We are just about a quarter of the way through the NBA season so I thought it would be a good time to take a look at who has been naughty and who has been nice.
We were all looking forward to the return of Derrick Rose, unfortunately, he went down with another serious knee injury, knocking him out for the rest of the season. There were questions about how good Rose would be after his initial injury, if he would regain his explosiveness, etc. Those questions will now be intensified after a second knee surgery in as many years.
Another disappointment due to injury is Anthony Davis. The young center broke his left hand on December 1st against the New York Knicks. Before he went down injured, he was fantasy's top player so his absence is severely missed. Some reports indicate a return by Christmas could be on the books, others say a January return is more plausible. Either way, owners are chomping at the bit to have him back on their team. In the meantime, Al-Farouq Aminu and Jason Smith are posting solid numbers while he has been out.
Larry Sanders has only played in 3 games this season. After a monster year that earned him a huge contract extension, Sanders has been unable to get healthy this season. He is worth holding onto because his rebounds and blocks are very valuable, and his ability to score 10+ points per game makes him a double-double candidate every night. In the meantime, John Henson has been having a nice season in his place.
The "other" Lopez has been a pleasant surprise for the Trail Blazers this year. He is averaging 9.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as the starting center for the best team in the West.
Say that three times fast. Heck, say that once, really slowly, I dare you. The kid from Greece is on the verge of earning himself a spot in the starting lineup thanks to his recent performances. He broke out December 11th against San Antonio where he posted 15 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block and 2 steals. He followed that up with an 8 point, 9 rebound performance and in his most recent game, he had 13 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block. The 6'9 guard kind of reminds me of Nicolas Batum. Add him to your squad if he's available.
Martin is enjoying his best season in years, averaging 20.6 points, 2.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 2.2 3-pointer's made. He is shooting over 40% from beyond the arc and over 92% from the charity stripe.
Henson was a sleeper candidate coming into the season and I think he has exceeded expectations thus far. Thanks to Larry Sanders' injury, Henson has been given the chance to shine and he is taking advantage of it. Henson is averaging 12 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and is shooting 52.5% from the field.
Lance was another sleeper candidate coming into the season and he is also taking advantage of an injury to one of his teammates. Danny Granger has been hurt for what seems like an eternity, and Stephenson has stepped in and performed admirably. He already has two triple-double's on the season and was just 3 points shy of his third triple-double on November 29th. Lance is filling up the stat sheet this season and the Pacers are doing just fine without Granger.
Hey, look, it's another guy performing well in the absence of an injured teammate. Ever since Anthony Davis went down, Aminu has stepped up his game. Since Davis went down, Aminu has averaged 11 points, 10.3 rebounds (including a monster 21 rebound game against Dallas), 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks.
Unlike Aminu, Smith has actually been playing well all season. He is averaging 10.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Since the Davis injury, he has averaged 11 points, 9 boards and 1.3 blocks.
The Kings were so impressed with Isaiah, they felt comfortable trading away Greivis Vasquez and handing over the keys to the offense to Thomas full time. Thomas is having an outstanding season thus far, averaging 18.9 points, 5.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. He's also shooting 41.8% from 3-point land and 46.3% from the field. The acquisition of Rudy Gay has not hindered his scoring one bit, which is a very good sign for owners. Thomas is having a phenomenal month of December. In December, he is averaging 21.8 points, 6.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. Even his advanced stats are impressive with a 22.7 PER and 59.4% True Shooting Percentage, per Basketball Reference.
He started the season off and on. He would have a solid performance, followed by a dismal one, and was never an intriguing fantasy option because of that. However, he is finally posting consistent numbers. December has been very kind for Amir (except for Dec 1st), he has three double-double's already in December and there will be more to come.
The Manimal, where art thou O Manimal? I own Faried and he has been extremely frustrating this season. Nothing like the beast he was last season where you could count on him posting a double-double or at least something close to a double-double every night. So far this month, Faried only has one double-double and it was on December 1st.
What the hell happened to Smith? He has been terrible this season. He is shooting an atrocious 33.6% from the field and 34.2% from beyond the arc.
I guess old age is finally catching up to Pierce. He injured his hand which has caused him to miss 5 games so far. He has an abysmal 12.3 PER this season, well off his 20.4 career average. He's averaging just 11.9 points per game, again, well off his career average of 21.6.
Garnett is having an even worse season than Pierce. Just look at his game log. He only has 3 games this season with double digit points. His PER is 11.4, a far cry from his 23.0 career average. It's really sad looking at his stat lines knowing how dominant of a player he used to be.
Man, what a colossal waste of money this guy has been. He is averaging 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Wallace has 3 years and $30 million left on his contract. The past two years have been absolute nightmares for Wallace and there's no sign of it getting any better. If you thought Pierce and Garnett had terrible PER, Wallace's 8.5 PER is on another level. Last season, he finished with a 11.5 PER. The one they once called "Crash" has seen his career crash into 30 million pieces.
I was expecting a lot more from the rookie out of Kansas. Unfortunately, he is not living up to expectations and that could be my own fault for expecting so much from him in his rookie year. He has had a few games this season where he showed what he could potentially be, but the consistency is just not there.
He made his stance known once the Rockets acquired Dwight Howard. He wanted out. The Rockets had other plans. They wanted them to play together and form a lethal "twin towers" but Asik simply does not want to be there. His wish could soon come true as Yahoo! is reporting Asik expects to be traded before Friday. This season he is averaging just 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Who has been a surprise and who has been a disappointment in your eyes so far this season? Let us know in the comments.