5 NBA Stats to Know Through Week 15
Now 15 weeks into the NBA season, and it's time for the All-Star break.
We will have an opportunity to see all the stars of the game on one court. However, it’s not all good news as we’re now seeing more injuries popping up around the league. Marc Gasol is out indefinitely with a broken foot and Tyreke Evans appears done for the year. Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler is going to miss three to four weeks with a knee injury.
This will leave the Memphis Grizzlies looking for answers in the middle, and the New Orleans Pelicans probably facing no shot at the playoffs. And we’ll have to see if Derrick Rose can handle increased responsibilities in Chicago.
Here are five things to know after 15 weeks in the NBA.
1. LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 25.5 points per game in February
The transition for LaMarcus Aldridge to San Antonio has not really looked smooth this season as he's moved from being the main offensive weapon in Portland to one of many offensive options for the Spurs. Clearly, it’s not easy to do that, but recently (with Tim Duncan's injury) we’re starting to see a resurgence from Aldridge. He's increased his scoring to 26.4 points per game while shooting over 60% from the field over the last five games before last night's contest. Duncan returned last night, and Aldridge scored 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting.
This is a stark contrast to his overall numbers for the San Antonio Spurs through 49 games. Aldridge is averaging 17 points per game (6.4 fewer than last season), 8.4 rebounds per game (1.8 fewer than last season) and 13.7 shots per game (6.2 fewer than last season). However, Aldridge is proving he can still be a dominant offensive force, and maybe that’s what we’ll see when the Spurs get to the playoffs.
2.Victor Oladipo is averaging 19.3 points per game in February
The Orlando Magic are having an up-and-down season so far, which is reflected in their 23-29 record, leaving them outside the playoffs if they started today. There doesn’t seem to be one single weapon that you can count on night after night with this team. They have five double-digit scorers (six if you count Aaron Gordon who’s averaging 10 points per game over his last 10 games), but nobody that averages over 20 points per game.
Victor Oladipo, however, has started to heat up and is averaging 16.1 points over his last 10 games and 19.3 during the six games played in February. Oladipo’s play is closer to how he played last season when he averaged 17.9 points per game and played 35.7 minutes per game versus this season where he’s averaging 14.3 points per game and 31.3 minutes per game. Oladipo is certainly a talented player as he also averages 4.0 assists per game and 4.6 rebounds per game in just his third NBA season. Hopefully, we’ll start to see him provide consistent offense over the rest of this season.
3. Kurt Rambis’ NBA coaching record is 56-146
Kurt Rambis has won 56 games as a head coach in the NBA and lost 146 over approximately two and a half seasons. He had moderate success with the Lakers back in 1998-99 and was a complete failure when he coached the Minnesota Timberwolves for two season (32-132). Now, he’s the interim coach with the New York Knicks and started off 0-1, with a loss the other night to the Washington Wizards.
Rambis is at least saying the right things, as he wants the Knicks to be a playoff team this season. However, only time will tell if Rambis can right the ship. We’ve now seen the Knicks lose six games in a row and drop five games out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Per our algorithms, the Knicks only have a 1.3% chance to make the playoffs as things currently stand.
4. Joe Johnson is averaging 6.2 assists per game in February
Joe Johnson doesn’t seem to be the same dynamic offensive player that he’s historically been. Johnson has a career scoring average of 17 points per game but is only averaging 11.5 points per game this season. However, Johnson is still playing major minutes (33.9 per game) and contributing across the board. Johnson is averaging 4.1 assists per game on the season and has increased that to 7.2 over his first five games in February and 6.2 if you include last night's one-assist game.
This somewhat coincides with the loss of Jarrett Jack (the Nets point guard) for the season. Unfortunately, the Brooklyn Nets are terrible this season (14-40) so not many fans, other than Nets' die-hards, will be watching Joe Johnson work his passing magic.
5. The Sacramento Kings are ranked 23rd in Defensive Efficiency
There has been a lot of ink spilled on whether George Karl would keep his job as the Sacramento Kings head coach, but reports have confirmed that Karl will remain in place for the balance of the season. Hopefully, that means Karl and the Kings can work on improving their defense and maybe mount a challenge for the playoffs in the Western Conference. The Kings are a poor defensive team, ranking 23nd in Defensive Efficiency, and have a team nERD of 42.4. nERD refers to a team’s overall efficiency and is predictive of a team’s ultimate winning percentage.
The Kings have been decent at home (13-13), but as we sometimes see with teams trying to figure out how to win consistently they’ve been abysmal on the road at 10-18. If the Kings want to make a run at the playoffs and improve their chance of making the playoffs from 4.6%, they’re going to have to figure out how to win some games on the road, like they did last night against the 76ers.