Here in "Notable Numbers," we attempt to unearth a plethora of interesting stats and fantasy-relevant facts each week. Today, I discuss Lonzo Ball's unexpected emergence, Duncan Robinson's historic marksmanship, and Coby White's second-half surge.
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* Love For Lonzo
Zion Williamson has taken the NBA by storm since his arrival, but there is another young stud in New Orleans playing the best ball of his career. Yet, Lonzo Ball's superlative production seems to be flying under the radar.
Over his first two seasons in the NBA, Ball racked up plenty of counting stats on a per-game basis, but two dramatic drawbacks greatly hindered his fantasy value: He was unable to stay healthy, and his percentages were category killers. Ball appeared in just 99 out of a possible 164 games over his first two pro seasons combined. As a rookie, he shot just 36% from the floor and 45% from the free-throw stripe. During his sophomore campaign, his FG% trickled up above 40%, but his FT numbers actually dropped.
Lonzo spent the offseason completely reconstructing his jumper, rebuilding his form and mechanics from the ground up. Lots of players talk about improving their shooting stroke; Ball actually did it. He's converting over 41% of his field-goal attempts this season. His most dramatic improvement has come from the downtown, as he's converting 38.3% of his 3-point attempts in 2019-20.
And he's taken it to an even higher level over the last two months. In the 20 games since Zion made his debut back on January 22nd, Ball is averaging 2.9 made treys per contest while shooting over 43% from behind the arc. Over the Pels past ten games, Ball is averaging 3.3 trifectas and converting 48.5% of his triple tries. And he was simply on fire last week. In the four games the Pelicans played, Lonzo was 21-of-36 (58.3%) from downtown. During that four-game stretch, he averaged 21.3 points (on 55.4% shooting), 7.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.0 steals, and 5.3 treys in 35.9 minutes.
His turnovers are a bit too high, and his FT shooting still isn't as nearly as improved as we'd expect, but he rarely gets to the line, so it doesn't hurt you all that much. Nonetheless, Ball is still inside the top-20 overall in nine-category formats since the All-Star break due to his all-around prowess. If he can continue to improve, the sky's the limit for this 22-year old going forward.
* Duncan From Deep
It's very rare that a player can average less than two dimes, and less than one made 2-point FG per game, and just over three boards and supply virtually no blocks or steals - and still make a positive impact in fantasy leagues. But then again, very few players in NBA history have been as effective and efficient from long-range throughout a full season as Duncan Robinson has been in 2019-2020.
Robinson was not on the fantasy radar during fantasy drafts back in October. That's because he was an undrafted 25-year-old who had appeared in just 15 games in his career up to that point.
He has knocked down 240 three-point field goals this season, which is 230 more than last season, marking as the largest increase from season-to-season in NBA history. His 240 triples are also the most in HEAT franchise history and the most by an undrafted player in NBA history during a single-season.
And Dunc Rob has only gotten better as the season has progressed. Dating back to the start of February, Robinson has made 82 trifectas, while shooting 48.8% from downtown. That's 25 more than any other player in the NBA over these six weeks. (Bradley Beal ranks second with 67.) We also have a chance to see some history Wednesday night. Robinson has made at least seven 3-pointers in three consecutive games, becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to achieve the feat. No player has ever hit seven treys in four straight contests.
On the season, Robinson is shooting 45.3% from behind the arc. The only player to attempt more than seven treys a night and shoot a higher percentage was Stephen Curry during his MVP season in 2015-16.
So, yes, despite the limited production in some counting stats, Robinson has been a boon for fantasy GM's. It's important to note that his stems not only from his prolific 3PT production but also because he's committing less than one turnover per game and shooting 90% from the FT stripe. Sum it all up, and Robinson ranks 86th overall in nine-cat formats on the season. Over the last month, he ranks inside the top-40, just two spots behind Trae Young.
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* Coby Can Play
Bulls rookie Coby White played relatively well but struggled at times in the first half of his debut campaign. Over the 55 games Chicago played before the All-Star break, White averaged 11.1 points and 2.4 assists while shooting 37% from the floor. The putrid percentages and a poor assist-to-turnover ratio resulted in White ranking outside the top-250 overall.
However, since the All-Star break, White has flipped a switch. From February 23rd through February 29th, White scored 33+ points in three consecutive contests. Not only was he the first Bulls rookie to score more than 30 points in three straight games since some dude named Michael Jordan, but White also became the first rookie in league history with 30+ points off the bench three games in a row.
Since that first-30point explosion last month, White is averaging a whopping 26.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 3.9 triples, while slashing .480/ .432/ .900. He ranks 38th overall in nine-cats during this stretch.
And, in Tuesday's victory over the Cavs, White was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time all season. He logged a season-high 38 minutes and tallied 20 points (7-of-17 FGs, 4-of-5 FTs) with five rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers. White's fantasy stock is soaring, and he could be a real difference-maker down the stretch.
Last Second Shots
* Earlier this week, Trae Young (who is still just 21 years old) recorded his third career game with more than 30 points and more than 15 assists. Every other player in NBA history combined has a total of two such games before turning 22.
* Bam Adebayo is on pace to join Oscar Robertson as just the second player ever to average at least 15 points, ten boards, and five dimes before turning 23.
* Coming into this season, no NBA player had ever averaged more than 20 points per game while also shooting above 55% from the field, above 40% from downtown and north of 80% from the free-throw line. Well, John Collins is currently averaging 21.6 points while shooting 58.8% on FGs, 41.1% on 3PTs, and 80.1% on FTs.