The NBA regular season started back up this past Thursday after taking a brief one-week break for All-Star celebrations. In the meantime, STATCAT was busy at work crunching numbers and analyzing the most fascinating trends of the 2016-17 season so far. The following will focus primarily on overall statistical patterns across (AGE, PPG, APG, RPG and 3FG), while also taking a look at players’ salaries to provide a gauge for those who are out-performing their current contracts. The statistical trends for the first half of the season are right HERE, the trade deadline has passed and the final stretch of the NBA season is underway. ENJOY!
Assortment of Scoring
The NBA is all about offense. And, this season is no exception. The Top 50 scorers all averaged more than 17+ PPG. The leaderboard shows that there is a clear distinction that the league is being inundated by youthful scorers. Young talent will forever be coveted, and their importance to roster construction is undeniable due to rookie scale contracts.
There are only six players in the top 50 scoring category that are 21 or younger. Devin Booker the lone 20-year old and the youngest of the select group. The budding Phoenix Suns star is averaging 21.1 PPG. As for the 5 players who are age 21, the list includes: (a) Karl Anthony Towns, (b) Kristaps Porzingis, (c) Jabari Parker, (d) Andrew Wiggins, and (e) Zach LaVine. The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Milwaukee Bucks are benefitting from obtaining young superior talent, as they gear up to be title contenders in future years.
As for those player that seems to have a clear stranglehold on the fountain of youth, it remains LeBron James. The King has invested millions of dollars into maintaining his body so that he does not feel the effects of playing in six consecutive NBA Finals. His return on investment only becomes more apparent as he ages and his performance does not diminish. LeBron James is the only player in the top 15 scorer over the age of 28 years old. James (32 years) ranks #7 in scoring at a clip of 25.9 PPG.
Dominating from Downtown
The idea that shooting a three-pointer is statistical more advantageous than shooting mid-range shots is not new. In fact, it has been adopted by numerous teams and being effectively implemented – evidence: Houston Rockets. Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system facilitates hot-shooting and encourages those on the perimeter to ‘Let It Fly!’ There are 18 players in the league that average two and half or more 3FGM per game and four of them wear a Rockets uniform. If that wasn’t deadly enough, Houston added another marksmen to the lineup. Lou Williams (2.1 3FGM) will now play alongside James Harden (3.2 3FGM), Eric Gordon (3.5 3FGM), Ryan Anderson (2.8 3FGM), and Trevor Ariza (2.5 3FGM). It will be interesting to see how the ball is spread among so many scorers. Williams’ three point field goal attempts will almost certainly go up but who on the team will sacrificing those shots?
As for the complete list of the 18 players that were shooting above that clip, the graphic is attached below. Cleveland certainly made a move in the arms-race acquiring a three-point specialist in Kyle Korver. Now each defending Conference-title holder has two players providing accuracy from long-range. Cleveland has Kevin Love and Korver, while Golden State has Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Lending a Hand
When scoring and three-pointers are in abundance, one could expect that assist totals will follow suite. Superstars are distributing the ball at career highs. There is no denying that Russell Westbrook is having an absolutely monstrous statistical season (triple-double machine), but do not lose sight of the fact that he has been doing it by involving his teammates (Oladipo, Adams and now Gibson/McDermott). At the All-Star break, Westbrook was averaging 10.1 APG, which is good for third most in the NBA. The other superstars that join Westbrook at the top are James Harden, John Wall, Chris Paul and LeBron James.
Aside from the big-name superstars, there are a crop of solid floor generals who are showing off their play making abilities. Dennis Schroder ($2,708,582) and T.J. McConnell ($874,636) are leading their offenses, while earning salaries that are well below the league’s average.
Dennis Schroder has helped the Hawks with his 6.3 APG to a 32-24 record which is good for 5th in the East. And, McConnell has knocked down a couple of game-winners in addition to averaging 6.1 APG, which has helped the Sixers reach more than 20+ wins for the first time since 2013.
It Pays to Rebound
13 players average double figure rebounds. The leader of the bunch is Hassan Whiteside with 14.1 RPG.
Of those 13 rebounding leaders, the average salary is $ 16,892,794. That $17 M salary figure is also helped out by the fact that the rebounders are also prominent scorers.
12 of the 13 average 10+ PPG. And, 5 of the 13 average 20+ PPG.
Although the majority of rebounding stems from the Center position, there is a point guard that is toward the top and – you guessed it – his name is Russell Westbrook. The OKC superstar is putting up such impressive numbers, it was astounding to see some of the names who he is out-rebounding. The list is pictured below.