Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Wednesday a big night for the big men
By Doug Clawson
Last season, for the first time in NBA history, there were no players who averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.
We have seen a resurgence of promising young big men, with four players averaging such numbers this season, all in the Western Conference. And that’s not including Blake Griffin, who is on the cusp.
All five are playing on Wednesday night. Here’s a number to know for each:
LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge will be facing the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden (8 PM ET, ESPN). Aldridge is averaging a career high 24.3 points and 11.6 rebounds per game this season.
Aldridge has made an NBA-high 272 mid-range jumpers (54 more than next player – Dirk Nowitzki) this season on 43 percent shooting.
Aldridge also is averaging 8.6 post-up points per game this season, third most in the league behind Al Jefferson and Zach Randolph.
Blake Griffin, Clippers
Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers host the Miami Heat (10:30 PM, ESPN). Griffin is just shy of averaging 20 and 10 this season, but right now, he is on pace to be the first player to average at least 18 points and eight rebounds per game in his first four seasons since Elton Brand from 2000 to 2003.
The Clippers are even relying on Griffin to handle the ball in transition with Chris Paul out. Griffin has 37 assists in transition this season, two shy of his total from last season.
Anthony Davis, Pelicans
Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans host the Atlanta Hawks. Davis is averaging more 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks this season. The last player to do that for a full season, at age 20 or younger, was Shaquille O'Neal in his rookie season (1992-93).
Kevin Love, Timberwolves
Kevin Love enters his matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder with an NBA-high 41 double-doubles this season. Love is averaging more 25 points and 13 rebounds per game for the year. On Tuesday, Love had his 25th game with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds, surpassing Kevin Garnett for the most in team history.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings host the Toronto Raptors. Cousins is averaging career highs in points and rebounds this season. He has the highest usage percentage (33 percent) in the league (a stat that is an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he is on the floor). On top of that, he's shooting a career-high 49 percent from the field.