The Triple Ones: James Harden Plays Defense?
If you listen to the Red Rock Fantasy Basketball Podcast enough, you would have heard me bang on about guys who can average one three-pointer, one steal, and one block per game — of which there were only two players last season, Paul Millsap and Wesley Johnson.
The reason I am so focused on that sort of production is that these are the lowest volume fantasy categories, normally averaging out to about one of each per game for a successful fantasy team. Therefore, players who can give you one of each per game are exceptionally valuable in rotisserie leagues, as well as head-to-head, providing you aren’t punting those categories.
Over the course of the season, I’ll be bringing you “The Triple Ones”, a look back at which players are currently giving fantasy owners at least one of each of threes, steals, and blocks.
Looking back on the season so far, who are the players to average a Triple One.
James Harden, G, Houston Rockets — 2.1 three-pointers, 1.4 steals, 1.1 blocks
Defensive numbers are not something we usually associate with James Harden. There are plenty of YouTube mixes of Harden’s matador like defensive efforts, but from all reports, Harden was actually playing had, solid defense in the Team USA scrimmages in the summer.
Has that carried over to this season? Well, there definitely haven’t been the glaring lapses yet and his steal and block numbers are most definitely encouraging. Harden did average 1.6 steals per game last season, but just 0.4 blocks, so for him to maintain this pace seems a little unrealistic, but for the time being, his owners can’t complain with what he’s giving them. The fact that he’s blocked a shot in five of the seven games the Rockets have played is encouraging, so his numbers haven’t just been inflated by a random four or five block night. He’ll be a top three fantasy player when the season ends, whether that involves a triple one or not.
Danny Green, G, San Antonio Spurs — 1.8 three-pointers, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks
If I had to pick one player who will average the triple one all season, Danny Green is my pick. As underrated of a fantasy player as there is, Green is a superb contributor in the difficult to find categories. I actually wrote about him here, as a guy who needs to be owned in more leagues and I stand by that fact now. Last season, Green just missed out on joining the triple one club, ending with 1.9 three-pointers, 1.0 steals and 0.9 blocks, but this season, he’s in with a real shot. He’s one of the best shot blocking guards and if you are looking for a block/three-pointer combo player, there aren’t any better that can slot into your guard spots. The points aren’t high, the field goal percentage is low, but in the other categories, Green can be a fantastic contributor.
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