Mike Conley has made a case to be an All-Star by becoming more of a scorer.The NBA will announce its full All-Star Game rosters on Thursday, and a number of players have made a case to make their first appearance in the game. ESPN Stats & Information is taking a five-part look at these players.
5. The Veterans (Mike Conley, Arron Afflalo, Kyle Lowry)
In the midst of his seventh season, Mike Conley is having one of his best campaigns. He is averaging career highs in a handful of categories, including scoring, field goal percentage and player efficiency rating (PER).
Mike Conley This Season
Earlier this season, Memphis Grizzlies’ big man Marc Gasol was out of the lineup for nearly two months with an injured knee. In his absence, Conley became a more aggressive scorer.
Conley has a pair of 30-point games this season – he had only one such game in his first six seasons combined. He also has 14 20-point games this season, while registering 17 such games all of last season.
While Conley has been scoring, he has been efficient, too. He has a 20.8 player efficiency rating this season. Only Chris Paul and Stephen Curry have been more efficient in terms of PER among Western Conference point guards (minimum 30 starts).
At 28 years of age, Arron Afflalo is having a career year, averaging highs in player efficiency rating, points, rebounds and assists. He is one of the top 20 scorers in the league and one of the top 15 3-point shooters in terms of percentage.
Afflalo and Damian Lillard are the only NBA players averaging at least 20 points per game while shooting over 40 percent from 3-point range. If that holds up all season, Afflalo would be the first player in Orlando Magic franchise history to average those numbers.
Afflalo is achieving these career-bests while being asked to do more. He is averaging a career-high 24.0 usage percentage, six percentage points higher than his career average entering this season.
In his eighth NBA season, Kyle Lowry is averaging career highs in several categories, including points per game (16.4), assists per game (7.5) and effective field goal percentage (53.3).
Toronto Raptors with Kyle Lowry On/Off Court This Season
Lowry has been the Toronto Raptors’ best player this season, leading the team to a surprising 23-21 record, good enough for third in the Eastern Conference.
Lowry is averaging a career-high 36.3 minutes per game (13th in the NBA). He ranks seventh in the NBA in win shares (7.0), an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player, putting him in an All-Star class.