Today the Knicks got destroyed by the Spurs. The Spurs are still great, and the Knicks are missing Tyson Chandler, but this can’t say good things about the Knicks’ ability to stay near the top of the East.
On a night in which 13 games transpired, three players managed to rise above the rest as the stars of the evening: Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and Vitor Faverani of the Boston Celtics.
Davis, Faverani and Griffin may not be the first names to come to mind when it comes to elite statistical production, but each of those rising big men found a way to dominate on Day 4 of the 2013-14 NBA regular season. Here’s what they did and why you need to know about it.
Anthony Davis’ Big Night
Since the 2007-08 regular season, only five players have put together games with at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. Those players are Andrew Bynum, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard (six times), Zach Randolph and Amar’e Stoudemire.
On Friday, a new name was added to that list: Anthony Davis.
The No. 1 overall selection from the 2012 NBA draft dominated the Orlando Magic with 26 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots in 38 minutes of action. Davis became the 10th player since 2000 to achieve the feat while recording at least eight offensive rebounds.
It’s not a landscape-altering statistic, but it tells you just who the most dominant big men in the NBA have been. Cousins and Davis are the only two players on that list without at least one All-Star Game appearance, and that’s mainly due to the short lengths of their respective careers.
After a year in which the advanced statistics said he should’ve been the Rookie of the Year, Davis is back with a vengeance.
During the 2012-13 NBA regular season, Davis led all first-year players in rebounding, blocks, steals, Player Efficiency Rating, Estimated Wins Added and Value Added. Unfortunately, Davis also battled injuries and played for a team that didn’t generate nearly as much attention as Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers.
Davis appears to be picking up where he left off and elevating his game to a new level. For the first time in his young career, he has posted 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in back-to-back games.
The hype was warranted.
Entering the 2013-14 regular season, Clippers power forward Blake Griffin was commonly referred to as a player under extraordinary levels of pressure. L.A. has legitimate championship dreams, but until Griffin is able to develop into a more complete player, there will be an undeniable void at Staples Center.
Last night, Griffin responded to the critics by erupting with 20 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and two blocks on 8-of-8 shooting from the free throw line during the Clippers’ 110-101 win at the Sacramento Kings.
This marks the eighth time since the beginning of the 2010-11 regular season—Griffin’s rookie year—that a player has gone off for at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. The players to achieve that feat are Kevin Durant, Griffin, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Amar’e Stoudemire, Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook.
Of all of those superstars, Griffin is the only one who has done it twice. Criticize that.
Vitor Faverani for Rookie of the Year?
Vitor Faverani. Before I tell you what you need to know about him, get the Brazilian rookie’s name embedded in your mind, because he’s going to be a force worth recknoning with..
Now that it’s in there, try this: Faverani did something that no Celtics big man has done since 1996.
Faverani was absolutely brilliant on Friday, going off for 12 points, 18 rebounds, one assist, six blocks and one steal. For an organization that has long been built around superstar big men, that’s a stat line that Celtics fans are used to seeing.
Faverani is the first Celtics player since Dino Radja in 1996 to post at least 15 rebounds and five blocks in the same game. That 17-year layoff is surprising due to the historic nature of Boston’s interior players and the unwritten notion that a rim protector wearing Celtics green will one day end up in the Hall of Fame.
It’s only two games in, but Faverani is averaging 12.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks. He could be a Rookie of the Year dark horse.
- In 147 total games under Vinny Del Negro, Chris Paul posted at least 25 points and 10 assists in five outings. In three games under head coach Doc Rivers, CP3 has done it twice. Paul went off for 26 points and 10 assists just one night after his legendary 42, 15 and 6 performance.
- DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors scored 31 points during a loss to the Atlanta Hawks. DeRozan topped 30 in two of his final three games in 2012-13, as well.
- Kevin Durant scored 13 points in 27 minutes. That’s Durant’s lowest scoring total in a game in which he played at least 27 minutes since Dec. 19, 2009.
- Zaza Pachulia of the Milwaukee Bucks scored 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and 10-of-10 from the free throw line. It’s the first time he’s scored 20 since April 10, 2007.
- Tristan Thompson scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Cleveland Cavaliers. No. 1 overall draft choice Anthony Bennett was held scoreless in 13 minutes. It looks like Thompson doesn’t want to let go of his starting job.
- Gordon Hayward deserves his praise after putting up 18 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal during the Utah Jazz’s 87-84 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Maxwell Ogden is a regular contributor for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.
The Los Angeles Clippers won a franchise-record 56 games and had the NBA’s third best scoring differential last season. Then after taking a 2-0 lead on Memphis, they proceeded to lose four straight, making an unexpected and disappointing first-round exit.
Which begs the question – were last season’s Clippers the regular season contender or the postseason pretender?
The team did not rest on its regular-season laurels during the offseason, adding a coach with a championship ring in Doc Rivers, a new set of starting wings and – most importantly – re-signing Chris Paul for another five years. With J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley joining the roster, the Clippers added great shooters who should help space the floor for Blake Griffin and give Paul plenty of passing options when he breaks down defenses.
SH Blog: Kobe not planning on retiring after ’13-’14; Clippers really like Hollins; Iguodala opts out of last year of Denver contract
It’s a bad time to be a coach in the NBA. Six of the sixteen coaches whose teams made the playoffs just a couple months ago are no longer with their teams, and the future of a seventh is still in question. Is that really how it’s supposed to go? Jim Boylan in Milwaukee is one thing, the Bucks had a losing record and only made the playoffs because the rest of the East was miserable, but George Karl? Vinny Del Negro? Lionel Hollins? There are people who get paid a whole lot more money than I will ever make in my life who thought those three weren’t good enough coaches to keep on, despite leading their teams to top-five finishes in the brutal West, in two cases with rosters devoid of traditional superstars. Moreover, none of them have hired replacements yet. So maybe I’m just missing something. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Today’s blog has a ton of coaching carousel news, including some speculation on the fate of that potential seventh playoff coach who could be leaving town. Let’s get started.
- The rumors that Chris Paul and Dwight Howard want to play together have been out there for months (seriously, I think I had something about it here in like, March), but if Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine is to be believed, they’re more serious than we thought: “Chris Paul and Dwight Howard have been in consistent contact recently about the possibility of becoming teammates next season, according to league sources. Paul and Howard will be the biggest free agents on the market this summer, and their desire is to play together, the sources said. “They would love to play together if somebody can make it happen,” one of the sources said. The Atlanta Hawks could make it happen. Atlanta, which is Howard’s hometown, has the cap room to sign both players to maximum-salaried contracts. Howard is not particularly fond of the idea of returning to Atlanta, but he would do so to team up with Paul, the sources said.”
In the NBA, with 15 players collectively making somewhere north of $60 million in salary and being almost impossible to replace, it is no wonder that the coach and his assistants are the usual fall guys for poor performance. Few jobs carry so much responsibility with such little real authority.