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What we’ve learned about the NBA season so far

A look at the league 10 games into the season.

Milwaukee Bucks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Every NBA team has played at least 10 games. Let’s take a look around the league and see what we can see.

  • As of 11/14/18, both Charlotte and Brooklyn are in the playoffs in the East, and both Miami and DC are out. In the West, the Clippers and the Kings are in the playoffs, while Utah, New Orleans, the Lakers, Houston, and Minnesota are out. Raise your hand if you think this will stay the same throughout the rest of the season.
  • Only six teams in the Eastern Conference have a positive point differential. In the West, ten teams have a positive point differential. The Leastern Conference continues apace.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks are #1 in points per game (121.6 PPG), and the Golden State Warriors are #2 (120.7 PPG).
  • Cleveland is currently scoring more per game, 103.3 PPG, than Houston (102.8 PPG). I’m sure that’s entirely Carmelo Anthony’s fault.
  • The Washington Wizzle-Wazzles are giving up the most points to opposing teams, 118.5 per game. If Washington opponents were a team, they’d be the third highest scoring squad in the NBA, behind the Bucks and Dubs.
  • The Detroit Pistons are #1 in field goal attempts per game (94), but they’re also second to last in field goal percentage. (Siiiiiiigh.) Memphis is last in FGA at 81.8 per game. Grizzlies gonna Grizzly.
  • The Dubs are #1 in FG% (51.5%, holy shit). They are the ONLY team in the NBA to have a FG% above 50%.
  • The God Damn Sacramento Kings are 6th in FG%!
  • (Houston is last at 41.8%. This, too, is entirely Carmelo’s fault.)
  • Houston is also #1 in three point attempts per game (42.3 3PA), and the Bucks are #2 (40.5). ALL OTHER TEAMS IN THE NBA ARE SUB-40. The NBA: Where “Wait, what?!” happens.
  • Cleveland is LAST in 3PA per game at 23.3, nearly half of what Houston and Milwaukee are doing. San Antonio is 28th at 24.8 3PA per game, by the way. DeChozan and LMA are zigging while the entire rest of the NBA is zagging.
  • The Dubs are also #1 in 3PT% at 41.7%. ALL OTHER TEAMS IN THE NBA ARE SUB-40%. Do we think the Warriors are good or bad?
  • By the way, the Spurs (who are 28th in 3PA) are 4th in 3PT%. So...maybe take more of them? Or, nah?
  • The bottom two teams in 3PT% are the Pistons (sigh, again), and Oklahoma City’s dead last at 30.1%. I guess that’s what happens when you lose two of the best three-point shooters in the league in Kevin Durant and James Harden. But, y’know, like, years ago.
  • The Utah Jazz and the Philadelphia “We Traded for Jimmy Butler and Then Lost to Orlando” 76ers are #1 and 2, respectively, in free throw attempts per game. They’re the only two teams to average 29+ FTA.
  • Speaking of the Magic, they’re dead last in FTA at 17 (?!) per game, and second to last at 19.5 FTA per game is...the Boston Celtics (?!). They’re the only two teams averaging under 20 FTA per game.
  • The Portland Trail Blazers are #1 in free throw percentage at 85.9.
  • The Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, and Sacramento Kings are the only teams shooting less than 70% from the free throw line. If the Pacers and Clippers are serious about advancing in the playoffs, they need to improve their FT% big time.
  • The Blazers are also #1 in rebounds per game, which is surprising as hell. The Bucks are #2. They’re the only two teams to average 50+ RPG.
  • Meanwhile, the Grizzlies are last in RPG (38.3). They’re the only team to average under 40. Huh.
  • The Pistons and the Thunder are the two best offensive rebounding teams in the NBA.
  • The Bucks and the Blazers are the two best defensive rebounding teams in the NBA.
  • Chicago is the worst offensive rebounding team; and, Houston is the second worst defensive rebounding team, which is definitely all ‘Melo’s fault.
  • The Cavaliers, Rockets, and, but of course, Knicks are the bottom three in assists per game. They’re the only three teams that average under 20 APG. The Rockets are also second to last in total passes per game, which is ALSO absolutely all Anthony’s fault.
