With the first quarter of the NBA season already finished, SportsNak has created its First-Quarter All-NBA Team. All stats are via nba.com.
Curry is once again killing opposing teams with his range, handles, and passing skills. The great thing about the Golden State Warriors is that they play a complete team game, which lessens the load put on Curry. Playing 34.8 minuts a game, Curry is averaging 32.1 pts, 5.9 ast, and 5.1 rbs a game, and has a realistic chance of joining the 50/40/90 club (fg%/3pt%/ft%). Curry also has the second highest efficiency rating in the NBA, behind just Westbrook. Everything that can be said about Curry has been, as the Warriors are off to a historic start, and look like they wont lose a game all season.
Westbrook has been the epitome of efficiency so far this season. If it wasn’t for Curry’s Warriors getting off to the best start in NBA history, the attention would surely be squarely on Russell Westbrook’s back. Westbrook is averaging a near triple-double, with 28.1 pts, 10.3 ast, and 7.4 rbs. For a player who plays PG, that is a ridiculous amount of rebounds. Westbrook is also the only player with a higher efficiency than Curry, besting him by the smallest of margins, and coming in with a rating of 31.7. Westbrook’s biggest problem is turnovers, which he leads the league with 4.9 per game. Other than that however, Westbrook has been ridiculously good while carrying a huge load for the Thunder, even with Durant back. I would go as far as to say that Westbrook is the best player on the Thunder, and deserves to be spoken about in the same breathe as LeBron, Curry, Davis, and Durant.
Simply put, LeBron James is the most valuable player to his team in the NBA. He is averaging 25.7 pts, 7.1 rbs, and 6.8 ast so far. LeBron has a 32% usage rate, scores 31.6% of the Cavs’ points when he is on the court, and assists on 36.6% of the ones he doesn’t score. LeBron’s impact goes farther than just on the court. King James is the leader of the best team in the Eastern Conference, and, depending on who you ask, even coaches the team. After the recent loss to the Raptors, James called a players only meeting, apparently outlining everything he didn’t like about the attitude and play of the team. James did this to attempt to light a fire under his team, and in recent history, when he has done things like this, it has worked.
George has adapted very well to playing the stretch 4 in this new-look Pacers offence. His scoring is up this season, – he is now averaging 25.9 ppg – as well as his rebounding (8.4), and assists (4.8). Defensively, when he is on the court, the Pacers’ allow 94.1 points per 100 possessions, a great mark. Before the season, George and people around the league were debating whether he could battle in the post with the big men, and still produce offensively and defensively. So far, PG13 has succeeded on both ends, but an 82 game season banging under the basket with big guys takes its toll, and it will be interesting to see if George can keep up this level of production at the power forward throughout the whole season.
When someone is averaging 18.1 points and 17.8 rebounds per game, they are probably one of the best big-men in the game. As a Raptors fan, I hate seeing this, as we picked Terrence Ross one spot ahead of Drummond. Drummond is also averaging 1.6 blocks and 1.7 steals, making an early case for Defensive Player of the Year. The effect that Drummond is having on the Pistons is huge, leading them to an 8-7 record through 15 games. Drummond rebounds everything on the defensive end, getting to 37.3% of the defensive rebounds while he is on the floor. An interesting stat is his net rating, which is the difference between a players offensive and defensive ratings. Drummond’s net rating is 14.6 at home, but on the road, it plummets to -0.8. I’m not sure if there is anything to this, or if it is just a fluke, but it is definitely something to watch as the season continues.
Lillard is finally the guy in Portland after LaMarcus Aldridge departed for San Antonio this summer, and he is taking full advantage. Although the team is not nearly as successful, with Lillard their only incumbent starter, he is averaging 25.1 points and 7.2 assists and is second in most three-pointers made behind Steph.
Harden’s Rockets are having what many consider a down year. However, Harden is not the reason for this horrible start. Harden is averaging 28.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 6.3 assists, and is doing everything he can in order to get his team in the win column every night. His biggest problem is that he is pushing too much, as evidenced by his 4.7 turnovers a night.
On a star-studded Spurs team, with legends sprinkled throughout the roster, it is Kawhi Leonard who is the best player. The Finals MVP just two years ago, Leonard has blossomed into a true superstar. He is averaging 21.8 points and 7.9 rebounds, along with 1.9 steals. If you try to dribble with him around, be aware of his humungous hands, because he WILL steal the ball from you. He’s one of the leagues premier defenders, and look for him to be in the running for the Defensive Player of the Year award, along with Andre Drummond .
Lob city exists all over the court. Blake is dunking, dribbling, and shooting his way to a stat-line of 25.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Blake is pretty much an extra point guard on the court – albeit a 6 foot 10, 251 lbs one – which is much needed for this Clippers roster. The whole team runs around Blake and CP3, and so far, Griffin is playing at a superstar level.
Davis was expected to be so good that he could carry this injury-riddled, talent deprived roster to the playoffs. I for one thought he could do it. So far this season however, Davis has been banged up, and his team has been underperforming and injured. Tyreke Evans is yet to play a game, and Alvin Gentry’s system is not working. However, that hasn’t stopped Davis from racking up the stats, as he is putting up 23.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.