November 28, 2021

Acqua NYC

Fit And Go Forward

30 Facts: Jaylen Brown Arrives

I’d say about once per season (probably 0.8 times per year, to be more exact) I decide to do a column where I write up one fantasy-related stat or fact about every NBA team. Early on in this endeavor I usually remember that 30 facts is a lot more than I initially thought. Then I seriously consider bailing on the premise. Then I finish it anyway. 

Today is that day. 

We’ll go through this alphabetically and won’t stop until we reach the Wizards, who seemingly haven’t played a game in about eight weeks. We start it off in…


You know about the recent surge from Clint Capela (and we talk about it in detail on Friday’s episode of the podcast), so the player in question here is John Collins, and the number is 2.3. That’s Collins’ average blocks over his last three games, after a five-game stretch where he totaled exactly zero. Collins is also averaging 18.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, those 2.3 bpg and 0.7 3s over his last three games — heavily weighted of course by a 31-point, 11-rebound game on Wednesday — and I remain confident that better days will continue to be ahead after his rough start.


That’s how many categories in a 9-category league where Jaylen Brown is putting up a career-best: 25.8 ppg, 3.8 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 2.5 3s, 51.8 FG and 77.0 FT are all the best of his career. The only categories where the 24-year-old isn’t putting up career-best numbers are rebounds (5.8) and turnovers (2.8), the first being easy to forgive and the latter being understandable given the added responsibility. I planned to draft Brown in a lot of leagues, then drafted him exactly nowhere. He currently sits 25th overall in 9-category leagues, per


That would be the blocks per game of one DeAndre Jordan in the last four games since the departure of Jarrett Allen in the James Harden trade. Jordan has also averaged 9.0 ppg and 8.3 rpg in 28 minutes per game, and while it’s a little frustrating seeing him get just 24 minutes in a 147-135 double-OT game, the net result is pretty solid.


That’s the field goal percentage over the last nine games for LaMelo Ball, who started out defying expectations for low percentages by shooting 44.4 percent in his first five games. On a positive note, that same stretch has seen the rookie be really productive in counting stats (12.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 7.3 apg, 1.6 spg and 1.3 3s) while keeping his turnovers down (2.0), and if he can continue to successfully avoid getting to the free throw line often (2.2 FT attempts per game), that FG percentage is something you can absolutely live with. Ultimately, this was a positive LaMelo Ball writeup disguised as a negative one. I didn’t realize that until we got to the finish.

(…aaaaand this is about the point where I remember that 30 facts is a lot, so I’m going to make an effort to keep these shorter moving forward. I will probably fail.)


The points per game for Lauri Markkanen in three games since his return. Markkanen overall is sitting at 18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 0.9 spg, 0.4 bpg and 3.1 3s on a career-best 47.2 percent shooting, and it’s looking like the 23-year-old is back on the ascent under the Billy Donovan regime after a frustrating 2019-20 season. 


That would be the average minutes for Isaac Okoro in the last six games, a stretch that has seen the 19-year-old average 9.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.7 bpg and 1.3 3s (yes, on 35.6 percent from the field, but also low-volume). Okoro is rostered in just 10 percent of Yahoo leagues, and his skill set + absurd playing time leave him as one of my favorite waiver or low-end trade targets out there.


Those are the combined blocks (1.8) and 3s (1.8) in five games for Kristaps Porzingis, who’s also putting up 20.2 ppg and 8.8 rpg, looking everything like the early-round sensation we know he can be if healthy. That caveat always applies for Porzingis, but I’m angry at myself for not taking a swing on him in more leagues at his Yahoo ADP of 60.5.


That’s the 9-category ranking for Jamal Murray, who was almost definitely overdrafted (Yahoo: 33.8) after his dynamic performance in the bubble. Murray has finished 60th, 77th and 57th the last three years in 9-category leagues, and it’s a pretty big leap to get into the top-30 when he hasn’t proven himself to be a high-volume player in assists (career-high: 4.8) or steals (career-high: 1.1). Murray has room to improve, but it’s a long and potentially insurmountable climb to the top-35.


This is the 9-category ranking of Jerami Grant, who continues to obliterate his career-best numbers and currently sits at 25.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.9 spg, 1.3 bpg and 2.6 3s in 37 minutes per game. I doubt you can get an early-round player back for Grant in return, so in all likelihood the best move here is to do nothing if you drafted him and enjoy watching him dominate for the truly horrendous Pistons, whose 3-11 record is currently the worst in the NBA.