  • The Thunder are #1 in steals per game at 11.5; #2 is Memphis at 9.8. That’s a hell of a drop.
  • 15 teams in the NBA have a positive point differential. The 76ers are not one of those teams.
  • The team with the slowest pace this season so far is, but of course, Memphis at 96.31. They are the ONLY team with a pace below 97. Last season, there were 10 teams that ended the season with a pace below 97.
  • The Atlanta Hawks are #1 in pace this year at 107. The highest pace last year was 101.6 by the Pelicans (that would tie for 15th this season).
  • Houston has the third lowest pace. That has to be because of Carmelo, right? Since he’s in charge of the team?
  • Out of players who have played in at least 8 games, and average at least 25 minutes per game, these have the worst true shooting percentages: Avery Bradley, Eric Gordon (Carmelo’s fault), Justise Winslow, SloMo Kyle Anderson, Frank Ntilikina, Jaylen Brown (uh oh), Josh Okogie, Ricky Rubio, Cedi Osman, Patrick Beverley, Stanley Johnson (are he and Winslow the exact same person?), LaMarcus Aldridge (?), and...Gordon Hayward.
  • Again, of players who’ve played 8 games and average 25 MPG, these are the players with an Offensive Rating of 100 or less: Jaren Jackson, Jr., Trevor Ariza, Taurean Prince (?), StanJohn again, Collin Sexton, Kent Bazemore (?), Justin Holiday, SloMo Kyle, Harrison Barnes, Wendell Carter, Jr., Frank Ntili, and...Gordon Hayward!
  • 77 players have a positive Net Rating in the NBA. Kyrie Irving is NOT one of those 77 players. (He has a zero Net Rating.)
  • Danny Green is the only player whose percentage of points scored is above 80% from three. (So, only 20% of his points are NOT from beyond the arc.)
  • Brook Lopez is #4 on that list with 69.2% of his points coming from three. Brook Lopez is a 7-foot Center.
  • By the by, Robert Covington is #7 at 61.2% of his points coming from beyond the arc. Wait, doesn’t Philly need outside shooting? Hmm, maybe they should trade for Big Bob? He’s a damn good defender, too.
  • Ben Simmons and Thaddeus Young are the only non-Centers in the top 12 of percentage of points from non-threes. (Neither of them can shoot from outside, fer real.) “Non-three” is a stupid phrase, but that’s where we are in the New NBA.
  • Three players in the NBA have a 10+ plus/minus right now: Kevin Durant, the magnificent Kyle Lowry, and...Khris Middleton.
  • 52 players are averaging 5+ 3PA per game. Eric Gordon is dead last on that list in 3PT% at 23.1%. I blame Carmelo Anthony.
  • #1 on that list is Joe Harris at 53.4 3PT%; Josh Richardson is #6 (43.7 3PT%); BroLo, a goddamn Center, is #9 (41.9 3PT%); and, the much-maligned Andrew Wiggins is #10 (!!!!!) at 41.2 3PT%.
  • Kyle Kuzma and Trae Young are, along with Eric Gordon, shooting less than 30% from three.
  • 99 players are averaging 10+ FGA per game. Only three are averaging 20+: Kemba Walker, Zach “the Dentist” LaVine, and Victor MFing Oladipo.

Finally, out of players who’ve played in at least 8 games and average at least 25 MPG, there are ten who are shooting sub-40% from the field: Jeff Teague, Harrison Barnes, Mike Conley, Cedi Osman, Reggie Jackson (SIGH! LOUD, DRAWN-OUT SIGH!), Jaylen Brown, Dario Saric, Justise Winslow (remember when Danny Ainge, the GM of the Celtics, tried to trade four 1st round draft picks for Winslow?), Ricky Rubio, and...Eric Gordon, who is not Carmelo Anthony, but we’ll blame Melo for everything wrong in Houston, anyway.

By the way: Houston’s 6-7. These are the teams they’ve lost to: the Pelicans, the Clippers (twice), the Jazz, the Blazers, the Thunder, and the Spurs. They lost one game by 3 points (it was on the road and sans CP3), so they could easily be 7-6 and tied for the 8th seed in the West. For a team that prides itself on rationality and insightful analysis, the Rockets sure are skeptical of those numbers, and panicky AF. Three measly points separate the Rockets from the two teams in the West that actually do have 7-6 records. Those teams? The Spurs and the Lakers. Are they in crisis mode?

Maybe Carmelo’s making everyone freak out. He’s obviously to blame for everything else going wrong in Houston. Why not that, too?