebounds in 2017, with 1,190 boards. Per Elias, it is his third consecutive calendar year with at least 1,100 rebounds. Drummond is the first NBA player to grab more than 1,100 boards in three straight years since Dennis Rodman did so from 1991 through 1993.


* Kevin Love played exceptionally well in December. Over the Cavs final 15 games in 2017, Love averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.4 treys. We’ll see how the return of Isaiah Thomas impacts his production. Love may see his usage rate dip a bit.


* Those owners that scooped up Bismack Biyombo after Nikola Vucevic (hand) went down have to be ecstatic with the early returns from Biz. In the four games he has started, Biyombo is averaging 9.5 points, a whopping 13.0 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks. He’s also shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and 80.0 percent from the line. I see no reason to believe he won’t be able to average close to a double-double for the next six weeks or so until Vooch returns.


* Like the aforementioned Marquese Chriss, Willie Cauley-Stein is another player finally living up to draft day expectations. Over the Kings last eight games, Cauley-Stein is averaging 15.6 points (on 56.1 percent shooting), 8.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals.


* Andre Iguodala has struggled for much of the season but is currently mired in a particularly dreadful shooting slump. Over the Warriors last six games, Iggy is averaging 3.0 points in 22.6 minutes while shooting 26.7 percent from the floor and 50.0 from the free-throw line. He’s also missed all ten of the 3-pointers he’s attempted.

 




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