Author’s Note: With the All-Star game approaching, I’m going to try and limit these posts to just the key details. The NBA Season is certainly a marathon, but the action should pick back up after the All-Star Break (when many say the true NBA season begins). Until the break I will continue to update the rankings and share a brief note about the player of the week and matchups to watch, and for any further interest/questions/discussion feel free to reach out to me on Twitter: @SChasenKU.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Paul Pierce
This week Paul Pierce was quite… well… “Xavier-ian.” If you don’t know what I mean, check out this post from earlier in the season. Pierce started off the week strong, scoring 25 points on nine shots, and committing just one turnover in his first game. Pierce did struggle a bit as the week went on, however, as he averaged just 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in his last two contests. Pierce finally managed to keep his turnovers down, which was gigantic. Pierce committed a grand total of ONE turnover in the last week (three games). For a guy averaging nearly 2.5 turnovers a game, this was quite an impressive feat. Pierce’s best two games came in wins, including one against the San Antonio Spurs. In those two wins Pierce shot 10-15 (66.7%) from the floor, 2-4 (50%) from three, and 15-15 (100%) from the free-throw line; that’s pure efficiency at its finest. It was nice to see Pierce finish strong as the first half of the season began to wrap up, and he’ll have another interesting matchup to watch later in the week (no spoilers… keep reading).
Overall… this was a fairly bland week for the Jayhawks in the NBA. One player, however, started to look like his usual self again: Ben McLemore (pictured above). McLemore, who will participate in the Slam Dunk Contest this year, averaged 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game, while only committing a total of three turnovers. McLemore may be starting to figure it all out in the league, so he will certainly be a player to watch moving forward. On the other end of things, Thomas Robinson struggled for minutes again, and he appeared to be frustrated with his diminished role on the Trail Blazers. It should be intriguing to see if he is dealt again, as he has already played for three different teams in his brief career. The Morrii had a bit of a down week, whereas Chalmers and Hinrich mounted solid performances, and obviously, Pierce seemed to put it all together. With nothing else to reflect on, it’s time to move on to the future…
What to Watch for: This week there are three games to watch, per the usual. The first game will be Tuesday, February 11, when the Miami Heat take on the Phoenix Suns. Markieff Morris; Marcus Morris, and Mario Chalmers will all be on display. The last time these two teams met, the Morris Twins combined for 25 points and 14 rebounds, while Chalmers sat out the game due to injury. One would have to imagine that all three guys will be looking to improve upon their numbers. The next game will be an interesting one, as the Sacramento Kings will take on the New York Knicks. As I mentioned above, Ben McLemore had a pretty decent week, and he’ll be looking to break back on to the list for the first time since week 8. With the Kings being one of the worst teams in the league, we may also be subject to an extended Cole Aldrich sighting, which should be enjoyable to watch. That game will be this Wednesday (February 12th). The last game to look out for will be Thursday (the 14th), as Paul Pierce and the Brooklyn Nets will go up against Kirk Hinrich and the Chicago Bulls, who are hovering around the .500 mark for the season. That will be a big game for both teams, who are trying to solidify their spot in the crowded Eastern Conference standings. Finally, I will leave all of you with a recap of the first fifteen weeks. As always, if you have any comments or questions please write them below or send them to me on twitter: @SChasenKU.