This has been a fascinating year thus far. It’s not just the off-season transactions, the Lakers going for another three-peat, or the hype in South Beach. From rookies to veterans, we are in the middle of one of the most exciting statistical seasons, ever. Most of that can be attributed to some of the all-time great players reaching the end of their careers or young guys trying to make a name for themselves. We are a quarter of the way through the year and here are the statistical standouts thus far:
Miami Heat (1st, 17-8)
They’re Heating Up: The Heat have won 8 straight games. According to Marc Stein, 3 other teams own a winning streak of at least 8 games (Dallas, Boston & New York) and that’s the first time 4 teams have been on current winning streaks of 8 or more games. Miami’s schedule is about to get brutal as they face some real teams. In the next 8 games they play 5 teams with a record of .500 or better including the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers. Let’s see if they can keep the Win-train rollin’.
Orlando Magic (2nd, 16-8)
Disappearing Act: For the first time since the 2007-08 season, Dwight Howard does not lead the league in Rebounds or Blocks. It’s also important to note that while his scoring has jumped up from 18.3 ppg to 21.5 ppg, his usage rate 23.9% to 28.9% while his FG% has dropped from a league best 61.7% last year to 57.7% this year. All of this while his Orlando Magic are off to their worst start in years. MVP? Not unless Dwight pulls one out of a hat.
Atlanta Hawks (3rd, 16-9)
Deep Threat: Mike Bibby is shooting a mind numbing 53.6% from the arch. He has connected on 52 of 97 attempts. Joe Johnson probably owes Mike a third of his albatross contract.
Charlotte Bobcats (4th, 8-15)
Lucky Losers: As incredible as this might seem, at 8-15 the Bobcats are only 2 games out of a Eastern Conference playoff spot. Still, this team is terrible, owning the league’s 4th worst offense (102.4 OffEff). Makes me wonder who Michael is more ashamed of, the Bobcats or his oldest son, Jeffery…
Washington Wizards (5th, 6-16)
The Great Wall of D.C.: If the season ended now, John Wall would be the first rookie ever* to average 16 points, 8 assists, and 2 steals per game. Crazy to think that there is a very real chance that he’s not going to win the Rookie of the Year.
* It’s important to note that The Big O (Oscar Robertson for those who never heard of Basketball) probably averaged 2 steals per game to go along with his 30.5 points and 9.7 assists as a ROOKIE! But the NBA didn’t keep track of those stats back then.
Keep your pencils sharp and your calculators handy, NBA geeks! We’ll be back soon with the next installment of ‘NBA Stats To Watch For’.