Hey y'all, it's time for another NBA update! It's been an eternity since our last edition thanks to a combination of an utterly incompetent computer (only a poor craftsman blames his tools, yeah yeah yeah) which has since been replaced, a bout of sickness, holidays, and exams. That said, NBAHAWKS CANNOT BE STOPPED, MERELY CONTAINED, ahem, so back to your regularly scheduled programming...
We have a lot to catch up on over the last two months, I'll be using the same format as last time and all delineations are at the discretion of the Supreme Leader of NBA Affairs, a.k.a. Yours Truly.
Let me know how frequent you all would like the updates to be moving forward! I'd like to get back to an every week or two posting schedule, but I am subject to the will of the people. As always, I'm open to any and all suggestions for future posts (more advanced stats, more .gifs, include more fan-art, be less weird, etc.), so go ahead and put your ideas in the comments! Let's get to it!
Markieff Morris (Suns)/Marcus Morris (Suns)- TWIN REPORT PART TWO- Because the twins are on the same squad I find it particularly difficult to place them into different tiers, so I'm just going with the ol' conjoined report for our favorite monozygotic twins. First up on this occasion will be Marcus. The older of the twins is having a season most remarkable for his marked improvement in 3-point accuracy. While no slouch last year having shot 38% from range, this season he has taken a similar number of shots while hitting a scorching 43.5%, and 46.5% since my last update... That'll play, and Jeff Hornacek has recognized it as he's started Marcus in 18 games this year after only starting him once in the entirety of last season. As for Markieff, he's playing an increased number of minutes at 30 per game, starting every one, and improved over last season in every per-game category while maintaining his shooting percentages, though he has gotten to the line at a slightly decreased rate compared to last year, likely due to his playing against starting Western Conference Power Forwards rather than their back-ups.
Ben McLemore (Kings)- Ben has continued his improvement as the season has progressed, he's now shooting 48.4% from the field and 40% from 3, which are about where they should be for a starting Shooting Guard in the NBA. He still has a tendency to disappear a bit in games where he's not being fed the ball, but that's a minor complaint as he's averaging 12.2 points per game. He could likely average 16 without any real difficulty as he's attempting less than 10 shots per game, which is good for 60th in the NBA among qualifying guards, sadly I can't break that apart into just SG's since traditional positions no longer exist on Basketball Reference, but you get the idea...
Andrew Wiggins (Wolves)- Wiggins. Is. Awesome. After an inane piece about how he would be "the next James Posey", AW has gone off for 20+ points in 7 of his last 8 games, and while the Wolves are still Godawful without Rubio and Pekovic, thereby becoming a top threat to gameplan for, he's managed to do it all with solid efficiency. Wiggins is a heck of a reason to tune in to a bad bad team. I'm especially excited to see how things go once he has a real PG to facilitate his scoring.
Paul Pierce (Wizards)- 50% from two and 38% from three will just about do it for any NBA small forward. His minutes have decreased over the past few years, but his per-100 possession stats have been pretty much static, which is quite the achievement in NBA season 17.
Technically It's Still Flying:
Mario Chalmers (Heat)- Mario's production has increased this season with everyone attempting to patch the gaping void left by the LeBron James departure, but his efficiency has taken a rather large hit. Rio is having his worst season from distance by a significant margin, shooting just under 30% from 3, where he had hit between 38.5%-41% of his attempts over the last three seasons... His 2pt% is within normal ranges, and if his 3pt% begins to return to normalcy then he should have a shot at a legitimately productive season, but it's difficult to do much to benefit your team when you're a non-factor with the 3-ball at PG.
Nick Collison (Thunder)- In his age-34 season things have been, well, sub-optimal for "The Collision", with all of the injuries early in the season he was forced into a role he just isn't suited for at this point, playing more assertively on offense in order to help get some hard-to-come-by points in KD/Russ' absence. As a result, his efficiency is way down from his career averages, and will likely normalize a bit moving forward as he gets to set crisp screens and roll to the hoop for easy buckets once his man overcommits to the superstar he screens for.
Cole Aldrich (Knicks)- The Knicks suuuuuuck, but the Cole Train is finally leaving the station! It's awesome. Just watch that glorious gangly form hook some gnarly shots over NBA titans. It'll make your night, I guarantee it.
Drew Gooden (Wizards)- Welp, Gooden is back to being bench-fodder for the Wiz as they sit firmly entrenched in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Honestly, it's hard to argue that there's anything wrong with that line of thinking as the team is humming along and Drew is no spring chicken. Will Gooden end up showing up at the end of the season and in the playoffs as he did last year or simply fade into a true retirement? Only time will tell...
Darrell Arthur (Nuggets)- Shady has been middling with his play recently, when he gets an opportunity, which is about half of the time over the past 15 games or so, he has been decently productive, but nothing to write home about. Earlier in the season he was solid when given consistent time though, so it will be interesting to see how his contributions change as role does as well.
Kirk Hinrich (Bulls)- I think I should just not even attempt to analyze Kirk. He'll get minutes forever in Thibs' system and will vary wildly in his performance, moving from above-average to goat just about every other game. That said, the Bulls win a lot and Hinrich plays a lot, so that must say *something* about the man.
I'd Rather Walk:
Thomas Robinson (Blazers)- Everything I've seen written this season has implied that Robinson really really likes being in Portland, and that the fans there love him as well, but he just gets almost nothing as far as run goes. I understand that the Blazers are one of the best teams in the NBA, and that doesn't leave much time for teething, but when a young guy with a pedigree goes for 15 points and 16 rebounds in his first NBA start, maybe don't steadily decrease his playing time until he gets a DNP-Coach's Decision 6 games later. He's certainly hot and cold and a liability at the free throw line, but the kid deserves some chances, and I hope that he gets a fair shake wherever he ends up in free agency at the end of the season.
Tarik Black (Lakers)- I don't know what there is to be said about Tarik Black, he's now a Laker after being essentially straight swapped on the waiver wire for Josh Smith, yes, THAT Josh Smith... He has been the consummate professional and a class act with the media in his new environment and is beginning to see some time on the court. This guy seems like he's an 8 year veteran as a rookie, I'm very glad to be able to say he was a Jayhawk.
Haven't Left the Nest:
Jeff Withey (Pelicans)- #FreeWithey Forever. He's legitimately a decent bench big, probably deserving of the 3rd big man spot on the Pellies, but we'll see if that ever actually happens... Don't hold your breath.
Brandon Rush (Warriors)- Brandon has been seeing end-of-the-bench minutes and you can't read anything into hitting or missing a single shot, so this is essentially an Incomplete grade.
Xavier Henry (FA)- Xavier was cut by the Lakers as he is rehabbing from yet another injury. They have been very classy about the whole thing as well, allowing him to continue to use their facilities as he recovers.
Joel Embiid (76ers)- I miss you so much Joel. Just come back and play basketball in this Basketball-God-forsaken hellhole. I need a ray of sunshine, and it just so happens that you're the whole sun... (Don't make this weird Jojo)
Those, my friends, are the 16 Jayhawks in The Association (pours one out for Xavier, This and This (Note: play the first on repeat without sound as you play the second until you have a good cry)). Tune in next time to see whether Walt will be able to convince his family that it was all a malignant psychological state and that nothing's going on at all!