While Week 1 was filled with many expected names, the second segment of the NBA season features some surprises. How many of you expected Larry Nance Jr. to make the All-TPA First Team so soon into his sophomore campaign? Who would’ve thought we’d be shouting out George Hill as more than just a solid complementary piece for a Utah Jazz squad on the rise?
Throughout the 2016-17 season, NBA Math will be providing you with weekly updates that showcase the Association’s premier talents. Play the best during the week in question (everything else, for these purposes, is wholly irrelevant), and you’ll end up slotted on one of the three All-TPA teams.
Of course, you’ll have to make the First or Second Team to receive the luxury of a featured blurb. We’re not here to coddle those on the Third Team, even if they still receive their due credit.
If you need a refresher on TPA, click here. Otherwise, proceed to the Week 2 standouts.
|All-TPA First Team, Oct. 31-Nov. 6|
|Forward||Larry Nance Jr.||10.87||9.84||20.71|
James Harden, Houston Rockets (1 First Team Selection)
The bearded shooting guard has been on an absolute tear, thriving as head coach Mike D’Antoni trusts him with unabashed point guard duties. He’s controlling the rock on virtually every possession for the Houston Rockets and throwing up some monstrous stat lines.
Just take a gander at what he did during Week 2:
- 41 points and 15 assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers
- 30 points and 15 assists against the New York Knicks
- 30 points and 12 assists against the Atlanta Hawks
Harden added a staggering 53.96 points on offense alone—21.28 more than any other NBA player contributed in Week 2. In fact, his offensive score alone trumped everyone else’s two-way totals, and he was also a net positive on the preventing end.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers (1 First Team Selection)
If there’s any superstar who’s flown beneath the radar, it’s Chris Paul. While Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, LeBron James and others have received plenty of love, the Los Angeles Clippers point guard has thrown up big numbers in relative anonymity.
During Week 2, this particular MVP candidate averaged 18.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 4.0 steals and 0.5 blocks while making near-constant trips to the charity stripe. Even more importantly, he helped lead LAC to a 3-1 record, with the lone loss coming against the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder despite his own individual dominance:
Did Paul benefit from having a four-game slate this week? Absolutely. But during his average game, he still added more points to the LAC cause than all but 28 NBA players added in the entire timeframe.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (1 First Team Selection, 1 Second Team)
What can’t Giannis Antetokounmpo do?
He’s proved himself a capable point forward by sparking an otherwise stagnant Milwaukee Bucks offense, even helping Jabari Parker and Tony Snell look as if they’re on the verge of breakouts. He’s a dominant rebounder and a skilled defender who can guard multiple positions within the same possession. He’s even an adept scorer, so long as he’s not forced to rely on his broken perimeter jumper.
Balance was the name of the game in Week 2 for this 21-year-old, and it paid significant dividends as he moved up from the Second Team in Week 1 to this lofty spot as the league’s top forward.
Larry Nance Jr., Los Angeles Lakers (1 First Team Selection)
After finishing his rookie season with minus-35.29 TPA, Larry Nance Jr. is lighting it up.
He was still in the negatives during Week 1 (minus-2.82), but the second segment of his sophomore season featured nothing but two-way excellence, highlighted by the breathtaking slam dunk against the Golden State Warriors, during which he seemed to caress David West’s dome:
Nance wasn’t just a dunking machine while helping the Lakers surge to an above-.500 record with victories over the Atlanta Hawks, Warriors and Phoenix Suns. He was a distinct positive on defense and averaged 9.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.3 steals and 0.8 blocks, shooting 68 percent from the field and 83.3 percent at the free-throw line.
All of a sudden, Nance should have Lakers fans feeling quite optimistic about their future.
Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder (1 First Team Selection)
The Oklahoma City Thunder weren’t just the Russell Westbrook show in Week 2.
Though the point guard was quite obviously the team’s best player (positional designations are the only reason Steven Adams receives the First Team nod this week while Westbrook is one level lower), he had significant help from the man in the middle. While Enes Kanter struggled, the mustachioed center thrived on defense and did just enough to maintain his positive status on offense.
Making the All-TPA First Team is a big deal. But it wasn’t even Adams’ biggest accomplishment on the week—that honor would be reserved for his new four-year deal worth $100 million.
|All-TPA Second Team, Oct. 31-Nov. 6|
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (1 First Team Selection, 1 Second Team)
Continuing his world tour of individual dominance, Russell Westbrook won’t stop throwing up massive numbers for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even though his turnovers are too plentiful and his field-goal percentage is a bit too low, the sheer volume of his contributions remain staggering. Few players are able to maintain this type of usage rate without breaking down entirely, but Westbrook remains on pace to shatter the single-season TPA record.
George Hill, Utah Jazz (1 Second Team Selection)
Just imagine what might happen when it all clicks for George Hill on defense. He’s normally a two-way player, but his struggles preventing points were all that kept him from supplanting Chris Paul on the All-TPA First Team. The newest member of the Utah Jazz was just that good on offense, averaging 20.8 points during four Week 2 outings while shooting 58.5 percent from the field, 55.0 percent from downtown and 90.9 percent on his aptly named freebies.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (1 Second Team Selection)
While so many individual members of the Golden State Warriors have failed to meet the lofty expectations, Draymond Green has at least held his own on the defensive end.
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors (1 First Team Selection, 1 Second Team)
While so many individual members of the Golden State Warriors have failed to meet the lofty expectations, Kevin Durant has at least held his own on the offensive end.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (1 Second Team Selection)
Though he’s still trying to figure out his new defensive role under Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau, Karl-Anthony Towns has had no issues on offense. His combination of finesse and power is nearly unguardable, especially now that defenders have to be wary of his myriad post moves. Highlighted by a 32-point, 14-rebound outing against the Denver Nuggets, this sophomore center averaged 25.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in Week 2 while shooting 57.1 percent from the field, 62.5 percent on his triples and 78.9 percent at the stripe.
|All-TPA Third Team, Oct. 31-Nov. 6|
Adam Fromal is the founder of NBA Math. Follow him on Twitter @fromal09.