LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to average 26 ppg, 8 rpg, 7 apg while shooting over 55% from field last year, and it’s hard to complain about his performance so far this season. He’s a non-big man shooting a ridiculous 59.8 percent from the field, also making 80.6 percent of his free throws (both career highs). But James’ 5.8 rpg are his lowest since his rookie campaign, while his 3.5 tpg are his most ever. Most glaringly, The King’s 1.1 spg and 0.4 bpg are both by far the lowest of his career, which maybe shouldn’t be all that surprising considering how many minutes he’s played over the past three seasons, when he’s totaled 67 playoff games while never averaging fewer than 41:47 mpg. Despite the sharp drop in steals/blocks and rise in TOs, James has still been the fourth most valuable fantasy player while also posting the league’s highest PER. So in summation, James has conserved some energy after playing way too many minutes recently but is still scoring 26.2 ppg despite attempting more than two fewer field goals per game than any other season in his career, thanks both to a career-high 48.1 percent mark from downtown and also this silly shot chart, which highlights how James has made 100/134 shots from within eight feet this season, which doesn’t seem fair. Moreover, his 6.3 apg lead the NBA among all non-point guards. Of course, you don’t need me to tell you James is good at basketball, but it’s worth noting how his game has transformed over the course of his career.
Here’s Jason Kidd getting an extra timeout by intentionally spilling a drink, although it did cost him $50,000.
Derrick Williams has clearly been a major bust after being the No. 2 pick of the 2011 draft, but he’s still just 22 years old and will be given another chance to prove his worth after getting traded to Sacramento, as the Kings immediately started him at small forward during his first game in a Kings uniform. Williams posted a 12-6-4 line but most importantly, played 32:23 minutes, displaying some pretty sick athleticism (“If you don’t like that, you don’t like NBA Basketball!” Got to love Grant Napear). It’s easy to forget now, but Williams looked like a monster at times in college, as he averaged 19.5 ppg and 8.3 rpg while shooting 56.8 percent from downtown during his final year in Arizona. His Per-36 numbers in the NBA look like this: 16.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 0.8 spg, 0.7 bpg and 1.1 3pt. Williams’ second game with the Kings was a bit of a dud, but it sure looks like the Kings are going to give him the opportunity to get a ton of run, and there’s obviously much room for improvement. I’m in no way saying Williams will live up to his potential, but he offers the kind of upside that makes the Kings trading a player like Luc Mbah a Moute for him or you adding him via the fantasy waiver wire worth the gamble.
Over his last six games, Gordon Hayward is shooting 27.0 percent from the floor (20-for-74). That’s not ideal. Meanwhile, Trey Burke is shooting 36.6 percent from the field over the first six games of his career, while Alec Burks sports a 38.5 FG%. Enes Kanter has been benched and hasn’t seen 20 minutes in a game in more than a week, and after averaging a double-double and 2.3 bpg last season as a starter, Derrick Favors has disappointed in an increased role this year. Richard Jefferson is seeing 29:18 mpg. Utah ranks second to last in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency so far this season. In other words, the Jazz are “winning” the battle to have the best odds for the No. 1 pick in this year’s loaded draft.
This is a pretty entertaining story about two strangers passing increasingly angry notes to each other on a delayed flight, ultimately resulting in a slap across the face. (Update: it was a hoax)
Quick Hits: Ryan Anderson is such a monster. He hasn’t missed a free throw this season and is shooting a ridiculous 50.0 percent from behind the arc, which looks even more impressive when you consider his 7.4 attempts per game from downtown ranks second in the NBA. Few 6-10 players in NBA history have been better shooters. Anderson’s current (24.11) PER ranks inside the top-10 in the NBA, and he’s also the No. 8 fantasy player despite not starting a single game…Whether or not the trade was good for Washington long term, Marcin Gortat has been a fantasy asset, especially lately. The center has averaged 17.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks while shooting 66.7 percent (36-of-54) from the field over the last five games. He currently ranks as a top-50 fantasy player, ahead of others such as Dwyane Wade, Jrue Holiday and Blake Griffin…Danny Green averaged 2.6 3pt while shooting 48.2 percent from downtown over 21 games during the playoffs last year. While Green hasn’t been a total bust this season, the 26-year-old has been one of the most inconsistent players in the league, as he’s scored eight points or fewer in 12 of the Spurs’ 17 games, although he’s still averaged 1.8 3pt despite seeing only 23:41 mpg…Over his last eight games, DeMar DeRozan has averaged 25.4 ppg and 2.0 3pt while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor. He’s not a huge contributor elsewhere, but DeRozan has averaged 17.8 FGA this season, which is the ninth most in the NBA, which is music to fantasy owners’ ears. His arrow is pointing up, and DeRozan is going to be a major factor down the stretch while playing for a Toronto team lacking many other options (with Rudy Gay also a trade candidate).
