NBA Weekly Player Report
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
The first week of NBA action is in the books and we’re all collectively getting our first looks at what a full offseason did for our stars and teams. The Wembanyama fever is alive and well as he’s had the spotlight, while some of the league stars are getting their feet wet with early season action. There’s also some surprise names breaking through that need to get on your radar for the NBA Tiers contest.
From an NBA Tiers picks perspective, we’re trying to find those gem players to ride to victory and it’s basically Christmas Day as we scour the league to figure out who’s got next? Fortunately for you, I’ve carved through the NBA stats pages (so you don’t have to) and dug into who’s really producing what on the court so far this season. Let’s make some quick sense of the week one analytics and see who’s trending up and down out of the gates:
The Brooklyn Nets star is vaguely known as “that guy that puts up points in bunches” and the trend roars into a new season as he’s already averaging 33 a night. Thomas is practically arm-barring his way into the Nets starting five and it’s clear that he’s becoming far more than just a microwave off the bench. Add in some noticed improvement for the full 94 feet and covering the defensive end of the game, and you have the recipe for more breakthroughs for the walking bucket in NYC. He’s worth a look to go off against any opponent.
I’m sure Joel Embiid has doubts creeping in as to how he helps get the Sixers over the hump in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. It hasn’t happened yet, but if his teammate guard Tyrese Maxey continues this early season trajectory then the ideas of the Sixers in the finals will become very realistic. Maxey is not only dropping 30 a night but he’s giving you close to seven boards and seven assists a night - the full complement of attributes you like to see in a statline on your team’s roster. He’s not quite a household name yet but Maxey is wowing to start off the year.
We've got a double Tyrese feature in this week’s upward trenders, but with plenty of merit. The Pacers guard is elevating his highly polished ball skills to another level, and passes leading to highlight plays are abundant so far in this early season. Averaging over 20 points and 12 dimes a game will get the attention of any NBA fan and make you want to roster him more often. That is, if you like winning and stuffing the stat lines.
Honorable Mention - Kristaps Porzingis
If he stays upright, this could be a nice piece to the championship formula for the Celtics.
While we’re only a couple of games in and prognosticating is minimal, you do have to wonder how the Gabe Vincent move to the Lakers will go after thriving so comfortably in Miami. So far he’s averaging close to 30 minutes a night with the Lake show but hasn’t yet found his stride in a new west coast uniform, putting up about five points and three assists per outing.
Candidly, I’m glad my Celtics sprung for Porzingis and got championship tough by adding Jrue Holiday, because Al Horford is going to morph into a floor general role with less production this year. It’s already showing off the bat as the C’s have gotten younger and faster. He’ll make his name known for some corner threes and great ball movement, but be wary of finding any more big time stat lines from Horford under the current construction of the Celtics depth chart.
While he’s a ball of energy on the court that you love to have on your side, Trae Young rostering comes at a cost. Mainly in both turnover and shooting percentages, where he is amongst the lowest in the league all around. Shooting 27% from the field and averaging close to five turnovers a night is hard to overcome, and it’s showing with the Hawks rough start.
Honorable Mention - Scoot Henderson
The third overall pick is quietly one of the least efficient players statistically through the first few games…
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