Sunday, November 3, 2013
11/03/2013 12:58:00 PM | Posted by Snottie Drippen | Edit Post
5 days in, and the season is every bit as fantastic as we expected. Upsets, blowouts, buzzer beaters, it's been a basketball smorgasbord. The stars are living up to their billing, but as always, every night there are unsung heroes that the casual fan may have never heard of. Guys like:
22 pts, 6 rbs, 8-13 fg, 3-4 3 pt vs Clippers (W)
4.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg. These are the paltry numbers the 3 year vet has has put up in a nondescript career. Imagine the surprise when the 6'6" wing looked nigh unstoppable while the Lakers toppled the Clippers opening night.
16 pts, 4 rbs, 5 asts, 3-4 3 pt vs Denver (W)
He's not starting, but still a huge difference maker off the bench for Sacramento.It's a shame he's coming off the bench behind Grievis Vasquez, seeing as Thomas is the better player.
24 pts, 6 rbs, 6 asts, 8-16 fg vs OKC (L)
HOW did this kid barely play for 2 years?? After this opening day outburst, Burks is averaging 18-3-3 on the year off the bench. Can you say 6MOY?
21 pts, 4 rbs, 9-16 fg vs Atlanta (W)
Can't believe it's been 13 years since Vince's jaw-dropping dunk contest. The 56 year old carter had a flashback performance off the bench, helping his Mavs lock the W.
19 pts, 6.7 rbs, 4 asts, 64% 3 pt in 3-0 start
Stephenson has been nothing short of amazing on both ends of the floor for the Pacers. Most impressive has been the improvement in his 3 point stroke. If he can maintain a semblance of this production, Indiana inches closer to being the team to topple Miami.
28 pts, 10 rbs, 3 asts, 6-11 3pt vs Detroit (L)
I haven't been a fan of Ariza's game since he left the Lakers, but for this night against the Pistons, Trevor was scintillating. He's barely slowed down this season, averaging 20 ppg, 12 rpg, and 4.5 apg (!) and shooting 39% from deep on 9 attempts (!!!!) a game.
Small Sample Size Theater
- Chris Paul is leading the NBA in points, assists, and PER: 27.7 ppg, 12 apg, and a whopping 37.51 PER. Throw in 4 boards a night and I think we can dead the foolish "Tony Parker is the best PG in the League" stuff *slowly cranes neck at Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley*. To put that in perspective, LeBron James led the league with a PER of 31.67 last year and 27.34 2 years ago.
- Kevin Durant's vaunted efficiency, where art thou? After joining the 40/50/90 club last season, KD is in the much slummier 23% 3pt/37% fg/89% ft club right now.
- LeBron James is in unfamiliar territory; his team is below .500 for the 1st time since early 2010, and he's not on the top of the NBA leaderboard in any category. He's off to a slow (for him) start; 22.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg....but a robust 9.0 apg. Maybe Miami could use the more aggressive offensive LBJ right now.
- Celts rookie C Vitor Faverani is the 2nd coming of Bill Russell, apparently. Gang Green stinks, but 12.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg, and 4.5 blocks a night are nothing to sneeze at.
- Spencer Hawes is Wilt to Faverani's Russell. The career 9 ppg, 6 rpg guy is pumping in 19.3 ppg and 11 rpg for the shockingly 3-0 76ers. I mean...Spencer Hawes, bro.
- Klay Thompson is fed up. After a nice 15 ppg '12-'13 campaign, he's been bonkers so far, dropping 25 ppg with 53% 3 point shooting.
- 20.7 ppg, 9 apg, 4.7 rpg, 4.3 stl/g, 47% 3 pt. These video game numbers belong to Philly rookie Michael Carter-Williams. Goodness.
- At the other end of the spectrum: someone go check on Kyrie Irving. He's sputtering out of the gate, his 15.3 ppg, 34% shooting, and abysmal 12.5% from 3 is miles away from his career numbers of 205, 45.6%, and 39%. At least his assists (7.0) and boards (4.7) are up a bit.
Before you swarm me on Twitter (@SnottieDrippen) shouting "IT'S ONLY 3 GAMES!", read the subheading there. Watching players overachieve or climb out of struggle is part of what makes the NBA so great to follow. Will these numbers normalize as the season goes on? Almost guaranteed. Doesn't make it any less fascinating to see Spencer Hawes put up a stretch of All Star level numbers or Kyrie Irving look like an average point guard. What have been some of the most surprising performances of the year so far for you, the reader? Comment below, or hit me on twitter, hashtag #NBASmallSample
The NBA is back. All hail the NBA.