The playoffs are only just underway, but after a wild opening weekend, a few interesting statistics have emerged. With each team having played their first game of the postseason, what can be learned, or ignored, by the numbers from the eight exciting game ones?
For the first time since the 2007-2008 NBA postseason, NBA fans will get to see the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors face off in the playoffs. In that series, the Magic, led by Coach Stan Van Gundy and franchise player Dwight Howard, would beat the Raptors 4-1 in that series. The Magic dominated the Raptors in their previous matchup but the second-seeded team from the North could prove their might in the first round.
Yes, Dwyane Wade would love to finish his career in the playoffs, something Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan never got the chance to do. However, there’s another reason why Wade is eager to make the postseason; he wants the younger players to gain another playoff experience under their belt.
What a season for the 8th year pro out of USC and current Orlando Magic big man Nikola Vucevic. Don’t get me wrong, Nikola has been more than a solid player during his career which shows by his production with career averages of 15ppg along with 10rpg. But, in particular this season, right before he is set to become a free agent, he has taken his game up another level by posting career highs of 20ppg, 12rpg & 4apg. His hard work has not only been noticed by me because just this past week he was named to his first NBA All-Star Game being selected as a reserve. The hard work that Vooch has put into his game was recognized this season as he has had a very solid career thus far. He has even expanded his game like many big men have had to do in today’s NBA to able to stay on the court and is shooting a career-high 37% from the three-point line this season. By adding a new dimension to his already impressive offensive package, he becomes harder to defend and game plan for and also more attractive to teams looking to add him either via trade or this off-season thru free agency. Winning is the only thing missing right now from his resume, and getting his team to a playoff appearance is the next step for him at this point in his career.
The NBA trade deadline is just around the corner and the rumor machine is on fire. While most teams won’t make a deal, each will consider many options between now and the February 7th deadline. In a six-part series, I will provide one trade each NBA team should consider making between now and the trade deadline. The Southeast division is up next and here is a trade each team should make. Be sure to check out the previous parts on the Central Division and the Atlantic Division.
Back from the dead, the Houston Rockets have won 14 of their last 18 games and are currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference mainly because James Harden is playing like a mad man. During the winning streak, Harden is averaging 40.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 38.4 minutes per game while registering five 30 point triple-doubles. The Rockets have been killed by injuries recently and now rising star center Clint Capela is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury.
This week on player spotlight we are taking a closer look at another Clipper player who should be getting All-Star consideration this season Tobias Harris. The 26-year-old dual threat forward out of Tennessee is having a career season in his 8th season in the league.