I couldn't find the last couple reports on the front page, so if you want to look back at them here are the links:
And we're off!
1. Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) (Last Week: 3):
Kieff killed it this week. 23 points on 16 shots on Friday (12 rebounds, 2 assists), 16 on 12 Sunday (6 rebs, 2 ast, 1 stl), and 20 on 14 Wednesday (3 reb, 2 stl, 1 ast). Wednesday's performance was arguably the biggest of the three as it came against the team with The League's best record, the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers normally give up around 90 points per game, but gave up 124 to the Suns in a 24 point thrashing. Again the highlight package is light on Morris contributions, so I'd take a look at the highlights via the statsheet for this one (click the blue numbers). Also of note, Markieff's defense in this one was really really good. If he can continue to play like this there's no reason he shouldn't be able to make a run at 6th Man of the Year.
2. Nick Collison (OKC Thunder) (LW: 5):
Nick put up 2, 10, 3, and 6 point performances in 4 Thunder wins. He's sitting at 60% True Shooting on the year, and has the 6th highest Win Share total on the Thunder, despite playing the 8th most minutes... And those aren't even stats that describe the little things, like setting some of the best screens in the NBA and taking charges like it's his day job (I guess it sorta is...).
3. Paul Pierce (Brooklyn Nets) (LW: 1):
Don't look now, but the Nets are 8-1 in 2014. In three games this week PP put up 34 points on 29 shots while taking just 2 FTs. For his numbers to look impressive he'll likely have to get back to the line a bit more, but when he's providing 5 assists per game, the scoring doesn't matter quite so much. Especially when the win's are flowing in.
4. Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls) (LW: 6):
A sore right hammy caused Kirk to miss Wednesday's win against the Cavs, but this week was also home to what was probably Kirk's best performance of the season. Captain Kirk was 8-15 from the field, for 18 points with 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks in 28 minutes. Sadly the Bulls lost that game by 3 to the Wizards, but it certainly wasn't any fault of Hinrich's. Workmanlike performances in two more Bulls wins round out his week.
5. Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) (LW: 13):
Four games, and a 3-1 record for the Heat since Mario has been back in the lineup. There was no easing in to be done either as Chalmers has played 28-38 minutes in each game. He went 17 of 37 from the field and put up 44 points but struggled a bit with turnovers, with just a 20-11 ratio. Steals were still there, however, as Rio managed 7 swipes and even chipped in a couple blocks. His Game Score numbers look like he was never out at all, and with Mario back, Norris Cole should be able to go back to taking on second units, a system that has worked out pretty well over the past couple years...
6. Thomas Robinson (Portland Trailblazers) (LW: 4):
Thomas went 2-2 in 10 minutes against the Spurs in a Blazers win. He followed that up by going 4-5 in 17 minutes against Dallas in a blowout. The bench unit played for a loooong time that game without a distributor and looked just terrible, Thomas had 4 turnovers in that game, and two of them were related to entry passes so terrible it was a miracle the guards were in long enough to try it twice. Stotts pulled the entire bench as the lead went from nearly 30 to 15, but that's what happens when you don't put a single true point guard on the floor with young guys. The rest of the week was quiet, 3 points on 4 total shots in 24 minutes against the Rockets and Thunder, both losses.
7. Marcus Morris (Phoenix Suns) (LW: 2):
Marcus didn't fare as well as his brother this week, but still contributed 13, 10, and 5 point performances in about 20 minutes per game, and continues to contribute all over the stat-line.
8. Jeff Withey (New Orleans Pelicans) (LW: 9):
The Pelicans may have lost to the Sacramento Kings by, like, a billion this week, but they also received the most valuable gift of all:
Love The opportunity to see that their 4th string big is miles better than either their second or third string big. The Pellies were down 20 points by the start of the second quarter, which is when they brought in Jeffrey. They recovered to be down just 8 going into halftime, then came out of the half without Withey and were buried by the 4th quarter, when Withey was in again. The final loss was by 17. In 27 minutes Jeff was 5-6 from the field. 4-5 from the line, had 5 rebounds as he was instructed to box out rather than rebound (which reminded me a lot of Brook Lopez' role the past few seasons), oh, and 2 assists, 2 length-related steals, and 2 blocks, one of which was just awesome. Since Jeff Withey didn't go for 41 points like Rudy Gay in this game, they aren't in the game highlight package, but if you'd like to see anything that Jeff did, go to this site, and click on any blue numbers to see the video of the events. Withey played 14 mins in each of the two earlier games this week, with 4 'bounds, 3 blocks, and 5 points to show for it as he only attempted 3 shots.
Win Shares/48 update: .216 (Somewhere between Paul George and Anthony Davis)
9. Brandon Rush (Utah Jazz) (LW: 7):
B-Rush had a really good outing in a 21-point win against Detroit, going 3-3, and 2-2 from 3 for 8 points. Naturally that was followed by a 1-6 performance against Minnesota in a 26-point loss, then greatly reduced minutes in the next game again against the Timberwolves. When you, as a player, make your hay by the three and your coach is reactionary, that's the way these things play out.
10. Ben McLemore (Sacramento Kings) (LW: 8):
This could be an interesting time for BMac as both DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay went down with injuries last night. I haven't seen word on what their return timetables are, but if either is out for more than a few games, it will likely mean more touches for Ben, as last night he loosed 10 shots in their absence. In all honesty, I don't care so much about the shots taken as I do about Ben actually being involved in the offense for once. If you've watched the Kings this year then you know the ball just doesn't move around the perimeter. As exciting as it is for Ben to just camp on the wing and corner 3, knowing it won't come to him, and running the floor on the break knowing it won't be passed, I could use some change as an observer.
11. Cole Aldrich (New York Knicks) (LW: 11):
Eight minutes over two games! 1 point, 6 rebounds, and a block... That's like infinity rebounds per-48. The Knicks only have to go 39-1 to end the season to match their record from last year! Melo can opt out after this season! Excitement!
12. Darrell Arthur (Denver Nuggets) (LW: 10):
The strained left groin Darrell suffered last week has meant no time in this one. I'd imagine he'll be back sometime this coming week.
13. Xavier Henry (LA Lakers) (LW: 14):
The knee strain he suffered on the 29th of December lingers, but Xavier sounds like he'll be making his return sometime in this upcoming week barring any setbacks.
14ish. Tyshawn Taylor (FA) (LW: 12):
Tyshawn was traded to the Pelicans in order for Brooklyn to drop about 3 million dollars worth of luxury tax costs early in the week. He was subsequently released by the Pelicans on Wednesday, so it remains to be seen what will happen for Ty. There are some teams that could use backcourt depth, including Memphis, Washington, and the Knicks. I'll keep you posted on what happens next.