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The Best of The NBA: Week Four (11/6-11/12)

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Recap

It feels like the new NBA season started just yesterday, but you look up and we’re already four weeks into the season. Time flies when you’re watching basketball played at the highest level, I guess. Week Four had some insane passes, crazy dunks, and a clutch game-winner by a rookie.

Welcome to the fourth edition of SQ’s Weekly NBA Recap.

Best Available Video


Okay, so on draft night, All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler was traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Minnesota Timberwolves. This meant he got to move to the land of 10,000 lakes, and kudos to him for doing outdoorsy things.

However, a visit from an ESPN reporter provided the viewing public with one of the funniest videos of the young NBA season. Butler thinks he’s home free when their canoe hits shore, but alas, he was unable to escape that last foot of water.

His scream is worth watching—-oh, I don’t know—-about 12 times in a row. Here’s hoping we get a Butler-centric show in the offseason about his experiences in the outdoors.

Best Poster Dunk


The Pistons are currently sporting a 10-3 record and sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference. Yes, you read that correctly. A reinvigorated Reggie Jackson is running a steady pick-and-roll with an improved Andre Drummond, and there are very talented players around those two (Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris).

I mentioned pick-and-rolls earlier. This one was run to absolute perfection + some extra flair. Jackson comes off the screen and drops a nasty, between-the-legs pass to the rolling Drummond. Drummond takes off from the dotted circle and vaporizes young Myles Turner with the hammer dunk.

Turner, after the demolition, just walks over to inbound the ball, which is strange. For any normal person, a poster of this magnitude would require some deep thinking about your life choices and how you ended up in this situation.

Scariest Alley-Oop


So the Bucks might’ve just done something with the Eric Bledsoe trade.

Bledsoe gets the ball on the break with one Spursian defender back (LaMarcus Aldridge). He makes Aldridge commit and then throws an impossibly high pass over his shoulder to a cutting Giannis Antetokounmpo, who breaks out his jetpack and is able to slam the oop home.

Once these two build some real chemistry, watch out Eastern Conference!

Best Open Court Dunks



Victor Oladipo vs Giannis in a season-long, in-game dunk contest, who’s in?

Oladipo seems to have found a home in Indy, and he’s always been known for athletic finishes like this one.

Meanwhile, Giannis is defying the laws of physics, per usual. Nothing the MVP frontrunner does is even all that surprising anymore, but remember to cherish his Stretch Armstrong dunks while we have them.

Biggest Emergency


Dirk Nowitzki, you had a good run. A top-10 scorer all time, MVP and Finals MVP, greatest European player ever, the accolades abound. Your 2011 Playoff run is one of the crazier stretches in recent history.

With all that said, please don’t ever switch on to LeBron James on the perimeter. Nothing good will happen. If you listen closely, you can hear Dirk screaming to coach Rick Carlisle to call 911. Bron effortlessly drives right around him and unleashes the jam.

Dirk spot-up threes and flamingo-legged fadeaways forever!!!! (Defense not so much)

Best Pass(es)




We’ll take these one-by-one:

1.) Shaun Livingston has Rookie of the Year frontrunner Ben Simmons reaching on the initial behind-the-back dribble before tossing a precision pass, also behind-the-back, to Klay Thompson for three from the corner. The Warriors are the greatest show on the hardwood.

2.) Nuggets’ advanced stats darling Nikola Jokic deciphers the quickly-approaching double team and decides to (without even catching the pass) tap the ball out to teammate Will Barton for the open three. Jokic is an other-worldly passer; add this to his rapidly expanding highlight reel.

3.) *same game as the Livingston pass* Stephen Curry is dribbling up the court and throws an absolute dime of an overhand pass to a cutting Draymond Green. Oh yeah, the pass traveling through the legs of a confused Ben Simmons. “Oh yeah” number two, Dray missed a wide-open dunk attempt. Still an outrageous pass, though.

Best Tweet


With Twitter doubling the character limit from 140 to 280, people were experimenting with longer messages. The official NBA ref twitter has jokes now, and this is an unexpected development. Give whoever runs that account a raise.

Best Game-Winner


De’Aaron Fox is a gamer. He knows the defensive scouting report on him is to sag off and watch out for his lightning-quick drives to the hoop. Instead of recklessly driving into the paint, he calmly dribbles into a 15-footer and drains the game-winner over the outstretched arm of Robert Covington.

Fox should get the lion’s share of the Kings’ point guard minutes to see how good the kid can be. If the early returns are indicative of the future, you’ve got a good one, Kings fans.

Line Of The Week

11/7 - Nikola Jokic - 41 points (career high), 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 16-of-25 shooting and 4-of-9 from three in only 31 minutes in a W vs the Brooklyn Nets*

*he outscored the entire Brooklyn starting five by himself

Honorable Mentions:

Paul George - 42 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists in a W vs the Clippers

James Harden - 26 points, 5 rebounds, 15 assists in a W vs the Pacers

Devin Booker - 35 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists in a W vs the Timberwolves

Kevin Love - 32 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists in a W vs the Bucks

Statistical Anomalies

After four weeks, we can look at stats and find some random things:

  • Andre Drummond (a career 39% free throw shooter) is shooting 63% at the line, which is better than Andrew Wiggins (62%), Jaylen Brown (61%), Andre Iguodala and Nick Young (both at 60%). He’s also only a hair behind reigning MVP Russell Westbrook at 65%.

  • Stephen Curry is shooting a career-low 38.8% from three this year, which ranks 120th in the NBA. Some weird names ahead of him include Nikola Vucevic, Serge Ibaka, Marquese Chriss, Yogi Ferrell, Marreese Speights, Bobby Portis, and Aaron Gordon.

Statistical Leaders Through Four Weeks

Points

1.) Giannis Antetokounmpo (31.7 ppg)

2.) Kristaps Porzingis (30.4 ppg)

3.) James Harden (30.2 ppg)

Rebounds

1.) Andre Drummond (15.7 rpg)

2.) DeAndre Jordan (14.1 rpg)

3.) DeMarcus Cousins (13.8 rpg)

Assists

1.) James Harden (10.2 apg)

2.) Russell Westbrook (9.8 apg)

3.) John Wall (9.7 apg)

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