5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 10
With Christmas Day games now behind us, the NBA regular season hits a grinding portion of the schedule. Some teams continue to fall into their same old traps, while other squads and players are surprising us with their recent production.
Memphis is 8-0 on the Second Leg of Back-to-Backs
The Memphis Grizzlies continue to surprise the NBA with a stellar 20-12 record and a 96.2% chance to make the playoffs, according to the numberFire team rankings. The team is anchored by their top ranked defense, which is allowing an absurdly low 0.987 points per possession. However, the biggest surprise is they are undefeated in the back end of back-to-backs this year.
Seasoned stars such as Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, and Vince Carter have all missed games, which makes this stat pop even more. Coach David Fizdale has done a good job of spreading the minutes out, with only Gasol and Conley averaging over 30 minutes a game.
As the season wears on, it will be tough for the Grizzlies to continue this run, but if Chandler Parsons returns and provides a boost, the top defensive team in the league will continue to be a thorn in the side of the NBA’s elite.
Draymond Green Leads the NBA in Defensive Real Plus Minus
When anyone thinks of the Golden State Warriors, the first thing that comes to mind is their offensive fire power with the likes of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. However, Draymond Green continues to prove his worth as he leads the NBA in defensive plus minus (DPRM) at 4.38.
DPRM, which measures the true difference in points a player allows, is a strong indicator of which players change the game on defense. This is where Green shines, as he is routinely put on the opposition's best frontcourt player, allowing the likes of Durant to get some rest on that end of the floor.
Green’s 8.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game are on par with his career totals, but where he has really picked up his defensive game is in the steals department. Prior to this season, his career high in steals per game was 1.6 in 2014-2015, but he has bumped that all the way up to 2.2 this season.
With his stats down across the board on offense, Green has seemingly accepted the challenge to be the Warriors' defensive MVP. At his current pace, he may be in line for a Defensive Player of the Year award.
Houston Has a Top-10 Defensive Rating Over the Last Seven Games
The introduction of Mike D’antoni was a sure sign the Houston Rockets were going to have a top-flight offense. MVP candidate James Harden is putting up a season for the ages as he is in contention to not only lead the league in scoring, but also in assists.
However, the big concern was the team's dreadful defense. They finished 19th in defense last year, and this season didn't start very well. That has changed over the past seven games, as the Rockets rank 10th in defensive rating over that time.
New big man Nene Hilario has not played big minutes, but does lead the team in DPRM at 1.90, followed by ace wing defender Trevor Ariza at 1.78. Although these players help, without a doubt the biggest jump in defense is due to the return of fiery point guard, Patrick Beverley.
Beverly, an elite pick and roll defender, has played 20 games and is posting 1.4 steals a night, allowing Harden to move over to a less dangerous player on that side. With a plethora of big men to patrol the paint and Ariza and Beverly on the wings, the Western Conference better watch out for the Houston Rockets on both ends of the floor.
The Orlando Magic Lead the NBA in Assist-to-Turnover Ratio Over the Last 10 Games
The Orlando Magic have had the definition of an up-and-down season.
The team has three losing streaks of at least three games, but also has two three-game winning streaks. New coach Frank Vogel decided a change needed to be made and moved Elfrid Payton and Nikola Vucevic to the bench while veterans D.J. Augustin and Bismack Biyombo were moved into their roles.
The change has resulted in alternating wins and losses over the past seven games, but more importantly, the new roles for Augustin and Payton have resulted in a much steadier offense.
The interesting thing is neither player has seen a change in total time on the floor, with Payton staying around 29 minutes per game and Augustin hovering around 21, but it has made a huge difference.
As a starter, Payton was averaging 2.0 turnovers per game and had a pitiful offensive rating of 98. As a reserve, he is only averaging 1.7 turnovers per game and is posting a sparkling rating of 111. Augustin has also seen a boost and has allowed the team to be tops in assist-to-turnover rating over the last 10 games.
For a team ranking only 28th in offensive efficiency, it is vital for Orlando to not turn the ball over. This move appears to have been the right one for everyone involved.
Myles Turner Is Averaging 3.0 Blocks per Game Over the Last 15 Days
When the Indiana Pacers decided not to re-sign veteran big men Jordan Hill and Ian Mahinmi, second-year player Myles Turner knew his role would expand after averaging a respectable 22.8 minutes last year and posted 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game as a rookie.
This season, Turner has been bumped to 29.5 minutes and responded with an even bigger bump in production. The most important one for Indiana is his 2.4 blocks per game.
With the plan to increase the team’s tempo, Larry Bird brought in Nate McMillian to speed up the game. The Pacers offense has certainly taken a jump, but the defense is suffering -- last year's third-ranked defense is now 17th in the NBA.
If Turner can continue his recent play around the rim, Indiana could move up from the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, where they currently sit.