If there’s one thing everyone should learn from the beginning of the basketball season, it’s that overreactions come in a large supply. I mean… after the Sixers started the season 3-0, they appeared No. 1 in many power rankings across the basketball world. Whether that was a huge troll or not, it was still a massive overreaction to a team that won a few early games. The most important thing to remember is that the NBA season is 82 games long. We are only about 12 games in so far. This means only about 15 percent of the season has been played, which is virtually nothing.
Even so, there are many players that went under the radar before the season, but have started the season off with a bang. But are these players the real deal, or just on a hot streak? I believe these 10 players will come back down to earth before the season is over.
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The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft has his Philadelphia 76ers at the top of the Atlantic Division. Saying Turner has surprised this season is an understatement for a player that has been given the “bust” label by many unhappy fans. So far this season, Turner is averaging a career-high 22.0 points (shooting 47 percent from the field), 6.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game during the final year of his rookie contract. However, I’ve watched Turner very closely since his rookie season and he will not keep this production up.
Throughout his career, Turner is known for going on rampages that make him look like the No. 2 overall pick, then disappearing for long stretches of games. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. You won’t fool me again, Evan! Last season, from November 24 to December 18, Turner averaged 19.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 4.2 APG, while shooting 46.7 percent from the field during this 13-game stretch. Also, during the stretch, Turner didn’t have a game where he scored under 10 points. What happened during the 13 following games? Turner scored 10.7 PPG on 40 percent shooting. Turner also had five games where he failed to score over 10 points during this 13-game regression.
Evan Turner will fall off and come back to earth, as the season trudges on, especially in Philadelphia, where the losses will begin to pile on quicker than my college laundry pile. Also, if Turner is traded (rumors have been circulating), then these numbers will plummet. Turner is not a player that will be able to average 20 PPG over the course of an entire season, so come back to this article in June and I’ll say I told you so.
For his first few years in the NBA, Lance Stephenson was known more for giving LeBron James the choke sign than his play on the court. Stephenson has shown flashes of the player that was nicknamed “Born Ready” this season, however. He’s averaging 13.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 5.0 APG. More impressive is his 46 percent shooting from the field and 45 percent shooting from deep. These increased numbers can be attributed to the fact that Stephenson is playing a career-high 34 minutes per game, up from his 29 minutes per game last season. The Pacers are contenders in the East, but Stephenson is a pretender. One reason why? Danny Granger.
Danny Granger can ball; he was the leader of the Pacers for many years until Paul George rolled into town. Over eight NBA seasons, Granger has averaged 18.1 PPG with 5.2 RPG on 44 percent shooting. Granger has battled calf and knee injuries since last season, but he is slated to return to the Pacers lineup within a week or two. If Granger can stay healthy, he is a serious threat to the emergence of Lance Stephenson. With max-contract stars Paul George (17.2 FGA) and Roy Hibbert (9.1 FGA) already demanding over 25 shots a game together, the situation will get foggy when Granger (career 9.6 FGA) returns. Simply put, there won’t be enough basketballs to go around for all four to have success scoring. George and Hibbert will undoubtedly get theirs, but there will be a battle with Stephenson and Granger. If Granger can return to form, expect the hot start of Lance Stephenson to cool off.