The NBA: The Best Players and Teams of March 2013

Summer has arrived here in the Philippines and with it comes a lot of heat. The same can be said in the NBA, as the Miami Heat dominated this past month, and the race towards the Playoffs continued to really heat up. Indiana and New York are still fighting for the East’s 2nd seed, while, out West, the top spot is still a toss-up between the Spurs and the Thunder. The Nuggets also had a good run in March, moving up to as high as third in the West’s ladder, while the Clippers would rather forget the fact they went 7-7 and now find themselves at fourth spot with the prospect of facing a superior Memphis squad in the first round. Time to look back and appreciate all the players and teams who made the most of March 2013.

Chris Andersen is the latest ring-chaser to
join the Miami Heat.
(image by Bob Leverone/AP)

This is the fifth in a series of “Best of the Month” citations based on the Efficiency Recap ratings on Team citations will be based on Efficiency Recap Difference (Team Efficiency – Opponents’ Efficiency), while Player citations will be based on Player Efficiency. You can check out the Stats Glossary here.

Team Citations:

Best Backcourt: Miami Heat - 41.9ppg, 10.7rpg, 11.9apg, 5.3spg, .477 FG%, .415 3pt%, 14.0 DEFF
Dwyane Wade is the big reason for this, but don’t discount the fact that Norris Cole, Mike Miller, and Mario Chalmers have been solid, too.

Best Frontcourt: Utah Jazz - 64.8ppg, 35.3rpg, 9.9apg, 5.8spg, 5.6bpg, .488 FG%, 17.4 DEFF
Maybe the deepest frontline in the NBA with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, and Marvin Williams. There are no current All-Stars in that list, but there’s no lemon either.

Best Bench: Denver Nuggets - 46.9ppg, 14.8rpg, 8.7apg, 5.1spg, 2.7bpg, .505 FG%, 21.2 DEFF
The great play of both Corey Brewer and Javale McGee (Kosta Koufos starts) have helped propel the Nuggets up the standings.

Best Starters: Indiana Pacers - 70.5ppg, 32.9rpg, 14.3apg, 5.6spg, 4.1bpg, .450 FG%, 23.8 DEFF
The Indiana starting unit just does everything really well. And, finally, the real Roy Hibbert has arrived!

Best East Team: Miami Heat (17-1) - 101.4ppg, 36.9rpg, 24.0apg, 9.7spg, 5.9bpg, .497 FG%, .403 3pt%, 22.2 DEFF
Chris Bosh was great at the slot, while LBJ and Wade were their regular, dominant selves. No surprise here.

Best West Team: Oklahoma City Thunder (12-5) - 103.5ppg, 44.9rpg, 19.5apg, 8.0spg, 7.7bpg, 22.5 DEFF
Their record doesn’t sparkle as much as Miami’s, but by and large they’ve still been the most impressive squad in the West.

Player Citations:

Best Point Guard: Chris Paul (LAC) - 19.4ppg, 4.4rpg, 10.1apg, 2.3spg, .505 FG%, .878 FT%, 26.6 EFF
CP3 is back on top, throwing up the lobs and stealing those balls. Too bad it didn’t translate into a lot more wins.

Best Shooting Guard: James Harden (HOU) - 24.2ppg, 4.8rpg, 6.6apg, 1.7spg, .871 FT%, 24.2 EFF
Harden continues to blossom in his new role as top Rocket.

Best Small Forward: LeBron James (MIA) - 25.8ppg, 8.2rpg, 7.4apg, 1.8spg, 1.3bpg, .532 FG%, 30.8 EFF
He just does everything. Hate the player, but I don’t hate the game.

Best Power Forward: Tim Duncan (SAS) - 20.8ppg, 11.6rpg, 3.1apg, 2.8bpg, .540 FG%, 28.3 EFF
The Big Fundamental continues to dazzle fans and defy his age.

Best Center: Dwight Howard (LAL) - 17.9ppg, 15.2rpg, 1.3spg, 2.9bpg, .547 FG%, 25.3 EFF
Still wondering why the Lakers did well this past month? This is the Dwight Howard the Lakers paid for.

Dwight Howard was more or less his real self in March '13.
(image by Mark J. Terrill/AP)
Best East Rookie: Jonas Valanciunas (TOR) - 11.4ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.1bpg, .620 FG%, 15.5 EFF
Biggest reason why Andrea Bargnani has become expendable north of the border.

Best West Rookie: Anthony Davis (NOH) - 15.9ppg, 9.9rpg, 1.0spg, 1.6bpg, .549 FG%, 21.4 EFF
The #1 pick was the #1 rookie in the West. NOT Damian Lillard.

Best East Player: LeBron James (MIA) - 25.8ppg, 8.2rpg, 7.4apg, 1.8spg, 1.3bpg, .532 FG%, 30.8 EFF
Is there anything new to say?

Best West Player: Tim Duncan (SAS) - 20.8ppg, 11.6rpg, 3.1apg, 2.8bpg, .540 FG%, 28.3 EFF
He’s on full power mode right now, but will he still have any left when the postseason begins?
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