If, very hypothetically*, the circumstances ever aligned for me to unload 50 points in an NBA game, it’s fair to say that I’d change my uniform number to the point total immediately (57 has a nice ring to it). I’d also probably get that same number tattooed to my face.
But as much as 50-plus is a peak to celebrate, the odd thing about the achievement is that it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a dominant player. The most striking example that comes to mind for me personally is Willie Burton, the No. 9 overall pick in 1990, who uncorked a 53-point barrage one night back in ’94, but averaged just 10.3 ppg for his career.
Terrence Ross was drafted one pick before and 22 years after Burton — No. 8 in 2012. And to this point, at least on the surface, there are some striking similarities to their stats. Ross, through nearly five seasons in the NBA, has averaged 9.6 ppg — just 0.7 away from Burton’s career average. And for me, the first thing I think of with Ross is that one time he scored 50 (51 to be exact, with 10 treys, back in January of 2014). And yes, Ross has won a dunk contest, so you may think of that first. But whatever the case, we can likely agree that his production has yet to start running in stride with his potential.
However, we may be seeing the beginning of that as we speak. Ross has now been with the Magic for 17 games. And perhaps not surprisingly, his brief tenure in Orlando has been a bit erratic. Take a look at this quick breakdown:
First 5 games with Magic: 14.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.0 spg, 1.0 bpg, 2.0 3s (43.5 FG)
Next 6 games with Magic: 7.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.3 bpg, 1.0 3s (33.3 FG)
Last 6 games with Magic: 17.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 2.8 3s (51.3 FG)
Looking at this, it’s certainly possible that Ross will always be streaky and inconsistent. And it’s fair to say that he probably won’t ever be a major asset in rebounds or assists. But it’s also possible that at age 26, with a prolonged look as a starter in a new city, he’s just now starting to figure things out. Overall with Orlando, he’s averaging 13.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.6 bpg and 1.9 3s. And the potential in points, 3s, steals — and to a far lesser extent, blocks — is very real for the 26-year-old, who is on my radar as a pretty compelling breakout candidate heading into next year.
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In other hoops-related matters…
I’d like to give a quick nod to the durability (the durability? Yes, the durability) of Anthony Davis. For as many headaches as he gives fantasy owners — searching for “locker room” turns up the phrase seven times on the first page of his Rotoworld news section — Brow has actually been quite durable this season in terms of games played. He has only missed four games in total, and currently sits at a career-high 71 games and counting. Also, he’s going somewhat berserk down the stretch. His last 10 games, Davis has posted 28.9 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 spg, 1.5 bpg and 0.6 3s, shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 81.3 from the line. For the season, he’s sitting No. 2 overall 9-category leagues, and having just turned 24 years old, he has to at least be in the conversation for No. 1 overall pick next season.
Other Random Thoughts: Trevor Ariza has 15 steals and 10 treys in his last three games. His numbers during that stretch: 18.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.7 apg, 5.0 spg and 3.3 3s on 62.5 percent from the floor. … After a career-high 33 points on Thursday, Ricky Rubio is now averaging 19.5 ppg, 10.0 apg, 1.5 spg and 1.6 3s (49.6 FG) in his last 10 games. … We all knew T.J. Warren could score, but how about his emergence on D? Last 10 games: 17.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.5 spg and 1.4 bpg. I should have included him on my list of players I’m eager to draft in the Rotoworld Roundtable this week. … I drafted Nikola Mirotic one pick before Otto Porter (ouch) in the 30-Deep league, and his March explosion is doing me no good after I missed the playoffs by one spot. I’m glad for those of you who are benefiting, though^. Mirotic’s last four games: 24.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.8 spg and 5.0 3s.
*Specifically, I think we’re talking about another life. And by that I mean Yo, Johnny!
^Said with as little sarcasm as possible.