Here in “Notable Numbers,” we attempt to unearth a plethora of interesting stats and fantasy-relevant facts each week. The topics discussed today include Steph Curry’s incomparable efficiency, Joel Embiid's first 100 NBA games, and two teenagers exceeding expectations…
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Trust The Process
Unable to step foot on an NBA court over his first two years in the league, Philly fans were understandably skeptical about Joel Embiid’s future back in 2016. However, since making his NBA debut, Embiid has showcased an incredibly unique skill set. Just how special you ask?
With Embiid playing in his 100th career game last week, it seems like a fine time to see where he ranks compared to other NBA greats over that same timeframe.
Let’s start here: Joel Embiid is the only player in NBA history with at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 200 blocks and 100 made 3-pointers over his first 100 career games.
Through the first 11 games of the 2018-19 campaign, the young Sixer center is off to a fantastic start, averaging career-highs in points (28.4), rebounds (12.6), assists (3.5) and 3-pointers (1.3). Per the Elias Sports Bureau, he joined Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Walt Bellamy as the only players in NBA history with seven 30-point, 10-rebound games within their team's first ten games of a season. Just as importantly, he's yet to miss a game despite seeing his playing time increase substantially. Over his first two pro seasons, Embiid logged more than 34 minutes in a game a total of ten times. This year, he’s averaging 34.2 minutes per contest. Let’s hope he can stay healthy, because not only is Embiid a lot of fun on social media, he’s is a uniquely gifted and talented player.
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Although his stats aren't as well-rounded as to Embiid, Phoenix's Devin Booker has already proven himself as a lethal scorer at a very early age.
When Booker turned 22 years last week, on the day before Halloween, he had already scored 4,000 points in his NBA career. LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the only players to tally 4k points at a younger age. Booker is the only player in league history to knock down more than 400 3-pointers before celebrating his 22nd birthday.
Despite being limited to 54 games last season, Booker showed he’s the real deal. According to Basketball-Reference, among players in their age 21 season or younger (as of Jan. 1 of that season), Booker became just the third player ever to average at least 24 points and four assists while posting an Effective Field Goal Percentage of at least .500. Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the other two.
This season, Booker is posting career number across the board. The biggest improvement in his game early on this season has been hin increased efficiency. Over his first three years, he shot just 42.6 percent from the floor. In 2018-19, Booker is shooting 47.2 percent. He’s also been incredibly clutch, ranking first in the NBA with 9.8 fourth-quarter points per game this year. For his career, Booker is 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) on shots to tie or take the lead in the final three seconds of fourth quarter or OT.
Hey, Mr. Carter
Continuing on the theme of young players delivering the goods, Bulls big man Wendell Carter Jr. is only 19 years old and one of the youngest players in the NBA this season; however, WCJ has already proven he belongs.
Over the Bulls past six games, Carter has been stuffing the stat sheet, averaging 14.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.0 blocks in 28.2 minutes. That’s phenomenal all-around production for any player, let alone a rookie in his first month of professional action. Over that six-game stretch, Carter ranks 14th in nine-category fantasy formats, just behind Victor Oladipo and ahead of Damian Lillard and Joel Embiid.
The return of Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis will likely eat into Carter’s playing time and usage rate, but the Bulls are committed to their current rebuild and will make sure they get WCJ plenty of time on the court.
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The Don Delivers
If we’re talking teenagers, I gotta give some love to my guy Luka Doncic. Through the first ten games of his NBA career, the kid is averaging 19.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Only three players in NBA history have matched or exceeded those numbers in those categories during their rookie seasons. You have probably heard of those three dudes: Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.
At just 19 years old, Doncic is, by far, the youngest member of that grouping. Luka is also averaging 2.6 made 3-pointers per contest, which puts him on pace to become the first rookie ever to average 19/6/4 and two treys.
Chef Curry Stirring Up Incomparable Numbers
In 2015-16, Stephen Curry became the first player ever to win the MVP award unanimously. It was considered by many at that time the finest offensive campaign ever produced.
That season, Curry averaged 30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 5.1 treys and 3.3 turnovers, while shooting 50.4 percent from the floor, 45.4 percent from downtown and 90.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Welp, it’s obviously still early, but through the first 11 games of 2018-19, he in on pace to top those stats.
Steph is currently averaging 31.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 5.6 treys and 3.1 turnovers while shooting a mind-boggling 52.5 percent from the floor, 50.8 percent from 3-point range, and 92.3 percent the free-throw stripe.
All those numbers are impressive, but it’s the efficiency with which Steph is scoring that is the most shocking. Coming into this season, 43 players in NBA history had averaged over 31 points per game for a full season. None of those 43 players had posted a True Shooting percentage north of 63%. Curry’s current TS% is 70%. Among those 43 players, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the only player to post an effective field goal percentage above 56%, as he recorded an eFG% of 57.7% in 1970-71. Curry's current eFG% sits at 66.4%.
Steph Curry is the greatest shooter the great game of basketball has ever known, and it’s possible he is in the midst of the single greatest shooting season of his career. Let’s try not to take that for granted.