5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 11
Entering a new year, the NBA action will really start to heat up. Playoff races are becoming more competitive, and the MVP race already feels like it's down to two players. As we approach the halfway point of the season, who will emerge from the field, and what stats do we have that could show who that will be?
The Charlotte Hornets Are Averaging the Fewest Fouls Per Game in NBA History at 16.6
In today’s day in age of fast-paced play that sees a ton of drives to the basket, the Charlotte Hornets are making it tough for their opponents to beat them from the charity stripe. At just 16.6 personal fouls per game, the Hornets are on pace to break the all-time record for fewest fouls per game committed.
As it currently stands, only 10 teams are under 20 fouls per game, with the Phoenix Suns leading the NBA at 25.3 fouls per game. This lack of fouls has helped the Hornets to a top six defense and a 93% chance to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
Although it feels like a meaningless stat, with players such as DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook and James Harden getting to the free throw line nearly 10 times a game, limiting the opposition's points from the line can be the difference in winning the division or not.
James Harden Became the Only Player in NBA History With a 50-Point, 15-Rebound, and 15-Assist Game
Superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been trading ridiculous stat lines all season long. Westbrook leads the league in triple-doubles -- including one in the first half on Saturday -- but Harden one-upped him in a big way this weekend.
In that game, Harden has a usage rate of 40.6%, which is lower than the season rate of Westbrook, and was involved in a remarkable 95 points in the game.
Harden is having a spectacular season, as he is averaging career highs in rebounds, assists, and three-pointers made under new head coach Mike D’Antoni. These numbers have pushed him to number-two overall in the numberFire player rankings, trailing only Kevin Durant.
The more important thing for Harden is that the Rockets now sit third in the Western Conference, proving that Harden is much more than just a stud fantasy basketball player.
Dallas Leads the NBA in Opponent Turnover Rate at 16.4%
There hasn't been much to cheer about for the Dallas Mavericks this season. They currently are tied for the second-most losses in the NBA this season at 24, and have been without their longtime star Dirk Nowitzki for nearly the entire season.
One positive is that the team is turning over opponents at a higher rate than any other team in the NBA. This has been a huge reason that the Mavs are fifth in the league in points allowed per game at just 100.6, which has helped them go 4-6 over the last 10 games.
It's also a bit surprising that Dallas is turning over people at this rate considering their best defender, center Andrew Bogut, has only played 18 games this season.
Despite having no players over 2.0 steals per game, Rick Carlisle has his team playing elite level defense, which is about the only hope they have to win games with their current roster.
The Bucks' Starting Lineup Has Played 126 Minutes Over Their Last 10 Games With a Net Rating of 6.1
After a season in which they went 33-49, the Milwaukee Bucks were dealt a big blow when star Khris Middleton tore his hamstring before the season. However, through 32 games this season, the young Bucks are a solid 16-16.
With the loss of Middleon, coach Jason Kidd had to make a few changes with his starting lineup which took some time to solidify. After a few iterations, Kidd has settled on Matthew Dellavedova, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tony Snell, Jabari Parker and John Henson as the starters.
Dellavadova and Snell were brought over prior to the season and have been given big roles at 28 and 29 minutes per game, respectively.
Although the role players have filled in nicely, most of the praise needs to go to stars Antetokounmpo and Parker, who have taken their games to new levels. Giannis is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, while Parker is posting a solid all-around line of 20.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
The insertion of Henson into the starting lineup has given that unit a strong defensive presence and allowed veteran Greg Monroe to be the go to scoring option on the second unit.
With the stellar play of their starting unit to go along with an improved bench, the Bucks could be on their way to the postseason for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.
DeMarcus Cousins Shoots 28.6% of His Shots With a Defender Within Two Feet of Him
It's no surprise to anyone that DeMarcus Cousins is having another huge season for the Sacramento Kings. The standout center is putting up 29.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 37 assists, and he's making 1.8 three-pointers per game.
The only real knock on Cousins' game is his lack of efficiency on the offensive side of the ball. Cousins has a career field goal rate of 46.0%, but that peaked in 2013-2014 at 49.6% and has fallen each of the last three years to just 45.5% this year.
One of the major issues for his efficiency is the lack of playmakers in Sacramento. Outside of Cousins, only Rudy Gay, who has missed several games this year, attempts over 10 shots a game, which has allowed opposing defenses to put the clamps on Cousins.
The lack of other options has been a large part of the reason that nearly 29% of Cousins’ shots come with a player within two feet of him. This stat comes with the former Kentucky big man averaging a career high 4.7 three-pointers per contest.
Along with his effectiveness in the post and lack of surrounding cast, Cousins will simply need to find ways to continue his scoring binge up, even if it comes with a less-than-stellar conversion rate.