Home / Sports / NBA Star Power Index: while Stephen Curry goes down, Russell Westbrook takes no

NBA Star Power Index: while Stephen Curry goes down, Russell Westbrook takes no



Welcome to our NBA Star Power Index, a weekly indicator of the players who most control the bustle of the league. Reminder: Inclusion in this list is not necessarily a good thing. It simply means that you are capturing the attention of the NBA world. Also, this is not a classification. The players listed are not in a particular order with regards to the buzz they are generating. This column will run every week for the rest of the season.

Curry became the talk of the league on Monday night for all the wrong reasons. After pulling Golden State out of a 20-point deficit at halftime with 19 of his 31 points in the second half, Curry overreached by a steal in the wing and ended up rolling his right ankle in a pretty ugly way.

Given his history with ankle injuries, people will always fear the worst when Curry appears even a little gimpy. He had an MRI on Tuesday, which revealed no structural damage, which is the good news. The bad news is that it will be evaluated again in a couple of weeks, so it will be out for at least that long. There is a chance that the entire month of December will be lost, and with the Warriors in the race for the first seed with Houston, how Golden State navigates this stretch will probably contribute a lot to their playoff seeds.

Before the injury, Curry – who has struggled, speaking relatively well, three this season – was really starting to cook, shooting better than 46 percent from the bottom (13 by 28) while scoring 31, 30 and 23 in wins over the Pelicans, Heat and Magic, respectively. His 58 percent mark from the 2-point range is the best of his career. "I have to make some shots ," Curry joked with reporters after the Golden State triumph in Miami. "I'm not going to do three, so I could also win some."

Embiid came back to the news this past week with his trash talk, this time referring to Andre Drummond of Detroit: "Without disrespect, but can not shoot." Then he went out and put 25 and 10 in the Pistons before delivering this immediately viral submission to the incriminated Drummond:

If you're counting, that's seven consecutive double-doubles for Embiid, which would be a virtual block for All- NBA if the season were to end right now.

Last week I wrote about how the numbers of Ben Simmons look surprisingly pedestrian when he is not playing with J.J. Redick and Robert Covington, who provide the space that Simmons needs, and can not really create for themselves, is the lack of a jumper. That night he came out and put 31 points, 18 boards, four assists, two blocks and two steals in the Wizards. I did not even bother checking the on and off points. They do not matter That line is silly.

Before the Golden State game with Miami, I spent some time talking to Shaun Livingston about Simmons, whom he has watched closely since the Warriors have already played the Sixers twice this year. Livingston, of course, has made a good career as a player within the arc in a league of 3 drunk points, and certainly benefits from the space that Curry, Durant and Klay Thompson create in the same way that Simmons benefits from Covington's rank and Redick. Livingston told me that, in general terms, he does not believe that a point guard is elite in today's game if he is not a shooter, particularly from the dribbling and from the deep, but that Simmons was a clear exception.

"The main thing [for a guy like Simmons] is just knowing that you have to play with rhythm," said Livingston. "If you're always in transition, always pushing the pace, it's harder for a defense to establish itself in your game plan [and force you to shoot]."

Since Wednesday, the Sixers are playing in the fourth fastest pace in the league, by NBA.com.

Westbrook added his eighth triple-double of the season with 34 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds in his return to the Jazz on Tuesday. In fact, he fell a shy rebound in two separate games by putting three consecutive triple-doubles during the last week. That said, he's pulling less than 40 percent from the field in his last three, including a terrible 4 of 19 from the depth. He is still an enigma of crazy numbers.

Back to the Jazz game, it could really serve as a trampoline-type victory since the Thunder finally ran on the stretch with some patience, beating Utah 34-14 in the fourth quarter. Westbrook was undeniably great throughout the game and particularly during the rally of 17 points in the second half. These are the numbers that Billy Donovan would like to see:

This is an interesting number from Westbrook. You probably do not know: you have only four assists on the screen (calculated as a screen that leads directly to a field goal) this season. In comparison, LeBron James is 16, Stephen Curry is 15, Kyrie Irving is 12, James Harden is 11, Ben Simmons and Goran Dragic have nine each. Last season, Curry had more than 100 screen assists.

This is not a much-listened statistic, particularly with the guards, but it indicates how inactive Westbrook is in terms of freeing his teammates. And he does not take too much advantage of the ball, since he scored 10 points throughout the year without trimming, which is not enough to register on Synergy's top 40 list with a minimum of 10 of those possessions. If the Thunder wants to start moving the ball further, Westbrook will have more extra-ball activity in a variety of ways, it would be a good start.

