The long-hyped sophomore Point Guard monster for the Washington Wizards, John Wall, is finally coming into his own this season. Through the first 11 games of the season, he averaged 13 points on an atrocious 34% shooting. In the last 5 games, Wall is shooting 41% (only marginally better), but stuffing the stat sheet with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Except for the bad shooting, those stats are among the elite of basketball. If he keeps it up, and eventually gets his shot to fall, John Wall could be looking at his ascension into the conversation for best Point Guard sooner rather than later. The effects of the lockout seem to be wearing off finally for Wall and others who have had a historically slow start to their seasons.
On January 20th, Portland Trail Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge went off for 33 points, 23 boards and 5 assists, making it a candidate for performance of the year so far. Orlando Magic Dwight Howard may have something to say about that, especially in light of recent rumors saying that Los Angeles Lakers Andrew Bynum was the best Center in today’s NBA. The same night that Aldridge went off for what may have been the best game of his career; “Superman” Dwight Howard annihilated Bynum in a showdown in L.A. Howard posted 21 points and 23 boards of his own and held the injury-prone Bynum to just 10 points and 12 boards in a victory over Bynum’s Lakers. If Howard continues to travel around the league and routinely slaying opposing Centers, Howard will not only solidify himself as the best Center without debate, but he may play himself out of being traded. Therefore, it would be a double-edged sword for Howard. On the season, he is averaging 20 points and 16 boards with 2.3 blocks. Over the past two weeks, though, he has upped those numbers to 23 point and nearly 19 boards, which is simply uncanny. The only other player who compares in the post-lockout NBA is Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love. On the season, Love is putting up 24 points, 14 boards, 2 threes, but all on 41% shooting, which is extremely low for a big man. Over the past two weeks, Love is shooting even worse: 36%, meaning the effects of the lockout are still lingering for Love, who was pimped by Yahoo Sports incessantly at the beginning of the season for losing weight and staying healthy during the lockout.
Other top big men with absurd shooting problems include Amar’e Stoudemire (41%), Chicago Bulls Joakim Noah (42%), Dirk Nowitzki (45%), David West (45%), DeMarcus Cousins (44%), and ex Los Angeles Clippers Chris Kaman (44%). Owners of any of these players in fantasy basketball are probably pulling their hair out right now, especially those who drafted Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki or Amar’e Stoudemire in the 1st round of their drafts. In real life, neither player has really contributed many wins for their respective teams to go along with their low shooting percentages. The New York Knicks are just 5-12, good for 10th place overall in the Eastern Conference, which is not an enviable position for a team consisting of Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Similarly, the defending champs are also struggling. They at least have a winning record at 10-7, good for 7th place in the West. The story of the young season so far might be how under the radar the Philadelphia 76ers have flown. They are 11-5 and getting quiet contributions from their whole roster. John Wall’s Wizards team is easily the worst team in the league right now, sitting at 2-14. However, if Wall’s recent statistical uptick is any indication, the Wizards have no place to go but up.