The minutes per game over the last five for James Wiseman, a number that would look even better if not for a 13-minute dud against the Lakers earlier this week. Wiseman is coming off 20- and 15-point games against the Spurs and the Knicks, and remains a highly intriguing trade target if you need to take a swing on some upside (and honestly, who doesn’t).


That would be the points per game for Victor Oladipo in two games with the Rockets, which is great news, aside from the fact that Oladipo now carries risk as a potential late-season shutdown candidate with the 4-9 Rockets going nowhere.


The field goal percentage over the last six games for Malcolm Brogdon, who remains an excellent fantasy option, but did seem to be unsustainably hot when averaging 23.6 ppg on 51.8 percent shooting through his first eight games.


This is the 9-category ranking for Serge Ibaka over his last eight games, a stretch that has seen him average just 9.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg and 0.6 3s. He’s still playing enough (26 minutes) to make an impact, but Ibaka is a frustrating option right now, and one I’d plant on the bench until we see some encouraging signs.


And that’s the 9-category ranking for Dennis Schroder, who’s been a nice addition for the Lakers in real life, but is the true definition of mediocre point guard play in fantasy. Essentially nothing in his stat line jumps out at you — 14.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.2 bpg, 1.1 3s — and it comes with a sub par FG percentage of 41.6. It’s possible that last number improves, as Schroder shot 46.9 percent for OKC last year, but either way, this is a fantasy point guard who carries very little ceiling.


Sticking with the trend of looking at rankings, this is where we are with Dillon Brooks, who started off like an absolute maniac (first five games: 19.2 ppg / 4.2 rpg / 3.2 apg / 2.2 spg / 2.6 3s), but has been pretty awful since. Brooks’ last five games include 12.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.0 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.5 bpg and 1.5 3s, and he has shot just 33.0 percent from the field on 14.4 attempts. He’s almost guaranteed to improve from this awful slump, but I wouldn’t expect first-five-games Brooks to make many more appearances this season.


That’s the games played so far for Jimmy Butler, who was a fade for me in fantasy this season due to his age (31) and extended run in the bubble, but I find myself wondering if we’re reaching the point where Butler’s fantasy managers are so frustrated that it’s time to reverse course and inquire about trading for him. Butler’s six-game averages place him 31st in 9-category leagues, and while I wouldn’t deal someone like Fred VanVleet (No. 35) to get him, the slow and maddening start opens up some interesting trade possibilities.


The number above represents the combined 3s (2.1) and blocks (2.0) over the last eight games for Brook Lopez. The 32-year-old got off to a rough start (8.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 1.4 3s through his first seven games), but is beginning to resemble the perennially underappreciated Milwaukee center: a guy who can get you right around 2.0 3s and 2.0 blocks per game, and fly under the radar while doing so.


That would be the roster percentage in Yahoo leagues for Anthony Edwards, a number that in my opinion is just too high. We knew the concerns with Edwards coming into this season (potentially devastating percentages), and so far he has shot 35.9 percent from the field on 13.1 attempts. Add in just 12.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.2 bpg and 1.5 3s, and you have the No. 342 player in 9-category leagues. At this point we’re rostering him based on name recognition, and the idea that it might click into place at some point later this year. If you have the discipline to keep Edwards planted on your bench until and if that happens, it might make sense. I certainly don’t, and his recent field goal percentage (20.5 percent over his last four games) is the only reminder I need to stay away.


We talk about Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson in some detail on Friday’s podcast, so I wanted to take a second to look at Steven Adams, as the number above represents his average blocks so far — tying a career-low and his worst since his rookie year. Considering that his playing time (31 minutes per game) hasn’t taken a hit, and he came out of the gates just fine in blocks (1.2 over his first five games), I’d be inclined to target Adams in a trade if you’re struggling in rebounds and defensive stats. It’s possible there’s some Adams-related frustration out there after he has posted just 0.4 bpg over his last nine games.


