Two months of NBA action is in the books. Probably not surprising to most people, the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder have continued where they left off last year by hovering at the top of their respective conferences. Some of the teams accompanying them in the upper echelon of the conference standings might be somewhat of a surprise, though.
The New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks have had a strong first couple of months in the Eastern Conference while the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies are surprise contenders in the Western Conference thus far.
While some of these teams might be new to the limelight, it is mostly familiar faces that have proven to be the most productive players in the league during this still-young season.
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
The big story this season has been trying to solve the riddle of what is wrong with the Lakers. Despite featuring a roster stacked with superstars, the Lakers cannot string together wins and are playing mediocre basketball at best.
You wouldn’t be able to tell it by looking at Kobe Bryant’s numbers, though. The 34-year-old has continued his storied career by leading the league in points per game early in the season. While many thought that as Bryant enters the final leg of his career, it would reflect in his stats. That has not been the case. It is making fans wonder how much the Lakers would be suffering had Bryant not been around to carry the team on his back this year.
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
The Thunder will be a contender for this year’s NBA title again, and Durant is a huge reason why. Even though Durant has a lot of help around him (Russell Westbrook, Kevin Martin, etc.) the wiry forward’s contributions on offense and the glass is what really fuels the team.
Durant has continued displaying his freakish prowess of stepping out on the perimeter and draining shots and was among the league’s top scorers early in the season. He’s also flirting with a double-digit rebound average.
Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
Who would have guessed that the Clippers would be the better performing franchise in Los Angeles this year? Chris Paul is a huge reason why.
The way the season is going, Paul might not even end up as his team’s second top scorer. Guys like Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford are perfectly capable of dropping in buckets, but Paul’s well-rounded efforts is what ties everything together.
Paul will likely shake out to average 15 to 20 points per game, but he also finished the first quarter of the season among the league’s top players in both assists and steals. Many consider Paul the epitome of a floor general, and it’s showing for the Clippers.
Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)
You can’t have a conversation about floor generals without mentioning Rajon Rondo. After two months into the season, Rondo easily led the league with double-digit assists. In fact, paired with his penchant for scoring, Rondo averaged a double-double per night.
Racking up assists should come pretty easy when you have targets like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to pass to.
LeBron James (Miami Heat)
For his entire career, LeBron James has been his team’s focal point. A part of the three-headed monster with Dwayne Wayne and Chris Bosh, James has led the Heat in their efforts to repeat as NBA champions this season.
In addition to serving as his team’s most promising source of points, James continues to use his 6-foot-8, 250-pound frame to clean up the glass.
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