1. Xavier Henry (LA Lakers) (Last Week: 3):
With every point guard on this Lakers team either out (Farmar Nash Blake etc.) or godawful (Kendall Marshall), it fell to Xavier and Nick Young to facilitate for the Lakers this week. Xavier went for 21, 13, 13, and 14 points on 19, 9, 12, and 8 shots, which is not bad at all. He's getting to the line at a prodigious rate, and while he should do better there considering how good his mid-range game is, he's hitting enough to be valuable. 8 steals spread over the four games means he's been decently involved defensively as well. We all know Xavier isn't a point guard, with 8 assists against 11 turnovers over the course of the week, but what do you really expect of the 5th PG on the roster? In-all X is getting minutes and making the most of them.
2. Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) (LW: 4):
A very good week for Markieff as well, but with his dominant performance to start the week rather than end it. Against Denver Markieff went 6-14, which doesn't sound particularly impressive, but was 2-3 from range, and 11-15 from the line. FIFTEEN FREE THROWS. His line ended at 25 pts, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals, and 2 assists. Two 9 point games rounded out the week, but on the strength of that start it's hard not to say Kieff was the better of the Twins this week.
3. Marcus Morris (Phoenix Suns) (LW: 5):
A great week for Marcus and the Suns as they went 3-0 and Marcus ended on a high note going 5-6 from three against Dallas on his way to 19 points on 9 total shots with 4 rebounds and 3 assists to boot in just 25 minutes.
4. Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) (LW: 2):
Not much to say about Mario this week as he was a solid contributor yet again in three Miami wins, providing his typical assists and steals that help jump-start the Heat offense, but was also able to draw some shooting fouls this week, taking 10 shots from the charity stripe in the first two games of the week.
5. Ben McLemore (Sacramento Kings) (LW: 7):
If you haven't seen McLemore's unfortunate demise served up by LeBron James then it is but a google search away, I will not have that grace these hallowed web-pages. Lost in the hype there was the fact that Ben had a great game against the Heat, going 8-13 and 4-7 from 3 for 20 points (what, you thought a rookie would get a call for Free Throws against Dwyane Wade?). He followed up that performance with a 3-3 (2-2 from deep) and a 1-2 from downtown performance. The latter two performances were limited in some degree by fouls as he ended the game with 4 in each. Ben is shooting 70% in his last 4 games, so perhaps we're seeing some shot selection click. 70% is unsustainable, but seeing a FG% get up above 41% or so by the midway point of the season would be a great goal for him.
6. Nick Collison (OKC Thunder) (LW: 6):
Five of his season's seven best games by GameScore have come in the last five the Thunder have played, games in which they have gone 4-1. No single game has been particularly statistically impressive, but a contributing Collison has been an important component for an OKC team that is residing at the top of the Western Conference.
7. Paul Pierce (Brooklyn Nets) (LW: 1):
Paul followed up his great end to last week with another virtuoso performance against the 76ers; In 44 minutes Paul went 7-9, 4-6 from 3 and 6-6 from the line for 24 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. They lost on a buzzer-beater and Pierce and the Nets crashed in the last two games in 17 point losses to the Pacers and Bulls. Pierce went 1-15 in those games with his only redemption coming in making all 4 of his foul shots. Ouch.
8. Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls) (LW: 12):
In his first game in almost 2 weeks (back injury) Kirk had a very solid outing in which he played within himself and facilitated a Chicago win in front of a national TV audience. Not a bad way to come back.
9. Darrell Arthur (Denver Nuggets) (LW: 8):
Same as it ever was for Darrell as his jack-of-all-trades nature manifested itself in fifty-odd minutes of run in three games this week. He'll want to improve his FG%, but when midrange is your go-to you're not exactly going to set the world on fire there...
10. Brandon Rush (Utah Jazz) (LW: 10):
A week to forget for Brandon as he was 0-6 from the field in 3 games... Not that he did any real harm to a Jazz team that should be a key player at the top of the lottery, but I'm sure he'd like to have his pre-injury form back.
11. Cole Aldrich (New York Knicks) (LW: 13):
Six minutes on Christmas in a blowout for the Thunder was all Cole saw this week, and they didn't mean anything. Fine Mike Woodson, you win. New York hates basketball again.
12. Thomas Robinson (Portland Trailblazers) (LW: 9):
No minutes this week for Thomas as Myers Leonard has been taking some of the bench minutes for the Blazers as he apparently hits some ridiculous percentage on 3-pointers in practice and the Blazers thought they'd try to add some spacing to the bench lineup. He has taken 1 shot in 15 minutes, so I don't know what's going to happen moving forward with that unit.
13. Tyshawn Taylor (Brooklyn Nets) (LW: 14):
After not receiving minutes for over a week, Ty had 3 scintillating Christmas Day minutes in a 17 point loss to the Bulls. Sidenote: Man, Brooklyn is terrible.
14. Jeff Withey (New Orleans Pelicans) (LW: 11):
The Jeff Withey for All-NBA 2014 campaign took a huge hit this week with no game time on the week, or as Walt Frazier would say: "The Big J ain't gettin' no play". I'm sure he's almost as disappointed as we are...