NBA Weekly Player Report
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
New Names Emerging
November is a Christmas present in and of itself for NBA fans as we’re getting accustomed to having some newer names on our radar. The depth of the league is astounding as of late, and if you take a few nights off you’ll miss a new breakthrough performance in the association. Some early bright lights may indeed bust over time, but we always hold out hope that they become household names, and maybe even All-Stars or MVPs. Now that our NBA Tiers player contests are rolling along, let this be your one-stop shop for a stats tune-up to see who’s trending, who’s teetering, and who’s new on the scene. As you hit the board for player picks to crush your next contests, mark these names down as trenders that could be worth a second or third look at rostering.
I wanted to wait until just the right moment, but his few weeks of regular-season play are matching the levels of pre-draft salivation we’ve all had for months. The goods are starting to be delivered and Wemby produces highlights that look unlike any other NBA star, and he’s making his (other) young teammates better on both sides of the floor. The Spurs are off to a respectable start and with Wemby averaging over 20 points, 8 boards, and almost 3 blocks a night, he’s giving us the early flashes of a “game changer” that we all begged for.
Putting it bluntly, this guy is doing it all to start the season for the Raptors. A walking double-double that’s an increasingly accurate shooter so far this season, Barnes is quietly one of the top 10 most efficient players in the league…if you can believe it. He’s already hit career-high moments and stat lines in this early campaign and championed an overtime comeback victory last week that put the league on notice. Fans came for Wembanyama but the Raptors and Scottie Barnes got the last laugh and the W in their head-to-head last weekend.
This might not be the Houston Rocket you assumed would be in a breakout role, but the 2021 draftee (by way of OKC out of Turkey) is carving a nice role for himself and is starting to make Rockets fans believe. He’s been good for over 18 points, 8 boards and 6 assists a game and is strikingly high on player efficiency ratings. He’s the perfect no-nonsense contributor that could be a piece of a championship puzzle in years to come.
Honorable Mention: Jalen Duren
People forget he’s still only 19 years young and already shining for the Pistons early in season two.
I hate to bash a fellow golf guy, but Reaves may need to put the sticks away for a couple of weeks and hit the gym a little harder to work on his shot. With three-point percentages below 30% to start the season and offensive stats down across the board, he’s got some time and room to show that he's improving on being a viable support piece for Lebron and the Lakers if they wish to seriously contend with the likes of Denver and Golden State.
The “almost” star seems to be a thorn in the side of Knicks fans worldwide. When he’s rolling hot he’s a slice of life to the Garden we haven’t seen in a while, but his slumps are twice as extreme as his highs and this season is full of missed shots from the floor. At a 27% Field goals clip and 22% from beyond the arc, Randle is leaving a lot to be desired while still averaging 35 minutes a night.
It seems we might be on the dawn of a style change to Murray’s game, as his scoring numbers and mass production are a noticeable drop off from recent seasons which is worth noting. Where he is doing more is for his teammates with increased assist numbers, so while we may never see the microwave scoring like pre-injury Murray displayed prior, he’s still a valuable cog in the wheel to keep the Nuggets moving appropriately if and when he returns to the lineup.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Miller
His rookie season in Charlotte is playing out predictably and his stats are moderate and unimpressive out of the gates - down in scoring from college and low in assists in helping his team around him.
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