Tonight is the All-Star game in the NBA which seemed like a terrible idea when the league announced they’d go through with it and that is playing out as 2 players are being held out to contact tracing. Still, it’s a convenient time to provide some updates on all our favorite Dawgs balling out in the NBA.
PG Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs
2020-21 Stats: 32 games, 15.8 pts, 7.0 rbs, 5.4 ast, 45.6% FG, 32.4% 3pt, 81.2% FT
The Spurs have been one of the more surprising teams in the NBA as the current #7 seed in the West despite not having an all-star and Murray is a big reason why. He’s had 25+ points in 3 of his last 9 games including a ridiculous 27 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 8 steals effort in a win over Golden State. He’s 14th in the NBA in steals per 36 minutes and has gotten his 3-pt shooting numbers to an acceptable place for a point guard even if they’re still below average. At this point consistency is the last piece for him to be one of the best 2-way guards in the NBA.
SG Justin Holiday, Indiana Pacers
2020-21 Stats: 35 games, 11.7 pts, 4.0 rbs, 1.7 ast, 45.9% FG, 41.4% 3pt, 82.0% FT
It has been a rough recent stretch for Indiana who have fallen from 3rd in the Eastern standing when I gave my last update 5 weeks to currently out of the playoff picture. Still, Holiday has been one of the most reliable pieces for the Pacers as the prototypical 3 and D player. Every team needs a glue guy like Holiday to thrive and he continues to make it look ridiculous that he wasn’t drafted coming out of Washington.
SG Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic
2020-21 Stats: 35 games, 15.5 pts, 2.2 rbs, 1.9 ast, 41.0% FG, 34.4% 3pt, 90.0% FT
Ross continues to languish away as the 6th man for an Orlando team that has been done-in by injuries and for which trade rumors have been swirling around their best player (former Trojan Nikola Vucevic). He continues to do his thing though putting up pretty close to his career average shooting splits and being a reliable scorer from night to night. The 3-pt shot is normally closer to 37% but Orlando doesn’t exactly have the greatest spacing. Ross may never quite live up to where he got drafted but he’s a good NBA player who has had a long and productive career.
Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons
2020-21 Stats: 34 games, 5.4 pts, 5.8 rbs, 0.7 ast, 55.5% FG, 68.8% FT
Stewart has been exactly what I thought he could be in his rookie season in the NBA. He’s a solid backup center who can occasionally score if you post him up but is a load down low securing rebounds and blocking shots. Stewart ranks 17th in the NBA in blocks per 36 minutes and 21st in rebounds per 36 minutes. Who knows if he’d be as efficient with a larger role but the rate stats certainly hint at the possibility that he could be at least a league average starter if given the minutes right now.
SF Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers
2020-21 Stats: 33 games, 3.5 pts, 1.5 rbs, 1.4 stl, 36.8% FG, 26.2% 3pt, 57.1% FT
It’s been a perplexing season for Thybulle as his defense has been as good as ever but his offense is just horrendous at the moment. If Matisse could just find a way to average 34% from 3-pt range he’d be a clear NBA starter. As it is he’s more of a role player for Philly who is currently the #1 seed in the Eastern conference. Thybulle has had multiple steals in over 1/3rd of his games and is tied for 1st in the NBA with 2.8 steals per 36 minutes and is 25th in blocks per 36 minutes with 1.8. Unsurprisingly the next highest total in block per 36 for someone under 6’6 is 33% less at 1.2. Matisse will play in the league a long time because of his defense but it will continue to be a disappointment if he can’t get become even an average shooter.
SG Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves
2020-21 Stats: 22 games, 9.0 pts, 1.9 rbs, 1.0 ast, 41.8% FG, 34.7% 3pt, 83.8% FT
Playing time has opened up a little for Jaylen after starting SG Malik Beasley was suspended for a dozen games. Nowell has played at least 19 minutes in each of their past 5 games including a 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists effort against Washington. Still, the Timberwolves have been the worst team in the league so far this season and Nowell hasn’t been able to do much to change that as his numbers have dipped after a red hot start. Hopefully he can keep using the experience he’s getting right now to ensure himself a spot in a rotation whether in Minnesota or elsewhere.
SF Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves
2020-21 Stats: 30 games, 5.1 pts, 3.4 rbs, 1.0 ast, 38.3% FG, 33.7% 3pt, 52.2% FT
After a solid 20-game stretch where Jaden was averaging 20-25 minutes per game he had his playing time dip recently with 15 or fewer minutes in 3 of the last 4 before the break. That’s partly because he’s only made 1 of his last 12 3-pt attempts and so he needs to find his way out of the shooting slump to reassert minutes. The defense has translated though as McDaniels is 22nd in the NBA in blocks per 36 minutes.
PG Markelle Fultz, Orlando Magic
2020-21 Stats: 8 games, 12.9 pts, 3.1 rbs, 5.4 ast, 39.4% FG, 25.0% 3pt, 89.5% FT
It was brutal when Fultz tore his ACL a few weeks ago after having a very solid start to the season for Orlando. He only played 8 minutes in that game before the injury which throw off the per game averages displayed above a bit. On a per 36 minute basis he was on pace for 17 points and 7 assists. If there’s any good news it’s that Fultz signed a contract extension before the season started so he will continue to be well-compensated. But this looked like the year he was finally returning to form after a chaotic first few seasons in the league and it’s a shame it was cut short and he’s back to doing rehab. Good luck in your recovery Markelle!
PF Marquese Chriss, Golden State Warriors
Chriss broke his fibula in the second game of the year and is out for the season. We’re wishing him a swift recovery!