5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 5

Stephen Curry continues to amaze, and don't sleep on Paul George.

Five weeks into the NBA season and the Golden State Warriors are still undefeated at 19-0. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers are still in the basement at 0-18. It did not seem possible that we'd have such success and futility this far into the season, but we'll now get to see who can stay "perfect" for the longest.

We were also greeted with the news last week that Kobe Bryant will retire at the end of this season. We share some thoughts on his incredible career below.

So, without further ado let’s get to it.

1. Robert Covington averaged six steals per game last week

Robert Covington started the season injured, and when he finally was healthy enough to play, he could not make very many shots. Covington is still only shooting 36.4% on the season, but over his last five games, he’s shooting 45.2% from the field including 44.4% from three-point range.

In addition, Covington is averaging 18 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game and 5.2 steals per game during that span. He’s still only played nine games on the season and could be a tremendous pick-up for your fantasy team if he's available on the waiver wire or via trade. With the Philadelphia 76ers in bad shape (as we mentioned above), you would think Covington will get all the opportunity he can handle this year.

The silver lining, in addition to his steals per game, may be that his career three-point field goal percentage is around 37%. So, despite shooting only 29.6% from three-point range so far, he could end up contributing around 2.5 three-pointers per game if his shooting percentage comes up to his career average.  

2. Kobe Bryant is shooting 30.5% from the field and announced he is retiring at the end of this season

Kobe Bryant has been having a miserable season, which is more than borne out by his 30.5% field goal percentage to start the season. You could even think that maybe his play so far this season contributed to him announcing his retirement effective at the end of this season. However, a bad field goal shooting percentage and the Los Angeles Lakers 2-14 record cannot tarnish the incredible career that Bryant has had in the NBA.

Bryant has a career shooting percentage of 45% over 20 seasons. In addition, if he decided not to play one more game in the NBA, he would still be the third leading scorer in NBA history with 32,683 points (just ahead of Michael Jordan). That’s incredible in and of itself, but he’s also won five NBA championships during his career (just one behind Michael Jordan), is a 17 time NBA All-Star and was voted NBA first team 11 times. 

We should all take this opportunity to appreciate an incredible NBA hall of fame career. All in all Bryant has had a phenomenal career, one that cannot be tarnished by his rather pedestrian final season numbers to date.

3. Paul George is healthy and averaging 27.2 points per game

Paul George appears to have regained his health and is playing like the NBA All-Star that he was prior to his injury. As many remember, George missed practically all of last season after suffering a rather gruesome leg fracture. So, there’s always going to be some questions as to whether a player can come all the way back from such an injury. George, so far, appears to be every bit as good as he was prior to the injury.

George, still only 25 years old, has carried the Indiana Pacers to second place in the Eastern Conference at this early stage in the season. He’s crushing his previous career highs in multiple categories including points per game (27.2), rebounds per game (8.1) and assists per game (4.4). Most importantly, he’s shooting the ball at career high levels: 45.9% from the field including 45.5% from three-point range and over 85% from the free throw line.

On top of that, his nERD is 15.1, fifth best in the NBA. As you may recall, nERD refers to the total contribution of a player throughout the course of a season, based on their efficiency and gives an estimate of how many games above or below .500 a league-average team would win with that player as one of their starters. Paul George is back playing at an All-Star caliber, and the Pacers fans can be thankful for that this season.

4.Otto Porter is averaging 12 points per game this season

Otto Porter has stepped into a starting role with the Washington Wizards this season and is contributing across the board. Despite averaging 31.6 minutes per game and starting every game this season, he’s been somewhat of an under-the-radar surprise to start the season. Porter is averaging 12 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game and 2.3 assists per game. He’s also shooting the ball relatively strongly at 45.9% from the field and 87.9% from the free throw line. He’s also making over one three-pointer per game and contributing 1.6 steals per game.

Porter also has a positive nERD of 1.1, which on a Wizards team that is 6-8, seems pretty solid. In addition, he may be available in your fantasy league as he is only 70% owned in Yahoo leagues. If John Wall can pick up his performance (his assists per game are down by 2.4 per game this year versus last), we may even benefit from some increased points per game from Porter.

5. Stephen Curry is on pace to take 926 three-pointers

Stephen Curry is taking over 11 three-point field goal attempts per game this season, which puts him on pace to take 926 for the season. That would shatter the NBA record of 678, which was established in 1995-1996 by George McCloud. McCloud shot approximately 38% from three-point range that season. Curry is shooting approximately 44.4% from three-point range this season and is averaging 15 points per game on such shots alone.

Curry is already third on the single season list for three-pointers taken because last year he took an amazing 646 three point field goals. He is now on pace to destroy the record for three-point field goals taken in a season, and if he shoots 44% from three point range and ends up taking 926 total three point shots, he will top the record he holds of 286 three-point field goals made in a season.

Curry could end up making around 407 shots from beyond the arc this season. That is more than the Brooklyn Nets as a team are on pace to make this entire season. The Nets have currently made 81 three-point field goals so far this season, and Curry has made 90. That’s almost unbelievable.