Welcome back to another edition of the Triple Double Tuesday column. I took last Tuesday off to celebrate my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Not too much has changed in the NBA landscape since my last post. The Warriors are still undefeated and the Lakers and 76ers are still terrible. However, a few things have changed like the Nets have been playing .500 basketball since starting 0-7. Let’s not spoil all the news in the opener and get to the column.
Three Positive Plays
Steph Curry Is Breaking The NBA
Everyone is trying to compare Steph Curry to past greats and some of the greatest individual seasons in NBA history. However, it’s impossible. At least in my point of view. There has never been a Steph Curry before and there will probably never be another one. This doesn’t stop talking heads from trying to make comparisons and contractions amongst other players. His three point shooting in the modern NBA is out of this world. He has already made more three pointers only a quarter of the way into this season than most players will get in an entire year. He’s averaging 5 made three pointers a game, whereas no one in NBA history has ever averaged 4 made per game prior. There are many images and stat breakdowns being passed around twitter but the one that really grasps the greatness of Steph Curry this season is this one:
The Eastern Conference
I know it’s still early in the season but the jokes can stop about the Eastern Conference being a joke. The Eastern Conference so far is beating the Western Conference in the head to head match ups 57-55. Two seasons ago the West won 63% of the games against the East and I have not done the math for last year but based on an article by SB Nation, it was 45-19 at one point last season early on. This year, if the playoffs started today, the Western Conference would be the one sending two under .500 ball clubs to the post season whereas the Eastern Conference would have two teams over .500 watching from home. It’s still early and the Warriors and Spurs (39-4 combined) aren’t helping the Western Conference’s cause but it is refreshing to see the Eastern Conference making a push to be the better conference.
Miami Heat Are Leading The Eastern Conference
As I write this, the Miami Heat are leading the Eastern Conference with a record for 12-6. The league missed them last year with the injuries as they missed the playoffs (which benefit them in the long run). This year they are back! They are currently 6th in the league in point differential and have the league’s second best defense in terms of opponent’s points per game. So far, only Luol Deng has been bitten by the injury bug. Wade has only missed one game (illness) and Bosh, Whiteside and Dragic have played and started all 18 games. Even more impressive is how deep of a bench Erik Spoelstra is running this year. It appears he has learned his lessons in the past to not run his stars into the ground. The emergence of Whiteside has really helped propel the Heat into the supremacy of the Eastern Conference. Whiteside has more blocks himself than 6 NBA teams do collectively. The best news for the Heat though has been the return of Chris Bosh. The Heat have three players with over 20 PER ratings. Who needs Lebron for the Heat to have a big three? Looks like Whiteside stepped in nicely to complement Bosh and Wade.
Two Negative Plays
Talk about a mess of a franchise. This isn’t going to be a Kobe bashing. He played horribly for over a month, realized it and announced his retirement. This move essentially took out all the bad press on Kobe and removed the focus on how bad this team is. Instead, we are talking about the great career Kobe had, and rightfully so. However, this team is bad. Actually, beyond bad. They gave the 76ers their only win. Kobe taking 17 three point shots in a single game isn’t helping the development of the young guys. Byron Scott might be the worst coach in the league as he has decided to bench the two rookies (Randle and Russell) for god only knows why and there is no end in site for this season. The Lakers aren’t doing what they should be doing; developing talent, moving any valuable players for draft picks/prospects and building a roster the right way. Instead, they are letting Kobe so what he wants and everyone else get out of the way. The young players have been voicing their displeasure with everything that has gone on. Julius Randle has come out and said the line up are out of control. Jordan Clarkson has been quoted complaining about the lack of ball movement amongst the players. This season can’t end fast enough for the 2015-16 Lakers.
Kyle Singler Is The League’s Worst Player
I found this hilarious on Reddit today. Basically a Thunder fan had enough of Kyle Singer, who signed a 5 year- $25 million dollar contract (yes, it’s awesome to make the NBA, everyone gets paid!). He laid out some eye opening stats which have you wondering why the Thunder haven’t cut him yet. He’s played 193 minutes without an assist… only other person in that “Zero-Assist Club” is JaVale McGee whose played 45 minutes. Singler is shooting 23.5% / 20% / 50%. His league PER is -1.16 (I did not know you could have a negative PER). And lastly, he’s averaging 8.3 fouls in 48 minutes. I think you get the picture. Yet, these stats didn’t stop someone on Twitter from arguing with me. God bless Twitter.
Kristaps Porzingis is still taking the league by storm. This is what happens when you play in New York. Karl-Anthony Towns is probably still the front runner for Rookie of the Year at this point but boy is Porzingis fun to watch. He is receiving praise every city he attends, most recently with Dirk saying he’s most skilled than Dirk was at his age. Skys the limit kid but don’t let the bright lights fool you that Karl-Anthony is the real deal too, and humble. KAT recently said he underachieved so far early in his career.
Triple Double Watch
This is my favorite segment of this column because I love Triple Doubles. It’s been a couple of weeks but we only got to add four new triple doubles to the list. A couple same faces (Westbrook and Draymond ) and a new face in Marc Gasol. Our good friend, Rajon Rondo still leads the league with 4 triple doubles but Draymond Green and Russell Westbrook are close behind with 3 each.
Play of the Week
Jeff Green doesn’t always play great basketball but when he does the Grizzlies (or whichever team he is on) usually wins. A great game winner in the books for Green and the Grizzlies.