As we approach the All-Star break let’s take a look back at the season so far. It’s been obliterated by injuries, many of which have messed up a lot of pre-season predictions, but amidst what many are calling one of the most disappointing seasons in years there have been some bright sparks.
KD, Durantula, Slim-Reaper, whatever you wanna call him, the kid (yes, he’s only 25 years old) has emerged as the best player in the NBA (calm down LeBron fans, I’m talking about the season so far.) In my opinion the best player in the NBA is measured on a season-by-season basis (duh) and so far this season KD has been the best performing player this year. Hence why I call him the best player in the NBA and for what it’s worth LeBron has been the best player in the NBA since 2006 in my opinion.
Westbrook’s injury has certainly forced KD’s to produce at a higher level; he’s leading the league and averaging a career high 31.2 points per game on a career high 51.3% from the field and 41.8% from 3. He’s also adapted well to having to play the point forward more often and is averaging a career high 5.5 assists per game.
He’s also setting career highs and leading the league in many of the advanced stats and is on pace to finish the season averaging over 30 points per game and with over 20 total win shares, the only players to have achieved that are Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. (accurate as of Thursday, 13th February – 14:00 GMT):
Win Shares per 48 mins: .322 (on pace to be second all-time – granted Westbrook is still yet to return)
Total Win Shares: 13.5
Total Offensive Win Shares: 10.2
Conclusion? KD is a beast, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll agree that he’s most definitely the MVP this season and has proven to be the best perimeter scorer since MJ (uh-oh).
For those wondering, if KD was to return to last seasons’s form (he’s obviously gotten better since then) WS/48 wise (.291) he would still average out with a WS/48 of .3065 which would be good enough for 10th all time! Does that mean he would have had the 10th best season in NBA history; no. But it’s an indicator that he’s performing at a HIGH level and good enough to be surrounded with the usual culprits; Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem, Jordan and LeBron.
After a great start to the season (23/6/3 on 47% and 40% from 3 in 14 games in November) Paul George has struggled to say the least. He shot 41% from the field and 31% from 3 in 15 January games and has continued his poor shooting and scoring through to February, averaging 17 points per game on 35% and 36% from downtown in 7 games (#OnlyGeorgeWeAcknowledgeIsForeman). On the positive side he’s still the best defensive SF in the league and the Pacers still have the number 1 seed in the East.
Paul George needs to desperately pick up his play if the Pacers are to beat the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals this year (Yes, I’m that certain both the Heat and Pacers will make it to the ECF).
Griffin’s play this season, has, in my opinion, separated him from Love and LaMarcus Aldridge and put him in the conversation for best PF in the league along with Anthony Davis. Love plays little defence, is in-efficient and shoots terribly in the fourth quarter (38.6%). LMA on the other hand scores 24 point a game on 21 shots; not good at all. Griffin has been asked to carry more weight recently with Chris Paul going down and J.J. Reddick suffering numerous injuries so far this season.
In the 18 games he’s played without Chris Paul Griffin has averaged 28/8/4 on 55% FG and for the season he’s averaging 24/10/4 on 54% with a career high in PER: 24.3 and WS/48: .215.
The Clippers will look to continue to be a force in the West for the second half of the season, and come playoff time it’s going to be interesting to see what happens and whether Chris Paul can lead this team to the Western Conference Finals.
You can find me on Twitter: @SwishNBA