As of Friday morning, there were nine players in the NBA averaging 30 points or more per game, led by Luka Dončić at a shade over 36.
To illustrate how unusual it is to have those nine players on the north side of 30 per game, consider that in the last six seasons, only nine players total have averaged more than 30 points for a season.
Only one did it last year, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.
Now, you are correct. This is a tiny sample size. Most teams have played four or five games. But there’s a lot of scoring going on in the first two weeks of the season, led by Luka.
It’s an interesting trend.
Will it continue?
“It may,” said Brooklyn coach Steve Nash before the Mavericks beat his Nets in overtime Thursday. “I don’t know what the trends are early in the season.
“I do know the intensity in the first two weeks is always really high, so that could be some of it. Or whether it’s pace or force. Then in two or three weeks, it settles back into a mean. That could be a factor.”
Or, as Mavericks’ coach Jason Kidd said, maybe there are other factors.
The NBA changed rules to eliminate the “take” foul that teams previously utilized to stop an uncontested fast break. That may be bumping points up a little. But it’s also the shotmaking early in the season, at least on behalf of the Mavericks.
They shot 50 percent from 3-point range on Thursday and are at humming along at 41.2 percent for their four games (second best in the NBA). And Luka is not among the ringleaders of that shooting gallery, making only 26.3 percent so far.
Still, he’s leading the superstars in scoring.
“They’re good,” Kidd said of the elite players in the NBA. “Defense is good. Better offense. Stars are very talented and you can look at how the take foul is causing the teams to have to play defense in transition where you can’t set your defense, so you have the ability to get layups or wide-open threes and teams are taking advantage of that.”
The Mavericks are starting a stretch of five consecutive home games (and 10 of the next 12 at American Airlines Center). They hope Luka can continue his absurd scoring.
It may be a necessity if the early trend in the league continues.
What’s in a word: The Mavericks used accountability and communication as their code words last season.
We haven’t been privy to the words to live by this season, but Tim Hardaway Jr. enlightened us to one of them after the win at Brooklyn.
After the Mavericks had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, only to have Reggie Bullock’s 3-pointer be an inch or two too long, They took charge in the overtime and went ahead by nine points in the first two minutes, effectively ending the drama.
“We just realized who we wanted to attack and emphasized that one of our key words was “resilient” to start the season,” Hardaway said. “That’s just us being ballplayers at that point. Executing.”
Resiliency will be imperative because this team, while going a respectable 2-2 in their opening games with three of them on the road, is going to have to overcome some rough spots this season.
We’ll keep you updated on what the other word of the season is when it gets spilled.
Delegating the work: Dončić scored the first two points in Thursday’s overtime period, then assisted on the next nine – all 3-pointers (by Hardaway, Maxi Kleber and Bullock).
Kidd said that’s a tribute to “The trust factor that Luka has with his teammates.
“They’re getting wide-open looks. He has a lot of attention on him and he knows how to keep two or three on him at a time and being able to pass and trust that his guys are going to knock down shots.”
It worked like a charm against the Nets.
Share and comment