The 2019-2020 NBA season is underway. Through only a handful of games, several teams have exceeded expectations and have had breakout performances from unexpected players.
While many of the league’s stars have performed up to expectations, here are some players who have stepped up during the first week of action.
Shai Gilegous-Alexander had a standout rookie season with the Clippers last year. Now in Oklahoma City, the young guard is proving why he was such a coveted asset in the Paul George trade.
Thru four games, Gilgeous-Alexander has taken the lead for the Thunder, outplaying veteran point guard Chris Paul. While his talent was clear, his stellar performance in the first week has been surprising.
Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 24.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He is shooting 48 percent from the floor, and has made his defensive presence felt with 1.8 blocks per game.
While the Thunder are 1-3, Gilgeous-Alexander’s performance has been a silver lining. Even with a small sample size, it appears OKC has their star of the future.
The L.A. Clippers dominated the offseason by landing Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. While George has yet to play, the Clippers, 3-1, have still looked great, partially because of Montrezl Harrell.
With the Clippers’ frontcourt rotation ever-changing, Harrell, now in his fifth year, has yet to start this season. However, Harrell has been huge off the bench.
He is averaging 20.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and has proven to be an excellent interior presence on offense. Harrell, 6’8″, is shooting 76 percent from the floor, getting buckets inside.
If Harrell can continue this play off the bench for the Clippers, it will be huge going forward. A second unit with him, Lou Williams, Mo Harkless and others could be tough for any defense to slow down. Harrell’s improvement from last season in the first few games comes as a surprise.
Perhaps the biggest surprise performance from the beginning of the season has been Kendrick Nunn. The former G-League player is getting his real shot at NBA action and is making the most of it.
Thru the first four games, Nunn has started at the guard position for Miami. The 24-year-old is averaging 21 points on 48 percent shooting from the field, along with 44 percent from three.
Nunn is also averaging 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Nunn had a 40 point showing in preseason, but has continued to be an excellent scorer. On opening night, He scored 24 points to help lead the team to a win.
At 3-1, Miami is off to a good start. Nunn’s play has been surprising, and if sustained, he is another offensive threat on the Heat roster.
Featured image credited to AP.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.