As always, if there's anything you'd like to see in future weeks let me know in the comments, and if you have any questions about the guys' situations or performance put it in the comments and I'll let you know if I know. I apologize about there being no videos this week, I just didn't have time to do the searching and formatting for them this morning.
1. Marcus Morris (Phoenix Suns) (Last Week: 4):
Marcus had a great week, going for 13, 19, and 13 points in the Suns' three games on 65% shooting, including 50% from deep. Sadly it seemed as if only one of the twins is able to be incredibly efficient at a time, perhaps that's the next step in the development of the Morrii? The Suns took a couple very close losses on the week, losing by 2 to the Nets and 3 at the Kings, before being taken out by the Kings at home.
2. Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) (LW: 2):
Mario has played especially well lately, though he was ejected and suspended for a game after slamming a forearm to Dirk Nowitzki's face earlier this week... Since coming back from that suspension he has shot >55% from the field, >50% from 3, and had gaudy assist and steals numbers in relatively low minutes for a Heat team that has won 5 straight. Chalmers was 3rd in Steal% before the Wednesday night game where he swiped another two. He is also sitting at 10th in the league in 3pt%, shooting 51.4% from outside before hitting his only long-range attempt last night.
3. Ben McLemore (Sacramento Kings) (LW: 5):
Ben has struggled with consistency a bit this year, and while his form is still picturesque, there have been games where some of the results have not been nearly as pretty. Ben did have a solid game on Tuesday against the Suns in Sacramento, going for 19 points on 13 shots, including going 4-10 from 3 in a win. He has also yet to miss a free throw in the NBA regular season. Having watched quite a few Kings games, it seems to me that with the Cousins-centric offense, McLemore's touches have been at a premium, and often rather than set-shots, they've been terribly difficult turn around or contested looks... Short of instituting a more Spurs-esque "whip it around" offense, I don't know how they'll go about making that happen, especially when the league has already placed a "don't leave this guy" tag on Ben. He's going through that rookie adjustment period, and still showing flashes of knowing how to use his outstanding athleticism, I wouldn't worry about him too much. The Kings are 2-2 for the week.
4. Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls) (LW: 6):
The Bulls have won all three of their games this week while Kirk has contributed 12, 13, and 2 points on 11, 10, and 5 shots, respectively. He's had 19 assists in those three games against only 5 turnovers. Considering his role for this Bulls team, this is all he's really asked to do, score about a point per shot and facilitate the offense. As long as he's doing that and the Bulls are winning games with him playing between 26 and 40 minutes, I think all parties will be more than satisfied.
5. Paul Pierce (Brooklyn Nets) (LW: 3):
Pierce has had a rough go of things in Brooklyn so far, as have all the Nets who sit at 3-8 having gone 1-3 on the week. Paul played in 3 of those games, missing a 6-point loss against the Clippers. In those three he scored in the low-teens on miserable shooting percentages, with only his ability to get to the line allowing him to score in double-figures. With all of the Nets in a slump and Deron Williams having some injury issues, there has been a lot of pressure on the older players to be creative whereas most of them are at a place in their careers where they should likely be facilitated for. I'm willing to write the slump off as a bit of a problem with chemistry and a new coach for now, but if things keep up this way, the Nets may be in a lot of trouble...
6. Darrell Arthur (Denver Nuggets) (LW: 10):
Arthur has had minutes in the teens and shot exactly 3-5 from the field in the last three games, which is about perfect for a rotational bench piece in the Nuggets constant-rotation setup. I'll admit I haven't seen as much of the Nuggets as some of these other teams, but what I have seen is consistent with a team that lost a Hall of Fame Head Coach (George Karl), Executive of the Year (Masai Ujiri), and All-Star (Andre Iguodala) in a very short period of time. This looks to be a team that will struggle to make one of the last seeds in the Western Conference if they step it up. If Arthur can continue to punch the clock with consistent and efficient performances like these in the coming weeks he might see his role increase in the same way that the Grizzlies envisioned it increasing prior to the knee issues of the past couple years, remember that Darrell is still just 25, about where bigs traditionally figure things out and take strides in their game.
7. Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) (LW: 1):
Markieff had a week to forget after winning the Western Conference PotW last week... Kieff shot 1-13 on the week, and though he did contribute in other facets of the game, it's just impossible to be valuable to a team while shooting that poorly. Part of it seems related to shot selection, prior to this week, Markieff lived around the hoop, and this week he seemed to think his award made him into LaMarcus Aldridge and he settled for jumpers far too often. He still sits at 17 in the Win Shares per-48 leaderboard, but he has fallen off all others excepting the steal% leaderboard where he is currently at 11th. If he makes a concerted effort to get back to banging inside I can see Morris regaining a measure of his earlier success, but we'll see whether Rookie Coach Jeff Hornacek gets on him to do so.
8. Thomas Robinson (Portland Trailblazers) (LW: 8):
Thomas has been a consistently average bench player for the surging Blazers while showing flashes of his Kansas form more and more often. He shot ony 40% on the week, but was a steady presence overall on the week. In the couple games I was able to see I thought he did a decent job of being selectively aggressive, and was disappointed that some contact wasn't whistled in his driving moves, though it's debatable whether anything would come of Robinson taking more trips to the line, where he's hitting only 44.5%, this HAS to change sooner rather than later, there are only so many guys in the league who aren't a liability when they're shooting that way; Dwight, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin... and Thomas is not anywhere near that level at this point. What happened to the 70% TRob was able to shoot at KU in his Junior year? Perhaps it's related to comfort at the level, as Robinson shot similarly poorly in his Freshman and Sophomore years at Kansas...
9. Nick Collison (OKC Thunder) (LW: 7):
Nick had a bit of a disappointing week, going 1-5, 1-5, and 2-5 in three games... He was still garnering a decent number of minutes as the Thunder went 2-1, and as always, contributed his typical numbers throughout the stat sheet, but as I said before, it's difficult to be valuable with such poor shooting numbers, though only having a single turnover in three games makes it more bearable.
10. Tyshawn Taylor (Brooklyn Nets) (LW: 14):
Tyshawn moves off of the bottom spot this week after finally getting some minutes for the Nets. Ty was able to put together a 13 point performance in 15 minutes against the Clippers on Saturday while also adding on 4 assists and 3 steals, and he did it on just 6 shots having gone 6-8 at the free throw line. This is the sort of performance, mixed with what I've seen him do in the D-League and Summer League that makes me think that Ty will be able to contribute as a bench unit lead guard before long if given the opportunity... As always, the struggle will be to contain turnovers, as in that Clippers game he had three... The other two games in which he earned worthwhile minutes were very ho-hum, with Taylor not scoring, but contributing a smattering of assists, rebounds, and steals.
11. Xavier Henry (LA Lakers) (LW: 9):
Nothing exciting to report on the X front. The Lakers played two games on the week, going 1-1, winning a game against Detroit in which Xavier played 20 minutes but did very little. The major difference between his gangbusters early games and these seems to be mainly that he isn't getting to the line nearly so much in recent games as early, whether that's due to changes in officiating or teams gameplanning for his driving tendencies I'm not sure... It'll be interesting to see whether he can start getting back to the line, as it's really vital for getting into the flow of his game.
12. Jeff Withey (New Orleans Pelicans) (LW: 12):
Jeff didn't get much time in the Pelicans' two games this week, only playing against the 76ers for 6 minutes, where he contributed a rebound, an assist, and a block without shooting. Withey is still sporting a PER of 19, so that's some fun trivia (League average is 15).
13. Cole Aldrich (New York Knicks) (LW: 13):
Three minutes against the Hawks in a blowout is all the run Cole received this week, though he did shoot 1-2 and had two rebounds in those minutes. The Knicks are awful, losing all 4 games on the week. They now sit at 3-8 and are somehow still 3rd in the Atlantic Division...
14. Brandon Rush (Utah Jazz) (LW: 11):
Did Not Play-- Coach's Decision.