John Wooden noted, “don’t confuse activity with achievement.” But the summer of 2017 was some summer. Many free agents who were NBA starters and were in the playoffs left their teams. Those who stayed did so because the money advantage made sense. Everyone likes to talk about loyalty but loyalty is an empty word. You either want to win, or you want to get paid, or you are talented enough to ask for both and get it.
Steph Curry: His shot attempts are down and he isn’t draining 40% of his threes but he’s still Steph. Second highest scoring total of his career. Highest offensive rating of his career. He is draining 68% of his midrange shots.
Best Season: (2015-16) 30.1 points. 125 Offensive Rating.
2017-18: 25.4 points. 127 Offensive Rating. Grade: A
Blake Griffin: He is going solo without Chris Paul and is finding out how easy CP3 made it for everyone. Blake is taking the same amount of shot attempts he took with Chris feeding him. His field goal percentage has taken a little bit of a dip but his three ball has come up, evidenced by his game winner in Portland. His offensive rating is a career high 118.
Best Season: (2013-14) 24.1 points. 9.5 rebounds.
2017-18: 22.3 points. 8.3 rebounds. Grade: A-
Jrue Holiday: He gamed the system to grab $25 million per year from New Orleans, considering he’s never averaged 20 points a year, and has only been an All-Star once. He is doing Jrue Holiday things but his three ball has fallen way off. He and Lonzo Ball have something in common, 22%. His offensive rating is 7th best on the team.
Best Season: (2012-13) 17.7 points. 8.0 assists.
2017-18: 14.9 points. 6.5 assists. Grade: C+
Otto Porter: Porter was motivated after signing his monster deal ($104 million), and he is putting up career numbers. The most field goals made, the most field goals attempted, the highest field goal percentage, the most threes made, the most threes attempted, the highest three ball percentage, career high in rebounding, assists, steals and points. He has a sick offensive rating of 132 and it is the highest on the team. His defensive rating of 103 is the best on the team. His PER is 22.4 and is the highest on the team. He is shooting at least 50% from every spot on the floor.
Best Season: (2016-17) 51.6% field goals. 43.4% three pointers.
2017-18: 17.9 points. 57.1% field goals. 51.1% three pointers. 132 offensive rating. Grade: A
Kyle Lowry: Lowry is having a down year so far. The fewest shots taken in five years. Lowest field goal percentage since 2012-13. Lowest three ball in 8 years. He’s only averaging 12.9 points. He is shooting 28% from midrange, a career low.
Best Season: (2016-17) 22.4 points. 123 Offensive Rating.
2017-18: 12.9 points. 110 Offensive Rating. Grade: C
Dion Waiters: Waiters is struggling from three so far and his assists have plummeted. He is pretty consistent scoring, 15.9 points per game. In five out of six seasons, Waiters has never had an offensive rating over 100. The one year it was over 100, last year, it was 101. This year it is 94.
Best Season: (2016-17) 15.8 points. 39.5% three pointers.
2017-18: 15.9 points. 31.3% three pointers. Grade: B+
Kevin Durant: Mr. Consistency. 16.5 shots last year. 16.5 shots this year. 53% this year, 53% last year. Durant is dropping lots of three bombs, 46.4%. He is dishing the ball and rebounding and is blocking shots at a career rate, like he wants DPOY.
Best Season: (2013-14) 32.0 points. 123 Offensive Rating.
2017-18: 24.8 points. 119 Offensive Rating. Grade: A
They Got the Hell Out of Town
Derrick Rose: Rose was a huge bargain, $2 million and he seemed to be a big recipient of the Kyrie exile. He is shooting a career high 47% but, as is the DRose bio, he can’t throw a three ball in the hoop, 23.1%. He’s not rebounding the ball nor is he an assist maker. His 14.3 points is a career low, as is his offensive rating. His defensive is the worst on the team.
Best Season: (2010-11). 25.0 points. 7.7 assists.
2017-18: 14.3 points, 1.7 assists, 120 defensive rating. Grade: C-
Gordon Hayward: Hayward left the Jazz, as most expected he would, to reunite with college coach Brad Stevens and give the Celtics more depth. So much was expected until a season ending injury.
Best Season: (2016-17) 21.9 points. 39.8% three pointers.
2017-18: Grade Incomplete
Paul Millsap: He isn’t the three point efficient as he was three years ago, 29%. Millsap brings toughness though. This is the first year in seven years he isn’t averaging 7+ rebounds a game. In a non-Spurs like offensive system, his assists are down too. His scoring is a five year low.
Best Season: (2016-17) 18.1 points. 7.7 rebounds.
2017-18: 15.5 points, 6.3 rebounds. Grade: B+
Taj Gibson: Unheralded in the Jimmy Butler move, Gibson was the hidden piece with a lot of impact. Trusted by Thibodeau, he is playing a career high 29 minutes. He is shooting a career high 54%, rebounding a career high.
Best Season: (2013-14) 13.0 points. 100 Defensive Rating.
2017-18: 9.2 points, 110 Defensive Rating. Grade: B+
Jeff Teague: His shooting numbers are off but he is draining 39% of his threes. He is dropping 8 dimes though his rebounding is down which makes sense when you play with KAT and Taj Gibson. His scoring is down two points, to 13.5 points per game.
Best Season: (2013-14) 16.5 points. 6.7 assists.
2017-18: 13.5 points, 8.1 assists. Grade: A-
George Hill: This is the third year in Hill’s 10 year career that he is averaging less than 10 points a game. His assists are down, his rebounds are down, his shooting is anemic. The money ($58 million) hasn’t inspired Hill but then maybe it is the Sac town curse.
Best Season: (2016-17) 16.9 points. 40.3% three pointers.
2017-18: 7.8 points. 40.0% three pointers. Grade: C-
Rudy Gay: Who doesn’t want to escape Vlade? It didn’t matter that Rudy had an Achilles injury or that he may have to take less. Anything was better than Sacramento dysfunction. His minutes are way down but his shooting is not, 48% and 44% from three. He is averaging a near career low, 13. 5 points but has the highest offensive rating of his career and he’s actually playing some defense.
Best Season: (2007-08) 20.1 points. 46.1% field goals.
2017-18: 13.5 points, 48.7% field goals Grade: B+
Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway was relishing being the placeholder for Carmelo and refused to feel guilty for taking his $17 million salary. He is shooting the second lowest percentage of his career. Ditto the three ball, a career low. But he is good for 17 points a night and he rebounds some but plays zero defense.
Best Season: (2016-17) 14.5 points. 45.5% field goals.
2017-18: 17.4 points. 41.1% field goals. Grade: B
photo via llananba