5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 10

The Grizzlies and Jazz are playoff teams, but are they good enough for deep postseason runs?

We’ve now finished the 10th week, and the NBA keeps rolling. We’ve left Christmas behind, and we’re full speed ahead towards the All-Star break.

The 76ers look like they could win more than 10 games based on how they’ve played recently, winning three out of their last six games. The Warriors remain locked in every game and are sporting a ridiculous 32-2 record. However, the Spurs have overtaken them in our team power rankings. The Spurs have the number one overall defense in terms of Defensive Efficiency.

Here are five other things to know from week 10.

1. The Memphis Grizzlies are only 19th in our team power rankings

.The Memphis Grizzlies are 19-17 and hold the 6 seed in the Western Conference, making them a clear playoff team as of today. Yet, despite having a roster that’s pretty similar to last year’s and playing similarly to last year's team (in terms of Pace, Offensive Rating, and Defensive Rating), they don’t seem to be quite as good this year. Last year, they were the 5 seed in the Western Conference, and their overall record was significantly better (55-27). This year, they are on pace to win approximately 43 games (a 12 game drop-off).

The Grizzlies' defense is still pretty solid. They only allow 98.6 points per game, sixth best in the NBA, although that is still 3.5 points per game worse than last year. The downgrade in defense is also reflected in our Defensive Efficiency rankings, where the Grizzlies are 15th. That’s a tough spot to be in when defense is your team’s calling card. To make matters worse, the Grizzlies are shooting the ball poorly as a team (43.3%, which is 26th in the NBA) after being ranked 9th last year and shooting 45.8% from the field. Right now, the Grizzlies do not look like a significant playoff threat. 

2. The Utah Jazz are 7-12 without Rudy Gobert this season

The Utah Jazz have managed to compile an 8-6 record when Rudy Gobert has played this season but are only 7-12 without his services. Yet, this team continues to hold down the 8 seed in the Western Conference with an overall record of 15-18. It’s not just Gobert, of course, as the Jazz have also experienced injury issues with Derrick Favors and, more recently, Alec Burks.

If they get Gobert back in the relatively near future and continue to play at or near .500 basketball, this may be the year that Utah turns the corner and maybe even makes some noise in the playoffs. Gobert, when healthy, is a big key to any success they will have, as he’s averaging 9.2 points per game, 10.9 rebounds per game and 2.6 blocks per game. 

As of today, the Jazz are the 17th most efficient defense per our rankings, but they make games difficult by allowing opponents 96.8 points per game (fourth best in the NBA). The Jazz themselves also score 96.7 points per game and are 16th in the NBA in points per game differential (-0.1). They seem to be on the cusp of playing winning basketball, assuming they can remain healthy for the rest of the season.

3. Nerlens Noel averaged 2.4 blocks and 1.8 steals last week

Nerlens Noel has been a dominant player over the last seven days. He’s averaged 15.2 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game, 1.6 assists per game, 2.4 blocks per game and 1.8 steals per game. That is a glimpse of the tremendous versatility and athletic ability that Noel has and hopefully can display for longer periods during the season. 

Noel is listed at 6’11”, and among players 6'10" or over. there are only a handful that average more than 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block per game. This includes (in addition to Noel) Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors. That’s pretty good company for Noel in just his second season.

4. The Clippers are 5-0 since Blake Griffin was injured

Apparently, things are not as dire in Los Angeles as we may have thought when Blake Griffin was injured. Griffin, to be sure, is a superstar, averaging 23.2 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game and 5 assists per game. However, since he was injured, the Clippers have basically been using the same unit of players, and each night, one or more of them step up to add a few more points, rebounds and/or assists to the box score.

Although we may not have thought so initially, maybe this injury to Griffin helps the Clippers believe in themselves a little bit more and realize they have a lot of different pieces to answer the bell when things get tough in the playoffs.

5. Zaza Pachulia is averaging 10.5 rebounds per game

Zaza Pachulia is ninth in the NBA in rebounding and also contributing 10.8 points per game, 1.8 assists per game and 1 steal per game. His nERD is 6.8, which is the highest on the Dallas Mavericks and 23rd highest in the NBA. nERD refers to the total contribution that a player makes based on efficiency and estimates how many games a team would win with that player as a starter. He's clearly having a very big impact on the Dallas Mavericks and their 19-15 record. 

This is Pachulia’s 13th year in the NBA, but he is exceeding his career rebounding average by almost five per game. Per Yahoo, Pachulia is the 75th ranked fantasy player, but he’s only owned in 73% of leagues. Pachulia, like he has for most of his career, is sailing under the radar but having a very productive year.