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Per 36 Minutes Averages: A Handy Fantasy Basketball Positional Rubric

Bogar Alonso breaks down the Per 36 Minute averages of average starting NBA players to help guide you through fantasy basketball waiver wire and trade decisions.

Jrue Holiday
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Jrue Holiday

Indianapolis, IN, USA; New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday (11) passes the ball to New Orleans Pelicans point guard Tyreke Evans (1) during the second half of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana Pacers beat New Orleans Pelicans 99 to 82. Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

If the NBA were an hourglass, and all its injured players grains of sand, it would seem that at this rate we’d run out of time before the season transpired. Even players like Kevin Durant, who narrowly avoided a more serious injury,  seem like potential casualties.

In these trying times, fantasy basketball owners need to be as adaptable as a rotation player. They need to watch the waiver wire with enough more resolve. And they need a handy positional stat rubric as their launch pad.

Prolific Reddit user unwinagainstable provides Point A of the journey as he graphed the average per-36-minute stats by position. Through his diligence and hard work we get some of the following fantasy-relevant showings:

1. The average point guard will give you: 15.7 Points Per 36 Minutes, 6.2 Assists, 3.8 Rebounds, 1.4 Steals, 0.3 Blocks, 1.5 Threes and 42.0 FG%/81.27 FT% shooting. Something along the lines of a Jrue Holiday.

2. The average shooting guard: 15.3 Points Per 36 Minutes, 3.2 Assists Per, 4.1 Rebounds, 1.2 Steals, 0.4 Blocks, 1.8 Threes and 42.88 FG%/79.72 FT% shooting. O.J. Mayo on his good days can provide along these lines.

3. Small forward: 13.7 Points Per 36 Minutes, 2.6 Assists Per, 5.8 Rebounds, 1.3 Steals, 0.6 Blocks, 1.4 Threes and 43.5 FG%/75.66 FT% shooting. A Tobias Harris – who has been performing under expectations – fits along this curve.

4. Mounds of Rebounds, or, the avg. power forward: 15.4 Points Per, 2.1 Assists, 8.8 Rebounds, 1.o Steal, 1.0 Block, 0.6 Threes and 47.97 FG%/71.74 FT% shooting. You can go with a Jared Sullinger or John Henson for similar numbers.

And, finally, the ‘5’ at 5. Centers: 14.1 Points Per, 1.8 Assists, 10.5 Rebounds, 0.9 Steals, 1.7 Blocks, 0.1 Threes, and 50.11 FG%/68.44 FT%.

(For more comprehensive stats, go here).

Since these are per-36 stats and representative simply averages, there’s no point going out to look for a player that fits them. Unless, of course, they’re somehow available and you have a solid squad already. But the trends do serve as a nice starting point and what to capture in your waiver wire when looking for specific stat-stuffers.

If you need scoring, look for point guards (see, XN Sports had the impression that power forwards would be the best option). Blocks: centers. Steals: point guards or small forwards. Steals and blocks: power forwards seem to supply the best balance of both. Steals and threes: either point guards or small forwards with points shooting worse from the field but better from the freebie line. And, really, you can go on and on.

In our latest waiver wire, Igor Derysh detailed who to go after in Week 12’s fantasy leagues. Terrence Jones, Kendall Marshall, and Randy Foye were some standouts.

Using the rubric we see that his advice is spot on as all three are performing well above the averages presented to us. In the past 15 days, the three are averaging the following:

Terrence Jones (power forward):  11.7 Points Per 31.8 Minutes, 1.2 Assists, 11.7 Rebounds, 1.0 Steal, 1.7 Blocks, 0.0 Threes and  48.5 FG%/66.7 FT% shooting. He’s a bit below average in the points, assists, threes, and free-throw percentage departments but is still a high commodity where available.

Kendall Marshall (point guard): 12.6 Points Per 36.7 Minutes, 11.3 Assists, 3.9 Rebounds, 0.6 Steals, 0.0 Blocks, 2.0 Threes, and 45.9 FG%/85.7 FT% shooting. These are numbers that go a bit above the 36-flat threshold but that are still quite nice. Those assists…

Randy Foye (shooting guard/point guard): 16.6 Points Per 32.1 Minutes, 3.1 Assists, 4.1 Rebounds, 0.6 Steals, 0.3 Blocks, 3.0 Threes, and 50.6 FG%/86.7 FT% shooting. Just makes your eyes want to water.

In their own ways, these numbers aren’t sustainable – Jones is highly streaky, so is Foye plus Danilo Gallinari could eventually come back, and Marshall stands in the spot of about 15 backcourt players due back. But in a time of high propensity for injury they’ll do just fine. This rubric, then, can be quite the time-saver and strategy tool for the dark hours ahead.

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