NBA Math’s All-TPA Teams for Week 4 (Nov. 14-20)
During the first month of the NBA season, 39 different players have populated the 15 spots on the All-TPA teams. We’ve seen plenty of stars showing up, but also a few surprises—Mike Muscala, Larry Nance Jr. and Lucas Nogueira chief among them.
Only one has made the podium during each of the four relevant segments: Russell Westbrook. The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar refuses to slow down, and this is now the third week in which he’s paced the entire league in TPA.
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 4 standouts.
|All-TPA First Team, Oct. 14-20|
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (Three First-Team Selections, One Second Team)
When James Harden said the Thunder were a one-man show, per The Oklahoman‘s Erick Horne, he wasn’t lying.
During the fourth week of the season, Westbrook averaged an astonishing 31.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 11.3 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 84.8 percent from the stripe. He was dominant on both ends of the floor, finishing No. 1 in offensive points added (including the game-tying shot against the Houston Rockets seen below) and No. 6 in defensive points saved.
So why were the Thunder just 2-2 during their four-game slate? Enes Kanter (9.04 TPA), Jerami Grant (6.65) and Victor Oladipo (1.89) were the only other positive finishers on the roster.
Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies (One First-Team Selection)
This is how you justify the largest contract in NBA history.
Mike Conley had been impressive during the first few weeks of the 2016-17 campaign, but he took his game to the proverbial next level with a 30-point, eight-assist performance against the Los Angeles Clippers. That might not sound significant enough to earn the First Team nod, but keep in mind it came on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and a 7-of-9 showing from downtown.
Oh, and Conley resumed his role as one of the league’s best perimeter defenders while helping spark an undefeated stretch against the Utah Jazz, Clippers, Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors (Two First-Team Selections, One Second Team)
Kevin Durant is an offensive machine.
Even though he only suited up three times during Week 4, the small forward added enough to the Golden State Warriors’ cause that just Westbrook, James Harden and John Wall finished with higher OPA scores. That’s what happens when you average 28.7 points and 6.0 assists while shooting 60.8 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from downtown and 71.4 percent at the charity stripe.
It’s almost like playing alongside other offensive stars makes it easier to generate open looks. And when a player is as talented a shooter as Durant…
Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls (Two First-Team Selections)
“Jimmy [Butler] thinks every time he steps on the floor he’s the best player out there,” Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg told K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. “More often than not, he’s right.”
He was certainly right in Week 4.
Butler has been more aggressive than ever lately, constantly driving toward the hoop in an attempt to keep the defense on its heels and then peppering the overmatched opposition with pull-up jumpers. He’s getting to the charity stripe 10 times per game, shooting efficiently from beyond the arc and playing high-quality defense while taking on an immense workload for the Bulls.
Can he keep this up? Only time will tell, but that’s now back-to-back weeks Butler has been a First Team representative.
Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat (One First-Team Selection)
Defense, defense and more defense.
Hassan Whiteside paced the field in defensive points saved during Week 4 (13.01), narrowly edging out Elfrid Payton (12.37) and Anthony Davis (12.16). The highlight was unquestionably his seven-block performance, which came at the expense of a Milwaukee Bucks squad that typically loves finishing plays in the paint:
Were it not for his four-turnover showings against the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks, or his combined 11-of-27 shooting performance against Atlanta and the Milwaukee Bucks, we could’ve been looking at a potential Week 4 MVP. As it stands, Whiteside will have to settle for providing more value than any other center.
|All-TPA Second Team, Oct. 14-20|
James Harden, Houston Rockets (One First-Team Selection, One Second Team, One Third Team)
The bearded guard hasn’t slowed down on offense and is, surprisingly, remaining a slight asset on the defensive end. Although the Oklahoma City Thunder held him in check with a 4-of-16 showing on Nov. 16, he still managed to average 25.8 points and 11.5 assists while keeping his turnovers in check.
Jeff Teague, Indiana Pacers (One Second-Team Selection)
This is the Jeff Teague the Indiana Pacers wanted to trade for. He struggled immensely during the first three weeks of the season—minus-17.85 TPA in Week 1, 0.28 in Week 2 and minus-2.49 TPA in Week 3—but has bounced back nicely, looking far more comfortable on both ends of the floor.
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers (Two Second-Team Selections, One Third Team)
So Blake Griffin looks healthy.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks (One Second-Team Selection)
The Atlanta Hawks are in the midst of a miraculous start to their season, trailing only the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors in Team Rating:
Top Team Ratings:
— NBA Math (@NBA_Math) November 21, 2016
Plenty has gone into that hot opening, but it’s Paul Millsap who continues to serve as the steadying force on both ends. In Week 4, Tim Hardaway Jr. (4.25 TPA), Mike Muscala (2.0), Kyle Korver (0.97), Thabo Sefolosha (0.78), Kris Humphries (0.69) and Dwight Howard (0.39) were all positive players, but none came close to matching the power forward’s value.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings (Two Second-Team Selections, One Third Team)
DeMarcus Cousins is hitting threes now, and that’s a scary thought for the rest of the league. After finishing Week 3 with back-to-back three-triple outings, he hit six more over the course of three games in Week 4.
|All-TPA Third Team, Oct. 14-20|
Adam Fromal is the founder of NBA Math. Follow him on Twitter @fromal09.