The NBA is super-shutdown and we are left with two options: sleep or review what has been. Call me hyperactive, but I’d rather walk the second path than the first one. I envy you lazy people out there but it seems I just can’t switch my brain off, so I better put it to work.
If you remember what we’ve been doing during the past few days and weeks—other than putting out a monstrously great MLB coverage of all sorts—I have been reviewing a couple of things related to how some concrete players broke the game during the last days of play, and how the whole NBA family did during the part of the 2019-20 season we got to enjoy before the hiatus.
With individual players more or less covered, it made sense to tackle those players’ teams. Here I present to you the FakeTeams NBA DFS Squad Awards. There is a plethora of data to explore, so let’s get it poppin’!
Most Booming Squad: Houston Rockets
Somebody check the temperature in Houston because these Rockets must be close to having some heavy fever. The Pocket-Rockets have led the NBA in DKFP per game (24.7) during the season and it’s not been even close. Miami (23.8) and New Orleans (23.6) are second and third in the ranks but hey are virtually one or more DKFP behind Houston.
Keep in mind I’m taking every player into consideration here, which keeps the averages lower than you would have thought (Houston has Harden dragging them up, for example, but they also have a bunch of reserves baked in that lower their team average). That is why you find teams like the Pels out there at the top, or why the Clippers rank next to New York.
But this is not that fun, or interesting, or actually useful. If you play in a re-draft, 28-team league, you might take some advantage of this thing. If you play DFS, though, you’re down to a lineup that includes no more than a bunch of truly fantasy-relevant players. That is why I decided to limit the chart above to only include those who logged at least 28 MPG over the season.
Say bye to Miami and New Orleans and welcome Utah and Portland in. Houston has seven players contributing points under the 28-minute threshold, so there is no doubt about how you can’t miss if you play a Rocket. Teams like Memphis and San Antonio suffer the lack of star-power featuring just a couple of really great performers, while heavy-favorites like the Clippers remain lowly ranked as they only feature three.
Best Hit-and-Run Bunch: Milwaukee Bucks
We already know about the team hitting the hardest, but which one is hitting the sharpest? No other than your historic 2020 Bucks. I know, I know. You’re reading this and thinking I’m crazy, but that is only because you have not paid enough attention to the NBA this season. The Lakers and the Clippers and the Rockets and the Sixers and even the Raptors are fresher and cooler in your mind. Not that any of those teams is bad, but we’re past the third quarter of the season, Milwaukee was having a historical campaign and on pace—hard but still doable—to reach 70 wins, and most folks are still undervaluing their exploits.
Giannis is a monster for real these days (as if there was any doubt...) and Middleton is probably the most under-the-radar guy the NBA ever graced. You just have to check Milwaukee’s full-team DKFP per minute on the court to know how this bunch of guys was performing prior to the hiatus. The Bucks are the only team averaging 1.07 fantasy points per minute and the Lakers are second but already 0.04 points behind. Sure, that seems ridiculously close and not enough of a difference, but the distance between Milwaukee and LA is the one between LA (2nd-best) and Philadelphia (0.99, 9th-best)!
The Bucks as a whole are averaging almost 3% more points than the Lakers, and a whopping 19% more than the league-trailing Hornets. The Clippers and the Rockets are the two teams sandwiching the 1.0-DKFP/M mark.
Most Felonious Group: Los Angeles Lakers
It makes sense. Top-dollar robberies belong to the film industry and which better place for them than Hollywood? And who’s there to try and block and catch the thefts? Police. The cops suck, but hey, they are part of the story too. Anyways, who’s the leading team on the STOCKS (steals + blocks) leaderboard? You’re right, it’s none other than the Lake Show!
And again, it is not even close. The Lakers are averaging a monstrous 15.4 stocks per game, which leads the league by a mile with Chicago—say what!?—coming in second at just 14.2. That’s a 1.2-stock difference, which is even greater than the difference we saw in the award above as Chicago (2nd) itself 1.2 stocks above 22nd-best Detroit (!) which averages 12.0. If you’re a hardcore mathematician, that means LA is averaging 8% more stocks than Chicago and 57% (!!!) more than league-trailing Utah.
No wonder why the Lakers lead the pack as Anthony Davis alone is contributing 3.96 stocks per game (2nd-best in the league only behind Orlando’s Jonathan Isaac). McGee is the second-best Laker at 2.03, and LeBron rounds LA’s top-3 with his 1.76 contributions. As for Chicago, its best trio is made of Khris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Thaddeus Young.
Extra kudos go to Houston also for having three players (Harden, Westbrook, and Robert Covington) averaging 2.5+ stocks on the year, which also shows how top-heavy their lineup is and how the rest of assets they feature are pretty middling.
Best Splash-and-Dash Fellas: Minnesota Timberwolves
Surprise, surprise? The data here is absolutely weird, but I’m a man of numbers. I looked at the highest three-pointers made per minute by players of each franchise (only looking at those with 28 MPG over the year), and Minny came out on top. Why is data weird, you ask? Well, the games Wiggins played for the Wolves are baked in the total result, as are those of Robert Covington. But even with that, this talks about how the team performed and schemed their game, so we’re cool, and remember this is a blog called FakeTeams, so it checks.
The same happens with second-place Golden State and D’Angelo Russell and Alec Burks (now a Sixer), but hey, I’m not the one in charge of approving trades and transactions! Houston slotting at third makes all of the sense, as does finding San Antonio suffering to even make the cut. No wonder considering only two players are at 28+ mpg on the season and DeMar DeRozan gets sick if he attempts a long-ranger.
There are only 10 players hitting 0.1+ 3pm per minute while playing 28+ mpg. None of them shares the same locker room. We have to go down to 0.097 3pm per minute to find the first group of players belonging on the same franchise: D’Angelo Russell (0.097), Karl-Anthony Towns (0.098), and Malik Beasley (0.11) all from the Wolves. So there you have your new Splash Trifecta.
If you have any comment or question about the daily column, tonight’s games, players involved in them, or even season-long fantasy NBA topics, just drop it below or reach out to me on Twitter at @chapulana and I’ll get back to you as soon as I grab a keyboard!