5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 17
As the All-Star break approaches, as always, teams are moving in different directions.
Meanwhile, a few players who will be on the All-Star team next week are showing why they are perennial stars, and a young sharpshooter in Phoenix is proving that, in no time at all, he will be making routine trips there as well.
Devin Booker is averaging 21.1 points per game
The Phoenix Suns are having one of the worst seasons in franchise history, and that was capped off on Sunday with a 31-point demolition by the Houston Rockets. However, the team does appear to have found a gem in second-year guard Devin Booker.
Booker is known for his three-point prowess, and that has certainly played out this year, as he is making 1.8 triples per game and shooting a solid 36.3% from deep.
With another high draft pick coming this year, the Suns appear set to have a strong nucleus for years to come in the desert with Booker providing a scoring punch.
The Miami Heat won 13 games in a row
After stumbling out of the gates to start the year, the Heat were on an amazing 13-game winning streak that was halted on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Much was made of the streak due to the fact that Miami is a team with no All-Stars, but the team did most of its damage on the defensive end. Over those 13 games Miami ranked second in the NBA in defensive efficiency, trailing only the San Antonio Spurs.
What may be most surprising about this is that most would assume that center Hassan Whiteside played a big role in this, but he has averaged just 1.6 blocks per game over the last month, compared to his staggering 3.7 from last season. The big man does still lead the team in defensive win shares and defensive efficiency, but he has seen his play fall off on that end.
With an offense that averages just 100.9 points per game, the Heat will need continue their stellar defense if they want to stay hot and boost their current 33.8% chance to make the playoffs.
The Charlotte Hornets have a 48.2% effective field goal percentage in their last 10 games
The Hornets have not been an offensive powerhouse over the past few seasons, but recently, their struggles have become an issue. The team is just 1-9 in their last 10 games due in large part to a poor 48.2% effective field goal percentage during that span.
Much of the struggles appear to be centered around Kemba Walker, who has seen his field goal percentage drop to 34.3% over the last two weeks. As the only player who is attempting more than 15 shots per game, it is certainly on Walker to pick his game up and pull his team out of this slump.
The good news for the Hornets is that the team is still ninth in defensive rating. Also good news is that, despite their recent form, Charlotte still has a 47.2% chance to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, where they currently sit ninth.
For a team that has solid shooters and a solid offensive game, this is likely just a blip on the radar, but it is something to watch as the season progresses.
Draymond Green tripled-doubled while scoring just 4 points
In one of the stranger box scores you will ever see, Draymond Green roasted the Memphis Grizzlies for a triple-double despite only scoring four points. If had been able to get six more points, he would have joined the elite group of five players who have recorded a quadruple-double in NBA history.
Along with his incredible 10 steals, Green also chipped in 5 blocks to boost his season totals to 2.1 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.
Although the 10 steals are certainly an oddity, it should not be surprising that Green did it, as he currently sits second in defensive real plus-minus at 4.48.
It is incredibly unlikely that Green ever gets this close to achieving this feat again, but his all-around game and pace of play for the Golden State Warriors makes him the likeliest candidate in today’s NBA to reach such a rare milestone. For a player averaging just 10.4 points per game on the season, Green is certainly a valuable cog in the Warriors' machine.
Anthony Davis averages 7.1 points per game as the roll man in pick-and-rolls
Coming into the season, it was widely known that the New Orleans Pelicans were going to lack offensive weapons. The two reliable weapons that the team does have are point guard Jrue Holiday and big man Anthony Davis. Coach Alvin Gentry has not been shy about using those two in the pick-and-roll, as the stats bear out.
Davis currently leads the NBA with an amazing 7.1 points per game as the roll man in the pick-and-roll. His roll game has allowed him to push up to 27.9 points per game on the season, up 3.6 points from last season.
The scary thing for opponents is that Davis has not been as efficient as he was in previous seasons from the floor with a shooting percentage of 50.5% on the year versus his career average of 51.4%.
Between a usage rate of 32.6% and his overall effectiveness in these situations, expect the Pelicans to continue to work the pick-and-roll until opposing defenses find a way to slow down the superstar power forward.