That’s the combined steals and blocks number for RJ Barrett. However, it’s not all bad here, and I truly have mixed feelings about Barrett, who has upped his production in points (17.8), rebounds (7.3), assists (3.5) and FT percentage (75.3), but is still shooting just 40.8 percent from the field — and sits 170th overall in 9-category leagues. Overall, Barrett is playing a lot better lately (51.4 from the field over his last five games), but the defensive stats continue to be a glaring weakness as he tries to make a fantasy leap.


I pledged to make these shorter a while ago, and failed, so I will now try again. The number above is the combined blocks (1.1) and 3s (1.3) for Darius Bazley, who is shooting poorly from the field (38.0), but has the skill set to be a pretty fun fantasy option if he can just fix that.


The current 9-category ranking for Nikola Vucevic, who is posting career-highs in points (23.3), steals (1.3) and 3s (2.7), and is only just now starting to block shots (he’s at 0.6 bpg after picking up two blocks in each of his last two games). This season has top-15 written all over it for Vuc, so don’t do something silly if you drafted him and think this can’t possibly last.


You’re looking at the points per game in his last five games for one Shake Milton. Yes, he boosted that number with the Sixers being short-handed for some of those games, and is shooting an unsustainable 60.0 percent in that five-game span. However, Shake was an intriguing preseason sleeper for many people, and we quickly forgot about it after a slow start. He’s now averaging 16.8 ppg, 3.5 apg, 1.2 spg and 1.5 3s on the season, and Friday becomes a big test for Milton with Seth Curry probable to return to action after an absence of more than two weeks.


That’s the number of blocks Deandre Ayton had on Wednesday, his career-high in that department. Ayton also added 26 points and 17 boards in his second straight monster double-double as he continues to show signs of breaking out of his early doldrums.


That’s how many key contributors Portland will be missing for a long time with CJ McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) both recovering from significant injuries. We already know that Enes Kanter has taken over at center, but the question becomes whether Rodney Hood (21 points in 25 minutes Monday) or Gary Trent Jr. (two points in 24 minutes) emerges as a viable option sans McCollum, or does this remain a maddeningly inconsistent shooting guard committee? For the record, I lean the latter.


The 9-category ranking for De’Aaron Fox, who does jump up to 63rd if you punt FT percentage. Still though, it’s not enough from a player who went 39.9th overall on average in Yahoo leagues. Fox did have a monster 43-point, 13-assist game recently, a reminder that he has plenty of ceiling left to hit, but it’s an early-season concern that his overall stat line is either the same or slightly worse than last year’s across the board.


The combined blocks (0.8) and 3s (0.9) for LaMarcus Aldridge, who was a pleasant surprise in both departments with 2.8 combined last year but is, as we all know, extremely old. I’d be shocked if you can get anything substantial for the 35-year-old in a trade, so I think you’ve got to just stay patient and hope that his recent string of low minutes (22 per game over his last three) is partially the product of a couple of lopsided games.


And that’s the 9-category ranking for the ageless Kyle Lowry, who is slightly down in points (18.2), dimes (7.1) and steals (1.0) from last year, but has helped offset that by pulling down a career-best 6.5 rebounds per game. Bottom line: Age will bring an end to the Lowry era at some point in the coming years, but with his 35th birthday a couple months away, we clearly aren’t near that ravine just yet.


Would you believe that’s the 9-category ranking for Donovan Mitchell? The way I see it, there are few players who have a bigger divide in their real-life impact than fantasy impact, as Mitchell is an absolute stud for the Jazz, and gets drafted very early in fantasy (Yahoo: 22.6), but pretty much always finishes in the 50s in 9-category leagues. (The last four years, including this season so far: 56th, 54th, 56th, 59th.) He is producing at a top-20 clip the last couple of weeks, so maybe the fantasy ceiling is just around the corner for Mitchell? I’m a little skeptical, but I’ll gladly root for it to happen.


As of this writing, that’s the number of days (and counting) that it’s been since the Wizards played a professional basketball game. And as we discussed on the podcast, it’s tough not to feel like those postponed games are just flat-out gone. But the plan is for those games to be made up, which brings me to my point here, and that point is: Bradley Beal. People who drafted Beal and were enjoying his first-round production might be either panicked or frustrated or plummeting in the standings (or all of the above), and I don’t think it’s too early to see if there’s a window to trade your slightly less awesome first-round option and get Beal back in a trade.

For more on some of these topics but definitely not all of them, check out the aforementioned podcast, right here or in the embedded player below:



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