Dr. Dick’s Dozen Surprises, Part Deux

Picking up where we left off yesterday, here are the surprising Eastern Conference players from the first week:

Q. Richardson
:  So maybe last year was an aberration.  After averaging 15 and 6 with nearly three 3s a game in PHO 2 years ago, Q seemed poised to be a star.  Then came his delivery to the hell that is the Knicks, coupled with injury problems that destroyed last season.  Now he is putting up 19 and 7 on 54% shooting through his first 5 games this year.  At age 26, he may be left standing after Zeke, Marbury and Francis are run out of town.  And remember, he is younger than Luke Walton.

Brevin Knight:  Could he really be playing 38 minutes a night?  As an undersized point guard playing the two spot?  It must be “truth is stranger than fiction time” here at The Splog.  Well through the first four games, Brevin is averaging 16 points and 7 assists, while shooting 49 percent.  And now Ray Felton is out with a rib injury and Knight will slide over to the point.  Aren’t smallish (5’10”, 170) PGs supposed to tail off when they reach their thirties?  Knight’s play has certainly been a surprise.

Emeka Okafor:  Not a surprise in the traditional sense, more just happy to see him back.  Remember the 2005 ROY?  Well after last year’s injuries limited him to just 26 ineffective games, he has returned scoring 17 per along with 11 boards and nearly 4 blocks.  With Dwight Howard’s pronounced improvement last year, it seems like a long time since we were debating the relative merits of these two big men.  Welcome back, Emeka.

Zaza Pachulia:  A solid contributor last year averaging 12 and 8 in 31 minutes per, Zaza has taken a big step forward this year with 18 and 7 in 33 minutes per.  At just 22 years old, he is a key for the division-leading Hawks.  I can’t believe I just typed the words division-leading Hawks.  And don’t forget he is 3.5 months younger than this year’s first rounder Shelden Williams.

Etan Thomas:  Averaging 11 and 7.5 is just the kind of productivity the Wiz were looking for from Thomas.  There is no chance he will keep shooting at a 76% clip, though his 31% FT shooting is likely to move toward his career mark of 60%.  The question becomes can he keep getting to the line 4+ times per game or is that outcome just the result of the small sample?

Charlie Villanueva:  One of the most important deals of the off-season was the Bucks’ stealing of Villanueva from Toronto.  While the Bucks likely would have been satisfied with last year’s 13 and 6.5, he has jumped his numbers up to 16.5 and 9.5 without an appreciable increase in minutes.  If he continues to play at this level, he will make Colangelo the Younger look even worse on this deal.

And now for the Eastern Conference Villanova player watch:

Allan Ray:  Has not yet played in the regular season.  Scored 29 points in 80 minutes during the preseason.  As John Hollinger of ESPN.com would say (write), “he averaged 14.5 points per 40 minutes played in the preseason.”  Likely will need several Celtics to be injured to see any game time.  Although with Doc Rivers’ substitution patterns, you never know.

That’s it for now…Dr. Dick


One Response to “Dr. Dick’s Dozen Surprises, Part Deux”

  1. dberri Says:

    Are you going to post again?

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