In this week’s Bro Brief we tackle the standard NBA POTW awards and dish out something that should make you feel much better about your personal game.
Players of the week Jan 7th-14th
Taking home the POTW honors in the Eastern Conference is John Wall of the Washington Wizards. Wall led the Wiz to a 2-1 record during last week. Granted, it was not against the stiffest competition in the league with their wins coming over the Magic and Nets. However, he averaged an impressive 29p/4r/12a/2s over that time frame and also managed to shoot a smidge over 40% from three. Right now the Wizards sit 8.5 games out of reach of the first place Boston Celtics. They have played consistently this season and their win percentage of .581 is reflective of the ebbs and flows that they have seen while battling injuries. This week they were leapfrogged out of fourth place by the hottest team in the NBA, the Miami Heat. Many think that the Wizards are a top four team in the east so it will be interesting in the coming weeks to see if they can maintain their expected position in the rankings.
With the recent injury to superstar James Harden, many wondered how his team would fare in his absence. To silence the critics, Chris Paul has stepped up to the plate and last week led the Houston Rockets to three victories while averaging 28p/7r/8a/1s. He did this while shooting 90% from the charity stripe and almost 47% from the field. Though the Rockets have fallen out of pole position in the West, they still remain strong at 3.5 games back of the Golden State Warriors. Harden is expected to return this Thursday at home against the T’Wolves or Saturday against the Warriors. These will both be big games for the Rockets as the T’Wolves are three games back of Houston and riding a 5 game win streak.
Bizarrely sad video of the week
Injury update: Markelle Fultz’s shot is dead.
Question: If you were drafting teams at your local Y, which of the below guys would you pick up first? All I know is that as soon as my next rec league starts up, I’m jacking up shots with no inhibitions because, why not? All I need to do is hit the rim and I can qualify to be Markelle’s shooting coach.
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) January 14, 2018
Even the 76ers coach Brett Brown is struggling to believe his eyes.
“I’m old, & I’ve never experienced anything like this.” -Brett Brown on Markelle Fultz saga.
— Jon Johnson (@jonjohnsonwip) January 15, 2018
Teams on the rise:
Miami Heat: This is a team who doesn’t have anyone averaging over 17 points per game. However, they have 8 players averaging in double figures. They are on a 7 game win streak that includes victories over the Bucks, Raptors, and Pacers. They will be forced to finish the season without their second highest scorer Deon Waiters. Essentially, the Heat are the Hawks, but actually winning games. A guy who should be on the short list for 6th man of the year resides on this roster in Wayne Ellington, who is averaging 10p/3r/1a and shooting an eFG% of 58%. It will be interesting to see if there will be a “next man up” to keep this team hot, or if they will finally cool off as we near the All-Star break.
Minnesota Timberwolves: The arrival of Jimmy Butler this season has signaled the start to a new era in T’Wolve town. Similarly to the Heat, the Wolves are in fourth in their conference and have the star power to shake things up when it comes to playoff time. Young big man Karl Anthony-Towns is averaging a double-double at 20p/12r and is expanding his range and attempts, now putting up almost 4 three point attempts per game and converting on 41% of those shots. Andrew Wiggins is now playing third fiddle on this team and has seen his overall numbers slip all season. He has ended up being more of a one dimensional player than expected in a number one overall draft pick, but when he is your third option, that means you aren’t doing too bad.
-cover image from Getty Images’ Ethan Miller