NBA Weekly Player Report
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Holiday Helpers on the Hardwood
We’re now turning the corner from Thanksgiving to Christmas, we’ve got the first ever In-Season Tournament approaching, and just as designed the NBA is already buzzin’. The young season has been highlighted by Wemby and the Rookie draft class talent, the meteoric rise of Anthony Edwards and the Timberwolves, and lesser known names like Tyrese Haliburton and Alperen Sengun quickly becoming NBA household names. There’s definitely some names you should move towards the tip of your brain, as they could be a tremendous help in your next NBA Tiers contest to take down the competition. No one set of picks are created equal, so let’s look past the known commodities in the Association and shine light the good and bad player trends heading into December:
Domantas Sabonis - With every passing game it feels like the Kings forward-center is morphing into his father Arvydis more and more, but with far fancier footwork (sorry pop). In his younger days in the NBA, Domantas learned the full bevvy of ball handling and passing skills to be a great distributor and floor general, and now with added size and physique he’s an athletic beast down low to complement that skill set. A top 10 overall efficiency rating in the league that now has double digit rebound performances with regularity, there’s no denying his rise lately. He has the Kings off to another solid start to the season.
Evan Mobley - A rather unheralded member of the Cleveland Cavs, Mobley is one of those guys on the roster that coaches love because he does everything on the court with precision and efficiency. He knows his game as a pest down low and his 55% clip from the floor makes him an easy target down low. Add in that he’s a walking double double and people will finally start realizing he’s not Cuttino Mobley’s son, but he might be a better overall player in reality.
Chet Holmgren - A couple of 30+ point breakout performances against the Warriors and the Sixers will catch anyone’s attention. If you still haven’t noticed, the headline is: the lanky kid from Gonzaga is finally playing and showing why he has the no. 2 pick overall by the Thunder. After a devastating injury set back the start of his career, he’s regained 100% health and mobility and is personifying everything the scouts thought he might a couple of years ago. A 7 foot 2 he can block shots, play the paint, or step and be Porzingis-like threat from beyond the arc. The idea of what he could blossom into is perplexing, and there’s lots of time for growth for Holmgren this season.
Honorable Mention - Joel Embiid: He can’t trend much higher than his norm, but the defense has been on a new level as of late.
Andrew Wiggins - The numbers are telling, and they’re down across the board for the 2014 #1 overall pick. Going from 17 points to 11 a game and having shooting numbers drop off significantly has got to be irking the Warriors this season, and that lack of production might be one of a few hints why the Warriors are off to a shaky start this year. They’ll need a bit more out of Wiggins, and your roster deserves more at the moment.
Grant Williams - Simply put, the former Celtic did indeed leave the greener grass of life as a Boston Celtic for the brown terrain of Dallas. His era with the Mavs has been riddled with inefficiency statistically, and for a guy getting close to 30 minutes a night you would hope for more offensively but that maturation isn’t there in his scoring ability. I’m just counting down the days until a locker room trife with Kyrie sends the Mavs into another tailspin.
Brandon Miller - I’ll hold out on the final exam review and judgment since the rookie is only ¼ of the season complete, but the early signs point to a one dimensional scorer who can’t provide much else on the court. He’s got the talent to be a role player years and years in the league, but his lows in other box score filling categories will have you wanting more in the end.
Honorable Mention - Klay Thompson: The man who used to be the most nuclear scorer in the league is now just a small biohazard warning.
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