5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 19
Week 19 has come and gone.
NBA teams are ramping up for the playoffs and trying to get healthy. @Blake grBlake Griffin still hasn’t resurfaced in Los Angeles, but his return seems close. During the time he’s been injured, however, the Clippers have flourished, going 24-9.
Here are five things to know after 19 weeks in the NBA.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 17.7 points per game this season
It appears that Karl-Anthony Towns is running away with the rookie of the year competition. In addition to averaging 17.7 points per game, he is also chipping in 10.2 rebounds per game and 1.75 blocks per game. He’s shooting 54.5% from the field and 82% from the free throw line. He looks like a pretty complete big man, especially for a rookie.
Granted, his Minnesota Timberwolves are only 20-45 on the season and well out of the playoff race, but he has continued to play solid basketball all season. Most impressive may be that Towns has a 6.5 nERD. This measures the total contribution a player make during a season and estimates how many games above or below .500 a league-average team would win with him starting. This is pretty impressive territory for a rookie, and there is no other rookie in the league averaging similar numbers across the board as Towns. We can probably agree that he looks like a star in the making.
2. The Charlotte Hornets are on a five-game winning streak
The Charlotte Hornets have weathered injuries and multiple lineup formations but still managed to post a 35-28 record so far. They are in the midst of a five-game winning streak, and they also are number nine in our team power rankings.
The Hornets' starting lineup is not littered with stars. It’s probably safe for us to call Kemba Walker a star in the NBA, but the rest of the lineup Nicolas Batum (has his moments), Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams and Courtney Lee are all generally perceived as solid role players. They have a pretty strong bench, especially with Al Jefferson coming off it, but overall this team is really about balance. Per our metrics, they have the 11th best team offense and the 9th best team defense. That should make them a dangerous playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
3. Kevin Martin has a career scoring average of 17.6 points per game
Kevin Martin, it seems safe to say, is what most fans would view as a professional scorer. He doesn’t have tremendous peripheral statistics. For example, over 12 seasons in the NBA (now age 33), he’s averaged 3.2 rebounds per game and 1.9 assists per game. That’s nothing to write home about, but during that same span, he has had six seasons where he averaged over 20 points per game, and he’s shot 38.5% for his career from three-point range.
The San Antonio Spurs, by signing Martin, have just added additional insurance against injuries to their shooting guards and given them another big player (6’7”) to put on the floor during games and make tough shots for them. The Spurs are ramping up for the playoffs and adding quality depth.
4. The Denver Nuggets are 4-2 without Danilo Gallinari
Danilo Gallinari was having a resurgent season until going down six games ago with torn ligaments in his ankle. He averaged 19.5 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game through 53 games. It was a step forward for him and indicated he could lead a team night in and night out. Hopefully, he returns next season injury free.
The player that seems to have benefited the most from Gallinari’s injury over the past few games is Emmanuel Mudiay. Mudiay, in his last five games, is averaging 19.2 shots per game (shooting 45.8% during that span) and 21.6 points per game. In addition, he’s averaging 6.4 assists per game and 4.6 rebounds per game during that span. He could be a very nice addition for any late playoff runs that someone may still have in their fantasy league. Surprisingly, he’s still only owned in 69% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
5. Stephen Curry is the first NBA player to make 300 three-pointers in a season
As we’ve previously written about, Stephen Curry already holds the record for most three-point field goals in a season, at 287. This was set just last year. Now, however, he’s broken the record and has already made 304 three-pointers over 60 games. That’s over five three-pointers per game while shooting 45.9% from three-point range. His teammate, Klay Thompson, is also a prolific shooter and has made 196 three-pointers this season while shooting 40.6% from three-point range. Last year, Thompson made 236 three-pointers, and that’s good for 10th all-time in a single season. Golden State has an amazing and unique set of shooters.