With the start of the new year, it's time to look back at the last two months of the NBA season. First we'll start off with Chris Bosh, who is having an impressive season so far. While he is averaging the fewest points, rebounds and assists he's had since his arrival in Miami, a large part of that is due to his 29.6 minutes per game, which is a career low. Bosh continues to be the main interior presence for the Heat, and is having arguably his most impressive shooting season of his career, shooting .534 from the field and .353 from behind the three point line. His improved play was on full display last Saturday against Portland, when he played a season high 39 minutes, scoring 37 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. He also made a game winning three to close out the game in Lebron's absence. Bosh has improved his game and is more efficient on the offensive end, which has helped the Heat tremendously due to their lack of interior depth.
Thaddeus Young has had arguably the next best season so far, but the play of the 76ers skews his stats. He is averaging a career high 17.6 points per game and is hauling in 6.9 rebounds per game. He has dramatically improved his three point shot this season, shooting .433 from beyond the arc, which is far better than his shooting averages over the last few years. Young has benefitted from playing with a passing minded point guard in Michael Carter-Williams, but many of his impressive performances have come in 76ers losses. Young has and will continue to be an above average player in the NBA (especially now that he's coming into his prime), but there's not much to take away from his performance so far this season.
Paul Millsap's arrival in Atlanta was great for Georgia Tech fans. He's thriving for the hometown Hawks on a team friendly deal, and allowed Derrick Favors to take over his starting role in Utah. With the added minutes, Favors has had an impressive season, scoring 13.3 points per game with 9 rebounds per game. While the improved averages are promising, the most important stats for Favors so far this season are his .521 shooting percentage and his 18.2 PER. He has improved his offensive efficiency while still playing solid defense for Utah, which is great news for the Jazz, who are hoping he'll be a building block for the future of their franchise.
While the last three pros have made improvements this year, Will Bynum and Jarrett Jack have managed to post nearly the same averages this year as they have for their entire careers. Bynum has actually played well given the situation he's in with the Pistons, and he's been an efficient scoring guard off the bench, but that sums up his entire career. The main difference between this year and recent years for the Pistons is the influx of talent they acquired over the offseason. If they can figure out a way to play together, they have the pieces to make the playoffs. Jack has also had an average year to date. After his impressive season last year, Jack joined the Cavaliers expecting to join a playoff team. After some internal problems with the team and Andrew Bynum happened, however, he's found himself in a less than favorable situation. They have the talent to turn things around in Cleveland, but some young players are going to have to step up.
After a down year with the Mavericks and Hawks, Anthony Morrow was an unknown for the Pelicans. He has shown a major improvement this year, however, and has shot .448 from beyond the arc. The Pelicans haven't asked much from Morrow this season, but he has come through for them when they've called on him. It'll be interesting to see if he can continue his impressive shooting and help keep the Pelicans in playoff contention.
Iman Shumpert was expected to have a breakout year for the Knicks, but has been a major flop this season. I can't blame him too much given how miserable the Knicks have been this season, but an improvement from him would have made a difference. At one point the Knicks were considering a Shumpert for Kenneth Faried trade, but the trade was eventually nixed. Shumpert's had a tough season, but he is still a promising player for the Knicks.
I'll be checking back shortly on the progression of everyone's season, but the next post will be a summary of the NFL season. Is there anyone who has surprised you so far this season with their play? Who do you think has been the most disappointing pro this season?