NBA Star Power Index: Lakers still missing without LeBron James; Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard found the groove

Welcome back NBA Star Power Stats: A weekly review of the players who are controlling the most buzz around the league. Being on this list is not necessarily a good thing. It simply means that you are capturing the attention of the NBA world. This is also not a ranking. The players are listed in no particular order as it relates to the buzz they are generating. This column will run weekly during the regular season.

LeBron’s shot Isaiah Stewart in the face was listening ’round the NBA world on Sunday. It got him suspended for one match, he served in the Lakers’ loss to the Knicks on Tuesday. Here is the crime:

Proposal money easy punishment could be harsher. Back in 2015, JR Smith was suspended for two playoffs for a similar attack on Jae Crowder.

The Lakers are now just 4-7 without LeBron on the roster. Even with him, they barely stepped on water: 5-3 with three of them winning over the Pistons and Rockets (twice) and a negative point difference, each Glass Wipe. The Lakers have no horses to survive without LeBron, even in the short term.

Tatum had a horrible start to his season, but he turned the tide at the end of the season. In his last four games, he averaged 33.5 points on 50% shots. Boston has racked up three straight wins, though let’s keep this in perspective: Those wins went to the Lakers (in LeBron’s first game back from injury), the Rockets and the Thunder. Tatum has won 1 of 9 goals from 3 games against Houston, his most recent outing.

All of which means that, Tatum and the Celtics, 10-8 in the season and winning six of their last eight, are out of the woods; Worrying trends remain, such as Tatum’s insistence on isolation. Going into the game on Wednesday, Tatum is averaging 6.2 quarantine possessions per game, the third most in the league, but he’s only scoring 32 percent on those possessions with a scoring rate. effective under 40.

We know Tatum as a one-on-one player by nature. And he’s a great individual goalscorer, don’t make it confusing. When he feels himself, he borders the unidentifiable.

But when those scenes didn’t work out, it was so many, so much dribbling. Marcus Smart called up Tatum (and Jaylen Brown) because he basically wanted to play to their terms, not a willing passer (Tatum was the Celtics’ biggest threat but he just used that leverage to get the ball rolling. generates 3.5 assists per game). And now there’s this quote – albeit anonymously – from an Eastern Conference assistant coach in Tim Bontempts Recent Story on

“I do not think [Tatum] interested in winning right now, and if he does, that’s on his terms. He doesn’t want to score 15 and win. He wants to score 39 and win. “

Stay tuned in Boston.

Lillard’s ice-cold start to the season has been well documented. Like Tatum, he found his rhythm late. The Blazers have quietly won five of their last six games. Lillard scorched the Sixers with 39 points on Saturday. He’s 10 to his last 21 from 3 and has been heating up for a while.

There has been much talk of Lillard having to adjust to a different attacking approach under new coach Chauncey Billups, who has emphasized more ball movement and (slightly) less reliance on ants. ​Personal creation from Lillard and CJ McCollum. It does not go far in explaining Lillard’s initial difficulties; he still has full control of the offense and he gets the same amount of shots.

But it’s true, he’s not controlling the ball much. Pick and roll account for 40% of his shots this season, down from 46% last season, per Synergy.

Overall, Lillard’s usage dropped from 34.1 percent last season to 31.6 percent when playing Wednesday, according to CTG. Last season, Lillard averaged 6.14 seconds of holding the ball every time he touched it, according to This season, that number drops to 5.14. Lillard is also making fewer dribbles per touchdown this season, which adds up.

As a team, the Blazers averaged around 20 more passes per game than last season. That translates into six more points per game through assists. Their extra assists also increased by almost once per game – partly a reflection of the ball movement from behind by Lillard and McCollum.

Do these subtle changes make a difference to Portland as an overall offense? It depends on your point of view. The Blazers are scoring less than five points per game this season, per CTG, but offense is falling across the board. Compared to the league’s average yield, Portland is actually one point out of 100 on the field this year, according to

That may sound like a haircut, but like Portland’s defense, which statistically looks the same as last season (which sucks), here are strategic changes aimed at diversifying their post-season record. . Dallas is doing the same thing with Luka Doncic. Relying on one guy to play the hero every night has proven to be bare after the season. The Blazers are trying to get through that bit by bit, and Lillard is still finding her (slightly) new way.

Don’t look now, but Porzingis is best basketball player of his Mavericks career. He has scored at least 20 points in seven consecutive games, which is the longest streak of his career. During that time period, he averaged 26 points across 52.8/40.5/94.3 splits.

On Tuesday night, Porzingis hung 30 points and seven boards above the Clippers. He had huge buckets during overtime, all polite when attacking, moving downhill; one makes a smooth finish and hit, another does his own backhand after a nice cut, and a pull-up jumper.

There are some minor changes to Porzingis’ role. Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd will post him up and make him a little more offensive; he supports nearly 13% of Dallas’ money, by far a career-high percentage. Porzingis is still a perimeter-based player, but when he gets to the beat, which he is right now, he is a three-level threat. He scores on the attacking board. He goes around the perimeter looking for Doncic to release. He cuts here and there. You saw it all on Tuesday night.

This is a livelier, more youthful, energetic version of Porzingis. And he is enjoying himself, perhaps the most important factor. Porzingis, in an attack focused on Luka, was one of the players that was easy to spot when he was defeated.

“I just feel free to play my game,” Porzingis said after Dallas’ win over the Clippers. “My teammates are trusting me. My coaches are trusting me and I’m out there just having fun. If you’re not having fun it’s hard to play and give your best, but I feel It feels like this year we have that environment. We just play hard for each other and have fun outside.” NBA Star Power Index: Lakers still missing without LeBron James; Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard found the groove


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