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Fantasy basketball: Who’s shooting well & other notes around the NBA

Obviously it’s Clint Capela. We all knew that. Plus, random notes around the NBA.

NBA: Preseason-Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to week 3 of the NBA season!

Here are some updates on our favorite fantasy foci.

Who’s shooting well?

Based on true shooting percentage, that would be Clint Capela! Just like we all thought! His TS% of 76.4 is best in the league amongst those who play at least 20 minutes a game. That’s better than everyone, obviously, but! Caveats! Clint’s only taken one three so far this season. 88.1% of his shots have come from inside the paint, second in the league only to Jakob Poeltl. That isn’t weird for a big and that isn’t weird for Clint; but, it is a good reminder that not everyone is shooting threes this year (so far). In fact, there’s a bit of a renaissance for bigs right now: three Centers are in the top 10 of ESPN’s player rater, including Capela. If you want to count Power Forwards, too, then 8 of the top 20 are bigs (this doesn’t include LeBron nor Giannis, though both have played at the 4).

The most important aspect of fantasy basketball is points, just like it is in the real NBA. Scoring is the apex of the pyramid, all else is secondary. TS% tries to give you an idea of who’s good at getting points when they actually attempt to get points. And, right now, the best guys at getting points when they try to get points are Capela, James Ennis III (although, he already looks like he’s regressing), Pat Connaughton, Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert, Domantas Sabonis, Giannis, Evan Fournier, Hassan Whiteside, and Tony Snell (Aaron Gordon is 12th, by the way). Now, THAT is an international list. I think Ennis and Connaughton are phantoms, but the other guys, including Snell, could be rock solid in their ratios for the rest of the year. Spacing helps bigs, too.

The top 5 in offensive rating is interesting, too. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are first and third; second is none other than Spencer Dinwiddie. My man! I’ve liked Teaching Assistant Dinwiddie since he arrived on the Pistons a couple years ago. First of all, the dude sports a sweetass old school ‘stache, though now he’s sporting a goatee. Which is fine, you’re in Brooklyn, so be you. But, T.A. Dinwiddie seriously had the mustache of a strict junior high school chemistry professor, who also coached one of the insane sports teams, like cross country, or wrestling, or crew, or chess club. He had the facial hair of a man who could put you in a half-nelson AND help you study for your SATs.

That’s a good person to have as your rabbi, and a bad person to have for detention. He probably says stuff like, “Kids are soft these days!” or “How are you going to make a living without knowing how life operates?! CHEMICAL BONDING, YALL! IT ALL STARTS WITH CHEMICAL BONDING!” or “Damnit, Natty! You don’t know covalence from a coxswain! Now, give me twenty laps round the velodrome and you’d best not be tardy for vespers!” Anyway, then it’s Nikola Vucevic and then it’s Trevor Booker.

There is only one non-Rocket or non-Warrior in the top 6 in 3-point attempts: Justin Holiday on the Chicago Bulls. Now that Nikola Mirotic is (probably) going to be traded, will Holiday inherit some of his shots? You have to let Baron Markkanen eat, but why not let Holiday feast, too? He’s attempting the same amount of shots as Joel Embiid but playing 8 more minutes a game. Let him shoot more, Chicago! (...And, then quickly trade him when you can.)

D’Angelo Russell is shooting the most in the least, which is to say he’s taking the most shots (16.2) of anyone who isn’t averaging at least 30 minutes a game. Some of that is injury, some of that is pace (Brooklyn plays fastfastfast), but it’s also by design. There is absolutely no reason for DAR not to shoot a ton, so long as he also works on his passing. This season is only about player improvement for the Nets.

Any trends we should be aware of?

Well, don’t end a sentence with a preposition, first of all.

Second of all, yep!

  • Did you know that Donovan Mitchell has the highest usage percentage on the Utah Jazz, 29.7? (Counting players who average 20+ minutes per game.) That’s more than Rudy Gobert (16.4) and Ricky Rubio, the point guard (25.1). I mean, he’s averaging 9.5 points on 32% shooting. He doesn’t rebound. He’s had a few good games, scoring-wise, but I think it’s his defense that’s actually been valuable, not his offense (he has the 7th best defensive rating in the league among players who play at least 20 minutes a game). This is peculiar to me, so if you have any thoughts, please share ‘em!
  • Andre “Sharpshooter” Drummond has 101 rebounds in 7 games.
  • Lonzo Ball has more assists than Ricky Rubio (both through 6 games).
  • Three players have 16 steals so far this season: Drummond, Paul George, and Otto Porter, Jr.
  • Here’s the top 5 teams in 3-point attempts: Houston (43 per game), Toronto (!!), Golden State, Dallas (?), and Chicago with 32 per game (we see you, Baron Markkanen).
  • Here’s the bottom 5 teams: Pacers (24 per game), Lakers, Timberwolves, Kings, and the Spurs (20 per game).
  • The top 5 teams in true shooting percentage are the Warriors (63%), the Magic, the Bucks, the Pelicans and the Pacers (rrrrrrrrrrrrreally…).
  • The Spurs are the second to worst in TS%. This team is 4-2. Kiiiinda seems like Kawhi can’t get back on the court fast enough.
  • Ryan Anderson, of the Houston Rockets, is making 3.4 three pointers a game (4th in the league), but he’s only averaging 12.6 points per game. He does NOT get to the line. I’ve been skeptical of Ryan Anderson for a long time. He’s a good shooter but it seems like that’s all he is. He’s ranked 48th on ESPN’s player rater right now (Embiid is 47th, DeChozan is 49th). If his ratios start to suffer, his value might bottom out. If you have him on your fantasy team, you may want to test the trade market and see what you can get for him. Remember, CP3 hasn’t been playing, so Anderson’s touches might decrease when Chris Paul returns.
  • Carmelo is shooting more than Karl-Anthony Towns. That’s not weird or bad, but I’m a little surprised. Yo, Minnie has been all kinds of disappointing so far. If Big KAT doesn’t improve on defense this season and/or the team continues to stink, do you fire Thibodeau after the season? I don’t think the Wolves needs to make the playoffs, or even that Thibs is on the hot seat, long do you keep a defensive-minded coach who isn’t coaching up the defense? Minnie is a top-10 offense (so far), but WORST IN THE NBA in defensive rating. The only team they’ve held under 100 points is Utah, and they scored 97. They’re top 10 in assists, but second to last in rebounds. Weird, weird team, man.
  • According to Basketball Reference, Paul Millsapp’s nickname is “The Anchorman.” I have never heard that before. Have you heard that before? By win shares says that The Anchorman’s nearest historical corollary is P.J. Brown. I...don’t believe that.
  • The player with the highest ownership who’s having the worst season so far is Gordon Hayward. Sorry! Couldn’t resist. It’s actually Markelle Fultz. Ooops! Did it again, lo siento. The actual answer is Willy Hernangomez. He’s owned in 34% of leagues and is doing, uh, not great, Bob.
  • The most added player recently is DeMarre Carroll. I guess. Although, now he’s nursing a sore ankle, so all yall who picked him up probably jinxed him.