Most teams have reached double digit games, meaning the sample sizes used to write this column are becoming more trustworthy. For those of you in category-specific formats, here are some notable factoids that might help you gain an edge in areas of need. We'll continue to validate and debunk trends on a weekly basis in this column going forward.
(All stats up to date through Nov. 19 games. Info provided by NBA.com and Teamrankings.com)
Tony Wroten's 13.7 points per game have been a pleasant surprise for the 76ers. Even before he earned starting minutes filling in for the injured Michael Carter-Williams, Wroten has been scoring the basketball consistently -- finishing with double figures in 10 out 12 games so far. ... Paul Pierce hasn't scored 20 points in a game yet this year, averaging just 13.2 on the season. Hopefully he'll pick up the pace if Brooklyn can right the ship as a whole. Otherwise, this will be a career-low scoring year for Pierce. ... Extra attention paid to the Nets' wing players has given interim starting point guard Shaun Livingston a clear path to the hoop. He's reached double-digit scoring in his last four, including a season-high 23 against Portland on Monday. ... Michael Beasley is averaging an unfathomable 28.4 points per 36 minutes. The Heat are asking him to shoot, so this could become a regular thing as he works his way into Miami's rotation. He's also been surprisingly efficient, shooting almost 60 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. ... The Pacers, Bulls and Spurs are still holding opponents below 90 points per game, so continue to avoid them if you can. ... The Nuggets remain on the other end of the defensive spectrum, giving up an average of 116 points per game over their last three contests.
Jordan Hill (86 percent) is pretty much the only member of the Lakers getting easy baskets, evidenced by his 62.2 field-goal percentage so far this year. ... Andre Drummond, Ryan Anderson and LeBron James are the only players shooting above 60 percent from the field while making at least six field goals per game. Anderson's numbers, however, are coming from just one game, as he made his season debut November 16 and finished with 26 points on six threes. ... Rudy Gay, on the other hand, is attempting 20 shots per game and only hitting 7.6 of them, leaving him with a gut-wrenching 38.2 shooting percentage. ... For some reason the Knicks allow teams to shoot more than 5 percent better at home than they do on the road. ... The Bobcats are the only team hitting less than 40 percent of their shots, while the Heat stands alone as the only team making more than 50 percent.
J.J. Hickson is still available in 16 percent of leagues, so if you're behind in boards, he's the guy to look for to play catch-up. Hickson grabbed a season-high 19 Monday night against the Thunder, upping his average to 9.2 per game. ... Jordan Hill is another free agent board snatcher, but he's only available in 13 percent of leagues due to a career-night, when he scored 24 points and grabbed 17 rebounds Sunday against the Pistons. ... Patrick Beverley (63 percent) is ninth among point guards in rebounds per game, hauling in just over four per game. ... Gerald Henderson (75 percent) currently ranks tied for sixth among shooting guards at 5.2 rebounds per game to go along with his 13.5 points. ... The Rockets have claimed the top spot in team rebounding -- the only team grabbing more than 60 per game. Terrence Jones (65 percent) has been a key contributor to Houston's surge to the top of this category, averaging 10 rebounds per game over his last five. Jones looks to be the answer to Houston's power forward vacancy, logging close to thirty minutes per game over that span. ...
A commenter at the bottom of a previous Roto Fact Sheet wondered why I was writing about "low-end garbage" like Josh McRoberts. Well, here's why: Compare McBob's production to that of Jeff Green -- a well-known NBA commodity and 98 percent owned Fantasy option. Based on their current averages, if both Green and McBob play four times in a scoring period, Green would outscore McRoberts by 21.2 and outrebound him by 2.0. Meanwhile, McBob would dish out 12.5 more assists. The Fantasy team with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Martin likely doesn't need Jeff Green's 14.5 points per game, but could probably use the talents of McBob, who gets as many assists per game as Martin and Aldridge combined. And that's what Roto is really about -- striking a balance by identifying areas of weakness. Green is the better, more productive player, but his stats might not be as valuable as his reputation suggests. McRoberts' shooting percentages are sub-par, but he makes up for it by making 1.7 threes per game, so take a second look if you're lacking in assists.
Jason Smith (39 percent) is converting on 91.7 percent of his free-throw attempts. His 10.7 points and 1.3 blocks per contest are added bonuses. ... Martell Webster (45 percent) has been lights out from the free-throw line so far, shooting 94.7 percent. ... You might consider picking up one of the previous two guys mentioned if you own Andre Drummond, currently shooting an ungodly 17.6 percent from the charity stripe. He even makes DeAndre Jordan's 45.8 percent look respectable. Then again, maybe not. ... Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker and Kyle Lowry aren't as bad, but still seem to be struggling from the line -- each of them hitting less than 67 percent of their free throws.
The sample size is nearly as small as it gets (just two games), but Ryan Anderson might have shown us what's to come by hitting six three-pointers in his season debut. Then he had four three-pointers again Wednesday. Obviously, that number will come down, but you should still expect to see Anderson among the league leaders from long range. ... Jodie Meeks (25 percent) has shot his way to becoming the Lakers' leading scorer, averaging 13.7 points on 2.5 made threes per game. This might say more about L.A.'s scattered, inefficient offense, but you might as well add Meeks while he's hot. ... Go ahead and lump Gerald Green into that conversation as well. The Suns' guard/forward is hitting 2.4 threes per game while scoring 14.1 per night. As long as Phoenix is content to let him do whatever he wants, it's not a bad idea to roll him out there for his threes. ... The Trailblazers have overtaken the Celtics as the team limiting opponents to the fewest three pointers per contest. Meanwhile, the 76ers are still far and away the worst at defending the line -- giving up almost 12 per game on average.
Mario Chalmers (66 percent) continues to be an intriguing Roto option, as he currently ranks fifth in steals per game at 2.2. His 10.1 points, 4.9 assists and 1.8 threes per game aren't too shabby either. ... Rookie point guard Shane Larkin made good use of the nine measly minutes he received in his season debut, coming up with three steals, three assists and a three pointer in that brief window. Keep an eye on him if he starts to get more minutes in a shallow Dallas backcourt. ... DeJuan Blair's numbers took a hit when Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle opted to play a smaller, quicker lineup against the 76ers Monday night. He should get back up to speed as the Mavericks get back to their normal rotation. Blair is one of 12 players averaging at least two steals per contest, and is just 0.1 per game behind Anthony Davis as the league's most steal-prone center. ... If you're in a really deep league, keep Rashard Lewis on your radar. The Miami veteran has tallied eight steals in his last four contests, including a five-steal outing Tuesday night against the Hawks. ... Since returning from injury, Wilson Chandler has done an excellent job of not turning the ball over. He's only given the ball away once in four games. ... Marcus Thornton is another model of ball security, specifically because he shoots just about every time he gets it. He's averaging 10.3 points on 1.6 threes and just 0.3 turnovers per game. ... Nasty Nate Wolters still lays claim to the league's best assist-to-turnover ratio, dishing out 4.6 dimes for every one turnover per game.