11 things about 12 games
November, 1, 2012
By Henry Abbott
A dozen contests into the NBA's 1,230-game regular season, a few things worth noting:
- There does seem to be less flopping since the NBA's new rule, even though to my knowledge the rule has not yet resulted in any penalties. Did anybody else notice what looked like Chris Paul complaining to a referee about Tony Allen's exaggerating contact? Whatever the rules, Paul's mind never rests attempting to find wins for his team.
- Feeling pretty good about my Omer Asik for Most Improved Player pick so far. As for Rookie of the Year, I liked Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard but went with the wild card Andre Drummond for fun. Drummond has lost a lot of weight since college and looked great in preseason. One game in, though, the more conventional choices are eye-popping. Check out how the Lakers made their only runs of the second half when Lillard was benched. On Portland Roundball Society Danny Nowell says that Blazer rookie point guard Damian Lillard put up huge debut numbers against the Lakers "feasting on the carcass of Steve Blake that was pressed into action by what is being called a leg contusion to Steve Nash."
- Rough start for Austin Rivers. Eight misses and three turnovers to go with two assists ... Had he been merely steady, the Hornets could have kicked off the Anthony Davis era with a win over the Spurs. Also worth noting is that there were lots and lots of empty seats at that game.
- Detroit rookie Kyle Singler scored 10 points on five attempts without even shooting a free throw. Rocket Carlos Delfino has scored 15 points, but has taken only six shots -- all 3s. This is a performance that basically breaks good measures like true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage. As he has taken no free throws, in both measures he's shooting the same: 125 percent.
- Dwight Howard has already attempted 33 free throws. Half as many and he'd still lead the league.
- The early-season leader in rebounds per minute is Anderson Varejao, and it's not close. Related: The Cavaliers have the best offensive rebounding percentage.
- The lockout was hard on Joakim Noah -- he started last season looking all out of sync. This season is a different story. Maybe some of it was playing against the overmatched Kings, but in his first game: 23 points on 12 shots from the floor, 10 rebounds, five steals, three blocks, three assists. Every one of his free throw attempts is an emotional adventure. He seems so nervous; the ball's spin is so sideways, like the moon in orbit. It has long been a worry. But on Wednesday night he made 11 of 12. There are ways to torture the early-season leaderboards (tossing all those who have two of two and such) to make them show he is leading the league in free throw shooting. For reference, in their loss to Philly, the Nuggets attempted just 11 free throws as a team. Six Nuggets played more than a dozen minutes with zero attempts.
- The Bulls only attempted nine 3-pointers -- lowest of any team in any game so far. Attempting more 3s correlates somewhat with winning.
- In their win against the Mavericks, who were on the end of a back-to-back, the Jazz played at the league's highest pace and got to the line a ton.
- The Lakers made headlines with turnovers, but the Pacers, Rockets, Kings, Cavaliers, Nuggets and Clippers all have higher turnover percentages.
- The Spurs' went to a lot of trouble to prevent Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez from scoring even though he's a career 42 percent shooter. With open teammates, he pinged the ball around in such a way that he piled up 13 assists and leads most early-season assist categories.