That Jayson Tatum is 19 years old becomes more unfathomable every time you see him play. He is so polished, so prepared, so … good. Seriously, look at this statistic:

Not exactly a pedestrian company for Tatum, which has scored two digits in 13 consecutive games (the Celtics' first rookie to do so since Paul Pierce in 1999) while leading the league in three-pointers, by a considerable margin , less than 51 percent. In his last two games he scored 32 points in 11 of 15 from the field and 5 of 6 from three. he also let Simmons know that the Rookie of the Year career might not be the formality he is supposed to be:

Jayson Tatum brushing a pen called Ben Simmons from his shoulder pic.twitter.com/2VZnvuNtjs ]

– Celtics Addicts (@CelticsJunkies) December 1, 2017

Speaking of dark horse ROY candidates, how is this for some rumors?

Yes, he read it well. Brooks did not call Mitchell one of the best rookies, he called him one of the best players, period, in the NBA. The boy has played 24 games in his career, so maybe Brooks is getting ahead a bit. But you can understand the feeling if you were just basing things on the last week of action. In his last three games, Mitchell averages 31 points per night with just 50 percent shooting from three (14 of 30). That includes an effort of 41 points in a win over the Pelicans last Friday, which is one more point that Gordon Hayward has scored in a single game for Utah.

If you have not seen Mitchell play, do yourself a favor and set your calendar. This boy is special. He did everything he could to almost stop that furious OKC race on Tuesday night, creating and shooting throughout the court at the crucial moment. Even more impressive was the fact that the Jazz was in a back-to-back and Mitchell spent most of the night guarded by Paul George and Andre Roberson, two elite defenders, and still placed 31. In case I forgot, the Nuggets changed Mitchell to Jazz for Trey Lyles. Oops.

The Rockets are the best basketball team at the moment. They have won seven games in a row and 13 of 14. Chris Paul is starting to find his rhythm, but it is Harden who is by far the top candidate for the MVP of the league at the moment. He was so dominant in Houston's victory over the Lakers, scoring 36 points with his standard facility.

"James probably missed his first 3 and then got seven in a row," Rockets coach Mike D & # 39; Antoni said after the game. "It's ridiculous".

Ridiculous is right, and surprisingly the numbers not only look great on the offensive end. Harden has always been a better defender of the ball than he was, where he lost focus in the past, but when you look up and see he's in the 93rd percentile, through Synergy, in isolated defense, it does not matter how limited a write write that is, call attention. He forced me to watch some tape. This first clip is solid one-on-one defense against a pretty naive scorer in Brandon Ingram:

The following is even more impressive to me. Harden is defeated, yes, but this is a player he would have surrendered and granted the pin in the past:

Largely because of his length and the amount of ground he can cover in terms of shots of almost any position , Giannis, since Wednesday, is defending 23.5 shots per game within five feet, which is the most of any big man out of Aaron Gordon. In those shots, it keeps players with a conversion rate of 57.1 percent. By comparison, LeBron James, who also defends more than 23 shots per game within a meter and a half, is scoring in those situations better than a 64 percent clip. Kevin Durant, perhaps a defender similar to Giannis in terms of his role, athleticism and length, defends 22 of those shots per game, being scored more than 63 percent of the time.

It's just an example of how well Giannis has been on the defensive this season, especially around the basket, but really everywhere. Meanwhile, in his last two games he has accumulated 73 points and 22 rebounds in more than 56 percent of the shots. The second best scorer in the league, is still impossible to defend. Just look at this post-up:

Two players have 10 games with 30 or more points this season . The first is Devin Booker, which will probably surprise you. That the second is LeBron is anything but a surprise, since the King continues his torrid season. His last three games: 81 points, 30 assists and 15 rebounds in … wait … 63% shooting. LeBron's efficiency this season has been downright straight: career highs from three (41.6 percent), two points (64 percent) and the free throw line (77 percent). Please review what you are doing in the fourth quarter:

On that note, he scored the last 13 points in the final stretch to beat the Grizzlies on Last Saturday the Cavs have won 12 consecutive.

By extension of his crazy father, Lonzo, once again, is buzzing on the internet. This time LaVar brought out Lonzo's younger brother, LiAngelo, from UCLA because he did not like UCLA having the audacity to punish his son for stealing in stores in China. The nerve. Keep in mind that LaVar already took out another younger brother of Lonzo, LaMelo, from high school.

Lonzo is still the biggest victim of his father's mouth, who has gone crazy enough (who could have seen this coming?) With all the questioning of the coach and what, it is not that the Lakers have instituted the which is called the "LaVar Ball Rule". Chris Haynes of ESPN:

In what many employees at the Staples Center see as the "LaVar Ball rule" this season, the Los Angeles Lakers are pursuing a policy that no longer allows members of the media to congregate in a section of the arena between the family and players' associates after the games.

Meanwhile, Lonzo still can not shoot. In his last two games he scored 11 combined points in 4 of 14 from the field, including 1 of 7 from depth. He scored two points against the Rockets on Sunday and did not come off the bench in the fourth quarter.

Kyrie's last three games: 87 points on 56 percent shooting, including 9 of 15 of three. Boston won five of six after its 16-game winning streak ended in Miami a few weeks ago, and now it's 21-4 for the season. If you do not think this man is one of the five most valuable MVP candidates, you're crazy.


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