Welcome to the twelfth installment of Weekly Yinteresting Thoughts (WYT). In these posts, I’ll be sharing some of my random thoughts, opinions, and questions about the NBA landscape as it pertains to fantasy basketball. Feel free to drop your comments and questions below! Let’s get started.
This week we’ll take a look at some of our mid-season stat leaders for standard 9-category leagues. For those unfamiliar, the nine standard categories are points, rebounds, assists, threes, steals, blocks, FG%, FT%, and turnovers. We’ll be using stats from BasketballMonster.
Like last week, there’s not much more to say about Luka Doncic beyond what’s already been said. At 34.3 ppg, Doncic is cruising to his fourth All-NBA first team in his fifth year in the league. For comparison, LeBron James didn’t get his first team appearance until 2006, three years after he was drafted. Doncic is single-handedly carrying the Mavericks to the playoffs while shooting a career high 51% from the field. He’s unlocked a new level in his game alongside the 1.7 steals and looks primed to be dominant for the next decade. Nobody knows whether he’ll fix the troublesome free throw shooting, but when he’s giving you 34-9-9 a night, that’s no problemo.
Kings phenom Domantas Sabonis has been a nice surprise this season. His contributions to a competitive Sacramento squad come with a league high 12.4 rebounds per game and has miraculously kept up the production with a fractured thumb. It’s unclear whether the injury will cause Sabonis to miss any additional games, but it’ll be something to monitor in this second half of the season, especially since he has 12 games during the standard playoff weeks. So far, managers have to be happy about his production and monster work on the glass.
James Harden was previously known mainly for his scoring affinity, but anybody who pays attention can see that he’s been a top tier playmaker when he got to Houston and even before that in the latter OKC years. Harden is leading the league in assists with 10.8 and holds this season’s highest single game mark with 21 against the Clippers. He can bounce, lob, and thread dimes to his roll man. He can dime to the corner, he can dime trailing teammates, he can dime in transition. Harden is getting up there in age, but his playmaking remains elite and provides an abundance of the stat that flies off the draft board first.
34 Assists over his past 2 Games –
James Harden's playmaking is actually insane … pic.twitter.com/nfhRBtUqBl
— Brock Landes (@LandesBrock) December 26, 2022
Steals are a famously fleeting stat year by year due to its sheer variance, but this year O.G. Anunoby has been averaging 2.2 this season alongside 0.8 blocks. He gets the toughest matchup every night and holds opponents to 21% shooting in isolation. Oh, and he’s just 25.
OG Anunoby—the most positionally versatile defender in the league, guards the toughest matchup EVERY NIGHT, forces countless turnovers, and when dudes ISO on him they shoot 21.0% (sheesh)
One man wrecking crew pic.twitter.com/xZKaOc7Hio
— NBA University (@NBA_University) January 5, 2023
Jaren Jackson Jr. is currently averaging 3.1 blocks while anchoring a top three defense on the Grizzlies. He’s crushing his ADP with this insane block rate, and is averaging the lowest fouls per 36 minutes of his career. I don’t think 3.1 blocks will stick, but he’s a next-level shot blocker so it’s not completely out of the question. He’s a safe bet to be a top three shot blocker in the league for awhile, which will keep him fantasy relevant for a long time. Special shoutout to Brook Lopez here, who’s playing in 16 more games than Jackson while averaging 2.6 blocks. The Bucks are the second ranked defense this season.
There are guys who are technically shooting better than Nikola Jokic, but none have his volume. And as we know, a guy shooting 62% on 16 field goal attempts a game (Jokic) is going to help more than a guy shooting 83% on 4 attempts a game (Robert Williams). Jokic’s impact on your team’s FG% is dominant and is his best category. I forecasted a slight dip in efficiency this season seeing as Jokic shot career high 2p% and FG% last season, but both of those percentages have actually gone up even more this year. Incredible.
This one was a nice surprise. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) has unlocked a new level to his game, clearly expanding upon his ability to draw contact. He’s not only getting to the line more, at 10 attempts a game, but is also shooting 10% higher than his career average of 80%. The monstrous free throw is likely carrying your team’s performance in this category and is propelling SGA into top-10 value. It’s rare for players to improve upon their free throw this much, but then I checked and saw that he’s only 24 and should be receiving his first All-NBA accolade soon. Congratulations if you drafted him.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been good, but not great this year. He’s leading the league in turnovers at 4.2, and at the time of writing, the Greek Freak just finished his last game with 12 alongside a big 30-20-10 trip dub. He’s having a good season in real life and the Bucks’ defense is sturdy as ever, but Antetokounmpo will have to clean up some of this sloppiness to return his draft investment. He’s currently ranked 12th in punt FT% builds; you’d expect him to be first. Whichever way you look at it, averaging 5.4 assists with 4.2 turnovers isn’t good.
What stood out to you this week? Let me know below.