Updated: November 15, 2012, 1:44 AM ET

Around The Association

Early-Season Disappointments

By John Hollinger
ESPN.com


At worst, this was supposed to be an offensive juggernaut. The Warriors seemed to have shooters galore with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and rookie Harrison Barnes. They had a versatile, mobile big man in David Lee and a post-up threat in Andrew Bogut. Maybe they weren't going to be Run TMC, but this figured to be one of the league's top 10 offenses, especially with the starting five on the court.

Right now they're 25th. And even that mark owes mostly to the brilliant play of reserve Carl Landry rather than anything the starters have done. Golden State's starting lineup has a collective offensive efficiency rating of 96.2, according to NBA.com's advanced stats tool. Bogut hasn't played much, but if we just look at the Curry-Thompson-Barnes-Lee quartet, it's even worse: a pathetic 93.7.

Individually, all five Golden State starters have underperformed. Bogut has played only 72 minutes. He's injured again, and nobody knows when he's coming back. But at least he has a PER above the league average, which is more than the other four can say.

Barnes has the excuse that he's a rookie. His single-digit PER and general invisibility in the early going shouldn't come as a huge shock.

But the three holdovers? These guys were supposed to be the heart of the offense. Thompson had a strong finish to last season but is shooting in the 30s on 2s, 73.7 percent from the line and doesn't contribute in enough other ways to make up for it. Like Thompson, Curry is shooting 37.5 percent from the floor and has struggled as a distributor. Between the two, they're averaging 7.2 assists and 5.7 turnovers, which won't get it done as a starting backcourt.

Read the rest of Hollinger's PER Diem at ESPN Insider Insider

At Crossroads, James, Paul Aided Each Other

By Brian Windhorst
ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES -- It was July 2010 and Chris Paul and LeBron James huddled together following a workout in Akron, Ohio, and discussed a career at the crossroads.

James' free-agent decision came that week, and that might've come up, too. But it wasn't the only important topic the two stars and longtime friends leaned on each other for during that time. Paul was also at a key moment in his career. James ultimately decided to transfer his talents to Miami. At times like those, Paul and James have come to rely on each other.

Midway through the 2009-10 season, as the fires raged around James' future, Paul suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee. When Dr. James Andrews did the surgery, he removed the meniscus from Paul's knee -- a danger point for any NBA player, because the procedure opens up the possibility of future knee problems and can lead to bone-on-bone contact.

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