Sprung: All-Breakout Team led by L.Stephenson, A.Afflalo, I.Thomas

time flies'Where the hell has the time gone? It certainly flies as the days get shorter and darkness descends in the late afternoon.

We’re already through the first quarter of the NBA season and almost at Christmas. The league has seen plenty of pleasant surprises, like the consistently stellar Portland Trail Blazers, and many disappointments, like the entire Eastern Conference besides Indiana and Miami.

There have also been a whole host of players who have really progressed in a positive direction over the opening 20 games or so.

Through a thorough and rigorous voting process, we here at Sheridan Hoops have come up with a group of 10 players who make up the All Breakout team for the first quarter, starting with one mighty mite of a Sacramento King:

First Team

Sacramento KingsIsaiah Thomas, PG, Sacramento

With Greivis Vasquez now in Toronto after the Rudy Gay trade, Thomas has been handed the reigns to this Kings offense. Averaging over 23 points and nearly eight assists per game over his last six games (he scored 29 Friday night in a loss to Phoenix), Thomas has proven that he can be a more than capable starting point guard despite his size. And he has the numbers to back that up.

Thomas

Number

League Rank

Assist Percentage

34.6

9

Player Efficiency Rating

23.7

10

Usage Percentage

28

11

Free Throw %

87.4

12

Free Throws Made

101

17

Offensive Win Shares

2

17

True Shooting %

59.9

20

Win Shares/48 Minutes

.185

20

His extremely high assist percentage will bode well for Thomas’ continued growth playing alongside two ball stoppers in Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. But Thomas plays efficiently with the ball in his hands and is aggressive in getting to the line. I can’t wait to see how he improves with expanded playing time and more talented teammates.

Indiana PacersLance Stephenson, SG, Indiana

Stephenson continues to mature and improve as a players, and is only growing from his postseason last year, which really garnered him mainstream notice for the first time at the pro level. He’s improving at both ends for an Indiana team that thrives on stout defensive play and even has a pair of triple-doubles to his credit this season. He’s putting up career-best numbers in nearly every major statistical category for the NBA-leading Pacers.

Lance Stephenson

Number

Minutes

34.5

Field Goal %

46.5

3-Point FG %

35.4

Points

12.1

Rebounds

6.2

Assists

4.9

PER

13.2

True Shooting %

53.2

Effective Field Goal %

51.5

Defensive Rating

98

Win Shares Per 48 Minutes

.124

Stephenson is a rare breed of versatile guard. He rebounds like a forward, distributes like a lower-tier point guard, yet defends really well and has become a more efficient shooter. Stephenson and Paul George are only improving and coming into their own as players, which is very scary for other teams. A big factor moving forward is how the return of Danny Granger will impact his minutes and his numbers.

He should he back and have a game under his belt by the time Wednesday’s mega-tilt between the Pacers and Heat tips off in Miami.

Arron Afflalo, SF, Orlando

Finally charged with being the primary scorer on a team, Afflalo has been more than up to the task. He’s taking 16 shots per game for the rebuilding Magic and is averaging 21.6 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting and a dazzling 43 percent from 3-point range. He’s also averaging career highs in rebounds and assists and has the best PER and offensive rating of his career. See how Afflalo stacks up to the rest of the league:

Afflalo

Number

League Rank

Minutes Played

828

6

Made 3-Pointers

49

7

Minutes Per Game

37.6

9

Total Points

475

10

Points Per Game

21.6

11

Offensive Win Shares

2.2

11

Field Goals

165

12

Free Throw %

86.5

14

Made Free Throws

96

19

Win Shares

2.6

20

Those are really impressive numbers from someone who was always viewed as more of a secondary, complementary player. With Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic and another impact player likely coming in next year’s draft, the Orlando Magic have a lot to be excited about in their post-Dwight Howard future.

Terrence Jones, PF, Houston

Sometimes you have to receive good fortune in order to receive a proper opportunity, and that’s exactly what happened to Jones. When the Rockets signed Howard over the offseason, there was a chance that Howard and Omer Asik would not be able to co-exist on the frontline. When Asik’s playing time diminished, Asik ultimately asked for a trade on multiple occasions and will likely be granted one soon, Jones found himself in the position to take Asik’s minutes.

Jones has not looked back and has dramatically better numbers than last season, confirming the team’s belief in him when he could have gone the way of Houston bigs like Jordan Hill and Thomas Robinson, who were ultimately let go.

Terrence Jones

Min

FG %

3 FG %

Points

Reb

Blk

PER

O RTG

D RTG

WS/48

2012-2013

14.5

45.7

26.3

5.5

3.4

1

17.1

108

102

.128

2013-2014

23.9

51

40.6

10.2

6.9

1.5

18.9

116

101

.174

Just take a look at how much better Jones’ numbers are now compared to last season. In just under 10 more minutes per game, Jones’ shooting numbers have skyrocketed, his rebounding has improved and his offensive efficiency has spiked without losing much at all on the defensive end. And as the Rockets continue to run a fast-paced offense and win games, it seems like Jones will be able to flourish with his newfound minutes increase.

Phoenix SunsMarkieff Morris, PF, Phoenix

The Suns are in full rebuild mode here, and Morris is taking full advantage of new head coach Jeff Hornacek’s search for players to fill important roles.

Morris is now the team’s bench sparkplug, and his play has gotten notice around the league.

Morris

Min

FG %

3 FG %

Points

Reb

Ast

PER

O RTG

D RTG

WS/48

2012-2013

22.4

40.7

33.6

8.2

4.8

1.3

12.6

96

106

.044

2013-2014

26.2

50.5

35.3

13

6.3

1.8

19.3

112

105

.152

In just a few more minutes played each game, his field goal percentage has gone up nearly 10 percent and his offensive rating jumped by 16 points. He’s gone from a scrub to an above average NBA player in just one year. Who knows what else he can do if given the opportunity?

The All-Breakout Second Team is after the jump.

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Comments

  1. says

    Rome,I’m not a Kobe hater. I’m simply not a Kobe jcriokder. To say he’s the best in the league is true. but to ignore the weakness of the league and place him on levels with guys who played against superior talent throughout their careers just isn’t intelligent.I can probably name 100 guys that Magic, Jordan, Nique and bird played against who never made an all-star team but are better than all the guys the lakers play against.Gerald Wilkins would get 40 on this Lakers squad. Craig Ehlo would rain treys . Doc Rivers was a 15/8/8 guy and he would destroy this Laker team. Yet them older squads spanked all these folks when they were supposed to. This Laker squad? They lose then make excuses.And that’s the difference between really good (kobe) and great (other squads).i don’t call insulting guys and demanding trades carrying a team . Jordan had crazy flaws but he laced em and made his guys prove they sucked before he started demanding heads on platters.Kobe’s leadership is just suspect.

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