5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 12

With nearly half of the NBA season over, what stats can tell us about the state of certain teams and players?

The trade market is starting to heat up around the NBA, which will create new opportunities for several players. It will also be interesting to see how each team reacts with the mid-point of the season at hand.

The trade rumors will start to fly more and more in the coming weeks, and everyone can speculate about who is the best fit for certain squads, but through it all, certain stats stand out regardless of the noise.

What should you know through week 12 of the NBA season?

Tim Hardaway Jr. has a usage rate of 22.6% without Kyle Korver on the floor

The Atlanta Hawks are at a crossroads in their season. The team has gone 8-2 over their last 10 games, but this week, they traded away veteran wing Kyle Korver with rumors swirling that Paul Millsap may be next.

Although Korver is still one of the most accurate three-point shooters in the NBA, young wing Tim Hardaway Jr. seems more than capable of filling in for the Hawks.

With Korver off of the floor this season, Hardaway ranks third on the team in usage rate at 22.6%, trailing only Dennis Schroder and Millsap. Over the past two weeks, Hardaway has been on fire from the field, shooting a solid 48.4% while making 2.8 three-pointers per game and contributing 13.5 points per game.

For a team currently sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and having a 90.7% chance to make the playoffs according to our algorithm, it is difficult to see the team moving on from Millsap without a fill-in as capable as Hardaway is for Korver.

C.J. McCollum is averaging 30.3 points per game over the last 15 days

When Damian Lillard went down with an ankle injury last week, C.J. McCollum was given the keys to the Portland Trail Blazers' offense. The star shooting guard did not disappoint, as he is second in the NBA over the last two weeks in scoring, trailing only Isaiah Thomas.

McCollum saw a boost from his 18.1 shots per game to a staggering 22.8, trailing only Russell Westbrook in field goal attempts per game over that time.

The positive for the Blazers is that, despite a rise in shot attempts, McCollum has managed to stay efficient with a 49.6% rate from the floor and 93.9% conversion rate from the free throw line.

The other good bit of news for the team is that, in the five games that Lillard missed, the team allowed fewer than 92 points in three of those games. For a team that is currently last in defensive efficiency, that is a good note if they hope to continue their playoff push.

No team has a defensive rating under 100

The NBA is without a doubt in the middle of an offensive resurgence. Of the 30 teams in the Association, 23 are scoring more than 100 points per game, due in large part to increase three-point attempts and makes.

Nine teams are currently averaging more than 10 threes made per game on the year, compared to the 2006-07 season in which the Phoenix Suns paced the league at 9.6 per game.

That, along with an increase in free throw attempts, has pushed every team over the 100 mark for defensive efficiency. Even defensive forces such as the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz are allowing more than 100 points per 100 possessions this year, something that did not seem likely in the past. Even last season the Spurs and Hawks both allowed fewer than 100 points per 100 possessions.

It is interesting to note, however, that only one team (Portland) is currently in the bottom 10 of defensive efficiency and still has over a 50% chance to make the playoffs, according to our algorithm.

Jabari Parker is scoring 4.6 points per game in transition

The Milwaukee Bucks have turned into one of the true up-and-coming teams this year with star Giannis Antetokounmpo getting much of the publicity. However, former Duke star Jabari Parker should also be given a ton of credit for taking his game to another level.

Despite being ranked just inside the top 50 in the numberFire player rankings, Parker has improved nearly every facet of his game. His scoring has seen a huge boost from 14.1 per game a season ago to 20.4 this season. Much of that is due in large part to his 4.6 points per game in transition this season.

The increase has been team-wide, as Milwaukee’s pace is up to 97.7 this year, a jump from 96.6 last season. An uptick in pace and transition baskets has also helped Parker to up his three-point shooting. He averaged a paltry 0.1 threes per game last year to a respectable 1.4 per outing this year.

The only part of Parker’s game that has not improved by the quicker pace is his shooting percentage. On the year, his field goal percentage is up, but only 0.6% on the season, which is likely due to his increase shot totals from last year.

With Khris Middleton expected to return from injury in the next month, it will be interesting to see how Parker and Antetokounmpo are affected positively or negatively.

Mike Conley has a defensive real plus minus of -1.13

That ranks him 53rd among point guards.

For the last several years, the Memphis Grizzlies were built on a rock-solid defense, a defense that was led by veterans Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, and Mike Conley. This year, the Grizzlies have been solid on that end of the floor, coming in third in the NBA at just 98.6 points allowed per game. However, their point guard has not been his usual self on that end of the court.

Conley has a miserable defensive real plus-minus of -1.13 this year, which trails both Kemba Walker and D'Angelo Russell, widely considered two of the worst defenders in the NBA.

Some of this rating could certainly be due to Conley’s back injury that he suffered earlier in the year, but it could also do with his increased offensive load. Conley currently has a usage rate of 26.0% on the year, which would be a bump from 22.4% last season and over a 5-point increase from his career rate of 20.7%.

With the Grizzlies currently sitting at 24-16 and in fifth place in the Western Conference, it will not likely draw too much attention. That said, in a conference that features James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Stephen Curry, it will be something that Memphis needs to monitor as the season continues.