Here in “Notable Numbers,” we attempt to unearth a plethora of interesting stats and fantasy-relevant facts each week. The topics discussed today include an already dominant Anthony Davis adding yet another facet to his game and Kemba Walker coming back down to earth.
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Anthony Davis was so dominant last season; the hope was that he’d somehow be able to maintain his incredible production into 2018-19.
Well, it turns out AD was just getting warmed up. Not only is Davis averaging 28 points and 2.7 blocks this season, but he’s also averaging career-highs in rebounds (13.0), steals (1.6), made 3-pointers (0.9). Yet, the most dramatic improvement has been in the assist category. Coming into this season, Davis had never averaged more than 2.3 dimes per game. He is currently more than doubling that production, dishing out a remarkable 4.8 assists per contest.
AD was already the most dominant force in fantasy hoops, by far. The fact that he’s now tallying nearly five assists a night makes him almost unfair to own. It’s a superhero getting another superpower; as if Spiderman was all of a sudden gained The Hulk’s strength.
To put all these numbers in context, consider this: Davis is currently averaging more points than LeBron James and Joel Embiid, more rebounds and blocks than Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela, more steals than Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and more assists than Goran Dragic, Jamal Murray, and Victor Oladipo.
In fact, per Basketball-Reference, AD is on pace to become just the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 28 points, 13 rebounds and four assists per game throughout a full season. You may have heard of the other three guys in this exclusive club: Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
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The D. Rose Redemption Tour Continues
I’ve highlighted Derrick Rose’s incredible resurgence this season previously in this space, but the dude is still putting up shockingly stellar numbers.
When Rose got hot back in October, most pundits assumed he’d cool off quickly. After all, earlier this year, it appeared that Rose’s once illustrious career might be over. Rose began the 2017-18 campaign in Cleveland. However, just ten games into the season, he was sidelined by a severely sprained left ankle. In November of 2017, he left the team, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Rose was “seriously re-evaluating his future in the NBA.” One team source told ESPN of Rose: "He's tired of being hurt, and it's taking a toll on him mentally."
Rose finally returned in January but was clearly a shell of himself. The Cavs traded him Utah and the Jazz immediately waived him. Rose signed on with the Wolves to finish out the season. Over his final 14 games, from the end of January through the conclusion of the regular season in April, he averaged just 4.9 points and 1.3 assists, while shooting 34.2 percent from the floor and 16.7 percent from 3-point range.
When Tom Thibodeau decided to bring back D Rose this season, basketball twitter scoffed at the decision, poking fun at Thibs and ridiculing Rose as washed up. Welp, nearly two months into this new season, and, remarkably, it looks like Rose has been reborn.
In fact, here are Rose’s per-36 minute averages from his 2010-11 campaign, when he won the MVP award:
24.1 points (on 44.5% shooting),
1.5 made 3-pointers (on 33.2% shooting
3.9 rebounds and,
Here are Rose’s per-36 minute averages from the 20 games he appeared in from October 19th through December 1st of this season:
24.3 points (on 51.5% shooting),
2.3 made 3-pointers (on 50.7% shooting),
3.8 rebounds and,
On the season, Rose has made 38 of his 78 triple attempts (48.7%). Over his two previous season’s combined (2017-18 and 17-18) Rose was 20-of-90 from 3-point territory (22.2%).
Despite going scoreless in 25 minutes on Monday, he’s currently averaging 18.4 points per game for the Wolves off the bench. Per Basketball-Reference, only two players in NBA history have averaged more than 18 PPG and started five or fewer games in a full NBA season.
Will Rose eventually cool off and come back down to earth? We shall see.
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Batum's Been a Bummer
Nicolas Batum started the season slowly, but there was hope that he’d turn it around. After all, he still has three years and $76.8 million left on the monstrous five-year, $120,000,000 contract he signed with the Hornets back in July of 2016.
However, Batum has somehow managed to regress even further as the season has dragged on. Over Charlotte’s past 12 games, he is averaging just 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 0.7 triples while shooting 45.6 percent from the floor and 26.7 percent from downtown.
Over that timeframe, Batum ranks 194th overall in nine-category fantasy leagues. Ugh.
Kemba Returns to Earth
While nowhere near Batum’s disappointing descent into near irrelevance, Kemba Walker has slowed down from the otherworldly pace he was on earlier this season.
Over the Hornets first 16 games, Kemba averaged 29.6 points (second in the NBA) and 4.1 treys, while shooting 46.5 percent from the floor and 38.9 from downtown. He ranked fifth overall in nine-category formats during that stretch.
In the seven games Charlotte has played since then, Walker is averaging 19.6 points and 1.7 triples, while shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from 3-point range. He ranks 91st overall in nine-cat formats during this time.
A friendly reminder that it’s always worth considering selling high on even great players when they are outlandishly exceeding expectations.
Has there been a more disappointing fantasy player this season than Indiana’s Tyreke Evans?
In sharp contrast, Evans was a wonderfully pleasant surprise in 2017-18 when he was awesome for Memphis. In the 32 games he started for the Grizzlies in 2017-18, Evans averaged 20.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.4 treys in 32.5 minutes, becoming the first player in franchise history to average more than five boards, five dimes, two triples and one steal per game over the course of a full season. He was also one of just two players to average at least 19/5/5 while shooting better than 39 percent from downtown in 2017-18. The other two were Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.
Back in September, if you were to tell me that Evans wouldn’t be worth a roster spot in standard leagues by December, I’d assume it was because he got injured, or was only able to see limited minutes off the bench behind Victor Oladipo.
However, remarkably, Evans has had a number of things work in his favor. He’s stayed healthy all season and has seen extended playing time with Oladipo (knee) on the sideline. Yet, he’s still unable to provide fantasy value.
Tyreke has started each of the Pacers last eight games but is averaging a pedestrian 9.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.9 turnovers, while shooting a putrid 31.3 percent from the floor.
Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Evans still ranks outside the top-200 overall in nine-category leagues. Unfortunately, even with ‘Dipo injured, he belongs on the waiver wire.
In mid-November, Damyean Dotson suffered through four straight DNP-CD’s. As a result, he was dumped to the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues.
Well, since re-entering the rotation, Dotson has been a beast, and an efficient one at that.
Over the Knicks last four games, Dame Dot has scored at least 16 points and shot at least 50 percent from the floor. During this current four-game stretch, he's averaging 17.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.3 triples and 1.5 steals in 26.1 minutes, while shooting an incredible 62.5% from the field, including 65.0% from 3-point territory, and 100% from the free-throw line.
He also has also committed just one turnover. This combination of phenomenal efficiency and limited TO’s sent his fantasy value into the stratosphere. Dating back to November 27th, Dotson ranks 12th overall in nine-category leagues.