Headlines of the Week: Dieters Subsist On Cotton Balls In Horrible New Weight-Loss Trend...Detroit Goes ‘Murder Free’ For 36 Hours...Kanye West Doesn’t Like Appearing On “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” Because He Has Issues With The Cinematography...Missing Woman Found In Mexico Says She Got Lost, Accidentally Crossed Border...Pledge Loses Testicle After Horrific Night Of Hazing...World’s First Floating City Back On Course...Judge Orders Sriracha Hot Sauce Plant Partly Closed Over Odors (Is it really pronounced that way? If so, I’ve been saying it wrong all this time)...Star Of MTV Show ‘True Life: I’m A Chubby Chaser’ That Documented His Love Of Larger Ladies Sues TV Company After It Revealed His Real Identity And Address.
Quick Hits Part Deux: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have combined to hit more three pointers this season than nine teams in the league. Curry has averaged 13.0 ppg on pull shots this season, easily an NBA high. The next most is Chris Paul at 10.4. I’m still bitter, but this fan footage of Russell Westbrook’s amazing game-winning three is pretty incredible (can these two teams please meet in the playoffs. What a series that would be)…The Thunder are the only team yet to lose at home this season…John Henson was moved into the starting lineup Saturday, resulting in 13 points and 13 boards and a season-high 13 field goal attempts and 33:50 minutes of run. Last year’s first round pick has now averaged 2.8 blocks over his past 10 games, with only the last coming while starting, so if he remains there moving forward, Henson offers a decent amount of fantasy upside. He shouldn’t be available in any leagues right now…After highlighting Monta Ellis’ points in the paint last week, it’s not surprising he leads the NBA with 7.9 ppg on drives to the basket this year, but No. 2 and 3 might: Eric Bledsoe (7.4) and Evan Turner (7.3)…It’s no coincidence the 76ers and Timberwolves have a combined 15-22 record yet have so many valuable fantasy assets (four players inside the top-30, seven in the top-70) thanks to both teams ranking as No. 1 and No. 2 in PACE this season…Bradley Beal has averaged an NBA-high 2.9 miles covered while on the court per game this season, although the player right behind him in this category (Michael Carter-Williams) has averaged a much higher speed while doing so (4.6 mph vs. 4.3)…Andrea Bargnani, who’s averaged a modest 31:30 mpg and plays center, has averaged the second-most catch and shoot FGM per game this season (3.5) per NBA.com.
Longread of the Week: “Charles Manson Today: The Final Confessions of a Psychopath.”
Quick Hits Part Tres: After Blake Griffin’s rebounds dropped to 8.3 per game last season, he’s back up to 11.1 this season, while he’s also been able to maintain last year’s big jump in steals, getting 1.1 while also averaging a career-high 0.7 bpg. Griffin still barely shoots better from the free throw line (62.9%) than he does from the floor (54.1%), but after his minutes were reduced to 32:30 last year, Doc Rivers has given him much more run (36:53) this season. Even with DeAndre Jordan’s breakout, Griffin has maintained top-50 fantasy value…Greivis Vasquez finished second only to Chris Paul last year in assists per game (minimum 40 games played) and has started every game this season, but he’s been clearly outplayed by Isaiah Thomas, his backup and the last pick of the 2011 draft. The timeshare hurts both of their fantasy values, but the starter (Vasquez) has been the No. 153 ranked player while the backup (Thomas) has been ranked 84th, which I imagine comes as no surprise to Kings fans…The Raptors currently lead their division with a 6-10 record, while the Thunder are currently second in theirs with a 12-3 mark...Really unfortunate news regarding Anthony Davis suffering a non-displaced fracture in his left hand. Davis currently ranks as the No. 1 fantasy player and will be sidelined indefinitely. The aforementioned Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans should see increased Usage Rates (and improved fantasy values) as a result…J.J. Redick will also be out 6-8 weeks with a hurt hand and elbow, which is actually a blow to fantasy owners, as he’s been the No. 51 ranked fantasy player this season. Willie Green got the start in his place Sunday, but it’s likely Jamal Crawford who benefits most from Redick’s absence.