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Fantasy Focus: Three-Point Shooters
Posted By Susan Bible On January 5, 2013 @ 12:00 pm In All,Fantasy,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
In NBA fantasy hoops, owners must be mindful of who can contribute in three-point categories on draft night. Depending on your fantasy league, three-pointers may represent just one category (such as Yahoo’s typical nine-category league, which counts the number of three-pointers made), but others include three-pointers attempted and percentages, as well. Ideally owners have nabbed players who nail threes and who consistently drop numbers in many offensive categories.
Naturally, successful players from the previous season or new-team situations should be studied prior to the draft. That doesn’t always pan out, so as the season progresses and deficiencies become evident, waiver wire possibilities and trades must be considered.
HOOPSWORLD is here to help you analyze three-point shooting; let’s first take a quick glance at the leaders in last years’ 66-game season:
Ryan Anderson: 2.7 at .393
Steve Novak: 2.5 at .472
Chauncey Billups: 2.4 at .384 (played 20 games)
Ray Allen: 2.3 at .453 (played 46 games )
Jason Terry: 2.2 at .378
Deron Williams: 2.1 at .336
Marcus Thornton: 2.1 at .345 (played 51 games)
Stephen Curry: 2.1 at .455 (played 26 games)
Joe Johnson: 2.1 at .388
It’s also important to study three-point shooting after last seasons’ All-Star break to see if new trends were developing:
Ryan Anderson: 2.5 at .353
Steve Novak: 2.5 at .481
Kevin Love: 2.4 at .397
Wesley Matthews: 2.3 at .409
Jason Terry: 2.3 at .392
Joe Johnson: 2.3 at .401
Kevin Durant: 2.2 at .393
Randy Foye: 2.2 at .417
Now we’ll break down those players averaging the best three-point numbers thus far in the 2012-13 season:
Ryan Anderson: 3.2 at .403
Stephen Curry: 3.1 at .456
Klay Thompson: 2.8 at .393
Carmelo Anthony: 2.7 at .434
Kyle Korver: 2.6 at .436
Nicolas Batum: 2.5 at .347
O.J. Mayo: 2.5 at .459
Clearly Ryan Anderson is a legitimate three-point threat, though many are hoping for a higher efficiency rate. Owners were nervous about the 6’10” forward’s numbers with his new team (New Orleans Hornets) on draft night following his successful stint with the Orlando Magic. How would 2011-12’s Most Improved Player maintain his numbers with less wide open shots? Rumors of him coming off the bench in New Orleans vs. his starting status in Orlando compounded the issue. Those who drafted him anyway are feeling pretty clever about now. Most of his numbers so far (17.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, .889 in free throw shooting, 3.2 three-pointers at .403 percentage) are better than last years’ numbers (16.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, .877 free throw percentage and 2.7 threes at .393). Though he’s started in just 17 of 32 games, his playing time is slightly higher than last season.
There’s no question Stephen Curry is a terrific basketball player. The debate always centers on his injury history. In his first three years in the league with the Golden State Warriors, Curry appeared in 180 games out of a possible 230. Last season was a definite concern; his ankle problems kept him sidelined during 61 percent of games played. So far this year, so good. Curry hasn’t missed a single game, and he’s playing nearly ten minutes more (38.1) than 2011-12 (28.2). The seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft is logging career highs in points (20.4), assists (6.5), free throws (3.2), three-pointers (3.1), three-point percentage (a remarkable .456) and field goals (7.1). Kick in 4.5 rebounds and .895 in free throw shooting, and Curry has become a fantasy keeper. Note he’s averaging 4.3 in threes at .548 percentage over the past six games.
Another Warrior making the list is sophomore player Klay Thompson who is second to Curry on his team in three-pointers per game (2.8) at a less-than-desirable .393 percentage. He’s been turning it on lately: over the past six games, Thompson has recorded 3.5 three-pointers per game at an impressive .528 clip. He contributes nicely in other categories (15.8 points), 2.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.6 free throws at .867 shooting. Like Curry, Thompson is playing roughly ten minutes more per game this season.
