Daily Fantasy Basketball Stats Watch: Alex Len's Breakout
In the NBA, there always exists an array of team expectations.
There are the title contenders, the good-but-not-great squads, those destined for the lottery, those vying for the most ping-pong balls. And every year, there are a few teams somewhere in between some of those categories.
For the Phoenix Suns, a playoff push was, at times, in the cards last year, but this season, injuries have decimated their hopes.
Len is trending up in a big way over the past three weeks, and his marks among guys seeing 20 minutes per game are very noteworthy.
There are plenty of familiar faces in the top 10 in minutes change over the past three weeks, but the story here is Len.
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I don't want to spoil too much, but Len's minute boost has led to some big things for his counting stats. Pseudo rookie Jabari Parker was really the only player here to parlay the minutes increase into a big increase in points.
On the other end of things, Omri Casspi's minutes continue to dip when he plays (seven games in the past three weeks). Zaza Pachulia averaged 22 minutes per game in his past eight, down 6.6 from his season average. Jared Dudley also dropped from 27.8 minutes per game on the season to 22.8 in his last 11.
As alluded to earlier, Len and Parker used their minutes boost to improve in the scoring category.
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But other than D'Angelo Russell and Doug McDermott, the rest of the improved scorers of late are fairly big names. Okay, so that's still four of the 10 with a little less renown than the others, but improving on 20-plus points per game isn't a given. That hasn't stopped Damian Lillard and James Harden from improving on their high season totals.
Lillard's improved offense has come at the expense of Allen Crabbe's marks (10.4 points per game down to 6.3 in his past 10) and Al-Farouq Aminu's (9.8 to 6.6). Greg Monroe's scoring average is down three points in his past nine (just 13.2 points per game in that span). Draymond Green's scoring continues to remain low, as he's averaged just 7.1 points per game in his past nine.
Our poster boy, Len, is at it again.
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Kevin Love's rebound numbers continue to stay low. He's averaged just 7.5 over the past three weeks, down 2.4 per game from his season average. Kristaps Porzingis is also down 2.3 per game, wrangling just 5 boards per game over his past eight contests.
The main assist man for the past three weeks has been Giannis Antetokounmpo. That's for sure.
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Sure, his 7.6 helpers per game in the past three weeks ranks just eighth in the Association (tied with Kyle Lowry for some perspective), but that's by far the biggest boost of late. Of note, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul made the cut and rank second and third, respectively, in dimes per game in this stretch.
Lillard's scoring is up, but his assists are down 2.2 per game, from 6.9 to 4.7 over the past three weeks. Only he and Michael Carter-Williams (5.2 to 2.6) have seen a dip larger than 1.2 assists per game, and Carter-Williams has been dealing with injuries recently.
Of course, Len returns to the top of the leaderboard.
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All of these players reside somewhere in the other top 10s, which is to be expected. Identifying players playing above their usual levels is going to help identify the best fantasy assets to target.
Antetokounmpo actually ranks seventh in FanDuel points per game over the past three weeks, behind James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis. We can likely expect some regression, especially when his assist numbers return to normal, but for now, his name is among the elite.