5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 6
Through six weeks, we have also seen a fairly balanced NBA. So far, 15 teams are at or above .500, and only the Dallas Mavericks have fewer than four wins.
Which stats are jumping off the page so far?
Joel Embiid’s per-36-minute numbers are 28.6 points, 12.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks
Former general manager Sam Hinkie told the fans of the Philadelphia 76ers to be patient and to “Trust the Process.” That was tough to do coming off of three of the worst seasons in NBA history, with a combined record of 47-199 since the 2013-14 season.
Despite just a 4-13 record this year, the process has started to pay off with the emergence of former number-three overall pick Joel Embiid. The former Kansas big man did not appear in a single game in his first two years, but he has returned to health this year. In 12 games, he has one of the most impressive starts to any career in NBA history.
The team has taken a conservative approach with the big man, who is averaging just 22.8 minutes per game, but he has made the most of it. Per Basketball Reference, he leads the Sixers in usage at an astronomical 37.7%, which puts him among the league leaders.
Embiid has used that to produce at his remarkable clip of the 28.6 points per 36 minutes and outstanding defensive stats. Also impressive are the big man’s 15 three-pointers made on an outstanding 50% rate. If Embiid can continue at this pace when his minutes restriction loosens, the process will prove to have been effective.
Through six weeks of NBA play, there have been 16 triple-doubles recorded
When Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors and Mike D’Antoni signed on to coach the Houston Rockets, triple-double numbers seemed destined to rise. Westbrook was freed from his ball-dominant teammate, and Harden became a point guard.
The two have combined for 11 triple-doubles through six weeks of play. Harden has been especially happy in his new role, having matched his season total from last year with three, while Westbrook looks poised to top his 18 from last season.
Another perennial leader in this category is LeBron James, who is currently tied with Harden for second in the league with three, right where he ended last season. The remaining triple-doubles should not surprise, as Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied five last season and is on the board this season, while Julius Randle got the second of his career this season.
Although Randle does not seem a likely candidate for a triple-double due to his career rate of just 2.1 assists per game, the hiring of Luke Walton from Golden State has given him a huge boost. Randle has been plugged into the Draymond Green role of playmaking power forward and has excelled with 3.9 assists per game, over double from what he had last year.
In opposite the way, Green has seemingly been hurt by the loss of Walton and introduction of Durant, as the do-everything forward has yet to reach the milestone, after chalking up 13 last season.
With pace stats up across the NBA, it would not be shocking to see the 75 triple-doubles from last year increased to nearly 100 this season.
The Jazz are last in pace and first in opponent points per game at 92.8
The NBA has without a doubt turned into a run-and-gun lead that values three-point shots and getting as many possessions as possible.
Well, maybe for 29 teams it has.
The Utah Jazz are continuing to turn back the clock with a slow pace and tough defense.
The league currently has 11 teams with a pace of over 100, which counts the number of possessions per game a team uses, led by the Phoenix Suns, who move at a blistering 104.3 per game. Meanwhile, the Jazz have lowered their pace to a meager 93.6 this season. However, due to their slow pace, the team is also forcing opponents to an NBA-low 92.8 points per game.
The offseason addition of defensive ace George Hill has made an already elite defense nearly impenetrable. Despite only having Derrick Favors for 11 games this year, Rudy Gobert has played well enough to hold down the fort, with a defensive rating of 96.
In today’s NBA, it may not be the free flowing style that many like, but it has helped Utah to a 10-8 record and a move to 8th in our power rankings. With a 92.8% chance to make the playoffs, do not expect many fans of the Jazz to complain, and with this type of defense, do not expect any of the Western Conference powers to welcome them in the first round of the playoffs.
Danny Green leads the Spurs in net rating at 20.1
With the emergence of Kawhi Leonard to go with stars LaMarcus Aldridge, and Pau Gasol, it is easy to forget the importance of Danny Green to the San Antonio Spurs. The eight-year vet only played one of the Spurs' first nine games and saw the team go 6-3, which is a bad start for the Spurs. Since his return to the lineup, San Antonio has gone 8-0, and in those games, Green has had a plus/minus in the negatives only once.
Green is a jack-of-all-trades who has a career three-point rate of 40.5%, along with averaging 1.0 steals per game and 0.8 blocks from the shooting guard position. His career averages of 9.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.6 steals certainly do not pop off the page, but he provides exactly what the Spurs preach. In 24.8 minutes per game, he only commits 1.6 fouls and only turns the ball over 1.0 times per game. Plus, he has an effective field goal rate of 55.1% in his career.
The Spurs, who are notorious for not overpaying, thought so much of Green that -- prior to last year -- they rewarded the wing with a four-year $40 million deal. Despite his lack of counting stats, leading a team like San Antonio with a gaudy 20.1 net rating is outstanding.
When you consider that he will make roughly half of what Evan Turner or Allen Crabbe will make over the next few years, it seems like the Spurs continue to be ahead of the curve in valuing the right players for their system.
Jamal Murray leads all rookies with 1.8 threes per game
Entering his rookie season, Jamal Murray was regarded as one of the top shooters coming into the NBA. Through four games, Murray was a miserable 0 for 16 shooting and was only able to score 2 points. Since then, he has only played fewer than 18 minutes two times, and over the last eight games, he has buried 22 three-pointers.
That has bumped Murray to the lead in three-point shooting among rookies and is beginning to make him look like a solid pick at number seven this summer. He played 34 and 35 minutes in two games last week and responded with 24 and 23 points, respectively, in those two games.
With the injuries to Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Danilo Gallinari throughout this year, Murray is likely to continue to see high minutes going forward. This season has very much mirrored the year that Devin Booker had last year with a poor start, but as soon as he was given time, his star began to shine. Assuming he continues to stay above 20 minutes per game, Murray should push for a first team all-rookie team this season.