Welcome to the world of record three-point shooting, Carmelo Anthony. Now in his tenth year in the league, Melo is logging career-high numbers in both three-pointers per game (2.7) and efficiency (.434 percentage). Obviously he contributes meaningfully across the board: 28.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 6.4 free throws at .827 and 9.9 field goals at .477 (a level not seen since the 2007-08 season). Thanks to his efforts, along with Jason Kidd (2.1), last years’ three wonder Steve Novak (2.1) and J.R. Smith (1.6), the New York Knicks lead in the league in total three-pointers made. The return of Amar’e Stoudemire shouldn’t disturb these numbers; hopefully he blends in seamlessly with the Knicks’ ever-developing chemistry.
Notable three-point specialist, Kyle Korver, is posting long-distance numbers not seen since his 2004-05 seasons: 2.6 at .436 percentage. Now a starter for the Atlanta Hawks, he’s averaging 29.3 minutes per game shooting field goals at .433 percentage and adds 10.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals with 0.9 turnovers. Yahoo Sports! reflects Korver being owned by 47% of fantasy owners.
Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers is not only recording a career-high 2.5 three-pointers per game (at a lower-end .347), he’s dropping other career-high numbers across the board: 16.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.1 blocks, 3.0 free throws at .868 in 38.2 minutes. He’s a stat-filler this season; if he can just improve those three-point percentages, fantasy owners would cheer.
On the whole, owners who gambled on O.J. Mayo (a free agent signing with the Dallas Mavericks last July) are pleased with the results. The promise he showed in his 2008-09 rookie campaign has returned. He ventured into slumping territory in late December, but appears to have bounced back nicely. Over the season, he’s averaging career highs in points (18.6), assists (3.8), field goal shooting (.467) and three-pointers (2.4 at an extraordinary .459 percentage), plus he chips in 3.6 rebounds and .839 in free throw shooting. The 3.2 average turnovers do disappoint. Fears about Mayo’s numbers with the return of Dirk Nowitzki seem unfounded; the starter has carved out a nice niche in Dallas which should remain steady going forward.
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
It’s early, but go ahead and pencil in Lillard (sixth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft) as this seasons’ Rookie of the Year winner. Seasoned fantasy owners heavily scrutinize rookies on draft night, but those who took a chance on Lillard are being rewarded with this head-turning stat line: 18.2 points, 6.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 6.4 field goals at .418, 3.2 free throws at .844, not to mention 2.2 three-pointers per game at .359 percentage. He demonstrates on-court composure and maturity not typically seen from first-year players. He has much to learn, but what a great start to a promising career.
Kevin Martin (Oklahoma City Thunder)
It’s a win-win situation for Martin and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Losing James Harden’s 2.0 average threes at .359 in 2011-12 has been more than adequately replaced by Martin’s career-tying 2.3 threes at a career-high .464 percentage. His league-leading .929 free throw shooting, along with .452 in field goal shooting and 15.4 points, don’t hurt one bit.
Wise fantasy basketball owners understand the importance of watching trends and team changes that may result in taking a different look at certain players. Perhaps it’s time to propose a trade within your league or consult the waiver wire. Let’s take a quick look at the higher three-point numbers over the past couple of weeks:
Jameer Nelson: 4.5 at .581 over past 4 games ( 76% owned)
Carlos Delfino: 3.2 at .475 over past 6 games (10% owned)
Charlie Villanueva: 3.0 at .514 over past 6 games (4% owned)
Danny Green: 3.0 at .656 over past 7 games (55% owned)
Lou Williams: 3.0 at .447 over past 7 games (78% owned)
Danilo Gallinari: 2.9 at .476 over past 7 games (92% owned)
Terrence Ross: 2.4 at .414 over past 5 games (7% owned)
Matt Barnes: 2.4 at .475 over past 8 games (42% owned)
George Hill: 2.3 at .583 over past 3 games (81% owned)
Mike Dunleavy: 2.2 at .406 over past 6 games (43% owned)
We hope this breakdown aids you in your battle to win fantasy gold. Study these trends and check opponents played before pulling the trigger, and also look to see who may be taking a downward trend.
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