Friday Night Basketball

Tonight I want to look at some players who had stellar games and lead their team to a win. I also want to talk about a few players who have been playing well all season, but may still be under the radar a bit. Lastly, we will discuss some very young guys with HUGE upside and how they performed once given a chance to shine.

First the Stellar Performers:

Chris Paul
28 pts – 2 rb – 13 ast – 5 stl – 48% shooting

Tyson Chandler
12 pts – 17 rb (6 offensive) – 5 ast – 4 blocks – 71% shooting

David West
40 pts – 6 rb – 1 st – 1 blk – 59% shooting

Paul, West and Chandler all led the Hornets to an overtime victory over Memphis tonight. Look at those stats! WOW, they each had phenomenal games, which is obviously why they won. Chris Paul continues to show the world that Deron Williams may be getting the love because of his playoff run last year, but that was last year. This year, Chris has arguably been the best PG in the league. In fact, I’m going to say he HAS been the best in this young season. I’ll show you. Let’s compare CP3 to the best of the best, Steve Nash, this year.

Steve Nash
19.4 pts – 3.8 rb – 9.9 ast – 0.89 stl – 0 blk – 55% FG & 100% FT

Chris Paul
18.6 pts – 4.7 rb – 10.6 ast – 3 stl – 0 blk – 51% FG & 89% FT

You see what I mean? Paul has Nash beat in rebounds, assists and steals. He’s close to him the other categories, but let’s not just talk about the stats. Look at the accomplishments of the teams they lead. The Hornets are 8 – 2 with wins over the Nuggets, Lakers and Nets. They lost to the Spurs and Portland. The Suns are 7-2 and have quality wins over Cleveland, and Orlando, while getting beat by the Lakers and Hawks. The expectations for the Hornets were FAR below the Sun’s expectations, so I will say the Hornets have been more impressive and I naturally give the large part of the credit for their early season success to Paul. Chris Paul has really picked up the play of his teammates. Just look above at what Chandler and West did tonight! Obviously, it’s not all CP3, but he is the motor that keeps this engine running. Plus, Peja is actually a respectable NBA player again.

I’m not saying Chris Paul will surpass Steve Nash this year. I am merely stating that through 9 or 10 games, CP3 has been the best point guard. No Doubt.

Since we are on the topic of great point guards, did you see Jason Kidd posting a triple double tonight! It was in a losing effort to the Magic, but you have to take notice every time Kidd posts a triple. His line was 11 pts, 19 rb, 10 ast and 2 steals! There are a ton of forwards and centers in this league that have not grabbed 19 rebounds in one game, and Jason Kidd did it from the PG position! He’s just getting better with age.

We will stay with the PG theme and look at:

Baron Davis
21 pts – 4 rb – 12 ast – 3 stl – 5 blk (baron always has poor shooting percentages)

Andris Biedrins
23 pts – 18 rb – 1 ast – 1 stl – 2 blk – 75% FG – 83% FT

The Warriors came in to play the Clippers as a winless team, and came out a one-win team! It was a much much needed win, at that. It’s a special night when you get 5 blocks from your point guard and Andris shoots 83% from the line, he might have the ugliest free throw shot in the league. Congrats to the Warriors!

Kevin Martin
43 pts – 10 rb – 2 ast – 52% FG and 16 – 19 from the line

Kevin is a budding star in The League. He showed tonight that his combination of skill and speed makes him a very tough match-up for anyone.

Now let’s talk about the guys who have had solid seasons, but are going under the radar still:

Damien Wilkens
41 pts – 9 rb – 2 ast – 2 stl – 75% FG Shooting

Kevin Durant may get the publicity on Sports Center for his game winning three, but it was Damien that led them to a double overtime victory over the Hawks. Damien has been averaging 14.2 – 5.1 – 2.6. He’s a great energy guy and will continue to get plenty of opportunities to shine on this young Seattle team.

Marvin Williams
18 pts – 7 rb – 4 ast – 4 stl – 2 blk – 46% FG Shooting

I have already discussed Marvin on this blog, so I wont go into details. I just want to mention that he’s continuing to tap into that enormous talent that he has.

Finally, we’ll look at three young players that have tremendous upside, if given the opportunity. We’ll start with a Rookie who’s making the most of his opportunity.

Al Horford
7 pts – 14 rb – 2 ast – 1 stl – 5 blks

Horford is averaging 9.1 points and 10.4 rebounds to start his rookie year. That’s pretty nice! He was touted as the most NBA ready person in the draft and he’s proving that to be the case. I expect his scoring to increase as he becomes more familiar with the NBA game.

Sean Williams
9 pts – 3 rb – 3 blks in 18 mins

The last three games he has averaged 9.7 points, 6 rebounds and 3.6 blocks in 22 minutes per game. I know, those aren’t great numbers, BUT the Nets are desperate for the energy and defense that Sean can give them. Watch him closely, because if he continues to get more minutes, you could cash in on his potential before you think.

Amir Johnson
1 pt – 7 rb – 2 ast – 1 stl – 4 blk in 18 mins

There has been much talk in Detroit about Amir after he blew up in the D-League and even had some very nice games in the NBA the last few weeks of the season last year, and he showed us some of his potential tonight. He is super athletic and has a great motor. I would love it if the Pistons would give Maxiell and Amir more minutes, but as long as their winning with their veteran guys, they will only give them a few minutes when available. Amir will be Damn Good, but not for a while still.


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