The Cavs Go for Two in a Row

Welcome back NBA fans! It is time for the player report card for the first third point of the season using my proprietary grading system. The following list is the ranking of the top 25 players for the first third of the season.

  1. James Harden – +25.82
  2. Russell Westbrook – +24.71
  3. Chris Paul – +24.14
  4. LeBron James – +22.57
  5. Draymond Green – +21.74
  6. Kevin Durant – +21.54
  7. Giannis Antetokounmpo- +21.08
  8. John Wall – +20,.20
  9. Anthony Davis – +19.78
  10. Jimmy Butler – +19.19
  11. Jeff Teague – +16.66
  12. Kyle Lowry – +16.30
  13. Blake Griffin – +16.15
  14. Kawhi Leonard – +15.92
  15. Damian Lillard – +15.66
  16. Rudy Gobert- +14.83
  17. Stephen Curry – +14.97
  18. Ricky Rubio – +14.59
  19. DeMar DeRozan – +14.59
  20. Kevin Love – +14.33
  21. Rajon Rondo – +14.30
  22. Hassan Whiteside – +14.21
  23. Tim Frazier – +13.96
  24. Mike Conley – +13.89
  25. Paul Millsap – +13.84


I am sure there will be people that think how can James Harden be grading higher than Russell Westbrook with Westbrook having all those triple doubles. Both of these players play a style of basketball that I am a big proponent of and that is take the ball to the basket and score when the clock is stopped. Harden just does it a little better because he makes fewer turnovers and makes more free throws. Both of these players are pretty much doing it all on their own for their respective teams. It will be interesting to see how well they hold up over the course of the season. Last night Harden became the first NBA player to have a triple double of a minimum of 50 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists. He also tied Wilt Chamberlain’s record for most points scored by a NBA player with a triple double by scoring 53 points. Once again the late great Wilt Chamberlain is still mentioned in the record books. This record of Wilt’s is about 50 years old so Harden had a magnificent game. Any time your name is alongside Wilt’s in the record books you can be sure that it was a once in a lifetime performance.

There are some new additions to this list from the end of season ranking I listed in my previous blog. The two most interesting names on my list are Jeff Teague and Tim Frazier. Jeff Teague appears to really like playing at Indiana as he is playing at a higher level this year so far. Tim Frazier is taking advantage of his playing time due to Jrue Halliday’s injury and showing that he is a very capable point guard in the league. DeMar DeRozan is also a new addition and he is playing very well so far this year. He and Kyle Lowry have some people talking about the Raptors being a title contender. Another notable addition to the list is Rudy Gobert. The big Frenchman has the Jazz playing very good basketball. A couple of notable players dropping out of the rankings are Pau Gasol and Greg Monroe. Pau Gasol signed with the Spurs and has a lesser role with the Spurs than he had with the bulls and his numbers are reflecting that. Greg Monroe is player that made the list for the first third of last season. He looked like he would be a significant contributor for the Milwaukee Bucks but for some reason Jason Kidd has him sitting on the bench. I question that move by Kidd. Monroe should get more playing time. As long as I am talking about the Bucks I recall discussing Giannis Antetokounmpo in my end of season blog last spring and he is improving his game in a big way. He looks like the next big superstar in the NBA!

At the third point of the season it is becoming clear that the following teams are the only real contenders for the NBA title this year: Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Toronto Raptors. I believe Cleveland will repeat as champions. LeBron James is still the best player in the game and now that Kevin Love is fully integrated into the Cavs offense along with Kyrie Irving playing at a high level I don’t believe that they can be beat. At the minimum it looks like a 7th Finals appearance for LeBron will happen this summer. I am not discounting Golden State but I don’t think they will be able to get it done against Cleveland at least this year yet. Future years look bright for this team with the addition of Kevin Durant.My next player report card will be posted at the two thirds point of the season which will coincide with the NBA All Star Game break period. Until the next blog post you can follow me on Twitter @NBAMaven1. I appreciate any and all feedback!