The NBA: The Best Players and Teams of December 2013

An old year has ended, and we welcome the new one by looking back at the best December 2013 had to offer. Kevin Love remains the most productive player of the lot, though his team still has a long way to go. Kevin Durant and the Thunder rebounded from an “okay” opening month, while Dwyane Wade seems to have rediscovered his prime. Also, look at those boring old Spurs quietly racking up the Ws. Again.

D-Wade was at his best last month.
(image by Lynne Sladky/AP)

This is the second 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: LA Clippers - 53.9ppg, 10.6rpg, 15.1apg, 4.8spg, .418 FG%, .332 3pt%, .821 FT%, 14.5 DEFF
With their frontline continuing to go up and down (quite literally), the Clippers have had to rely on their guards to carry much of the load.

Best Frontcourt: Oklahoma City Thunder - 60.2ppg, 33.2rpg, 9.7apg, 4.2spg, 6.1bpg, .518 FG%, .424 3pt%, .785 FT%, 18.6 DEFF
Durant’s evolution into all-around awesomeness had a profound effect on OKC’s frontline last month. Here’s to hoping he remains consistent.

OKC on the rise in the West.
(image by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

Best Bench: San Antonio Spurs - 49.9ppg, 16.1rpg, 11.9apg, 3.6spg, 1.3bpg, .509 FG%, .417 3pt%, .825 FT%, 29.3 DEFF
The “most international” team in the league boasts of the “most international” bench, too. And, well, with guys like Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw, and even Patty Mills all contributing, coach Pop is grinning inside.

Best Starting Five: Indiana Pacers - 75.5ppg, 29.9rpg, 17.8apg, 4.9spg, 2.6bpg, .490 FG%, .376 3pt%, .832 FT%, 23.2 DEFF
We all know that PG24, David West, and Roy Hibbert are near, or at, the elite level already, but the real revelation this past month has been Lance Stephenson, whose all-around brilliance has made him jump up the SG ladder considerably. Born ready? Think so.

East: Indiana Pacers (10-4 in December) - 98.1ppg, 43.8rpg, 20.9apg, 7.6spg, 6.0bpg, .458 FG%, .363 3pt%, .787 FT%, 21.8 DEFF
December was a little tougher than November for the Hoosier State, but, hey, the Pacers still have the league’s best record, right?

West: Oklahoma City Thunder (14-3 in December) - 105.3ppg, 47.1rpg, 21.9apg, 7.8spg, 6.2bpg, .471 FG%, .352 3pt%, .815 FT%, 22.7 DEFF
OKC took care of business in December and gained much ground. They overtook San Antonio for second spot and are gaining on the Blazers. Oh, but with Westbrook out…

Player Citations:

Best Point Guard: Chris Paul (LAC) - 20.3ppg, 4.4rpg, 10.3apg, 2.7spg, .464 FG%, .354 3pt%, 26.2 EFF
Ever so slightly, CP3 got the edge over Steph Curry in December.

Best Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade (MIA) - 20.7ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.1apg, 1.7spg, .562 FG%, .375 3pt%, 21.2 EFF
After a long time, finally someone NOT named James Harden. Oh, but it’s a Heat player. Ugh.

Best Small Forward: Kevin Durant (OKC) - 29.4ppg, 9.0rpg, 4.5apg, 1.7spg, 1.1bpg, .535 FG%, .481 3pt%, .880 FT%, 33.4 EFF
Durantula was ultra-efficient in December, filling the sheets and taking names like crazy.

Is KD evolving into an all-around world-beater?
(image by Streeter Lecka/AP)

Best Power Forward: Kevin Love (MIN) - 30.0ppg, 13.7rpg, 4.2apg, .500 FG%, .442 3pt%, .851 FT%, 35.8 EFF
Out of this world numbers. Still the best baller on a middling (at best) team. Well, maybe things will pick up now that the Derrick Williams thing (distraction) is done.

Best Center: DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) - 23.8ppg, 12.3rpg, 3.6apg, 2.1spg, .521 FG%, 28.1 EFF
A guy nicknamed “Boogie” was the world’s best center in December. Amazing, eh? Also, he’s still the NBA’s most technical-foul-prone player. They should make pills for pills like Boogie.

Best East Rookie: Michael Carter-Williams (PHI) - 19.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 8.2apg, 3.5spg, .449 FG%, 23.3 EFF
I was tempted to pick the Greek kid from Milwaukee whose name was just too long, mainly because MCW played just 6 games in December. But, man, his EFF jumped 6 points up from November! Still the best freshie out there.

Best West Rookie: Trey Burke (UTA) - 14.8ppg, 3.1rpg, 5.9apg, .368 3pt%, .919 FT%, 14.4 EFF
Slim pickings out West, yes, but it’s all still Burke’s to own.

Best East Player: LeBron James (MIA) - 24.6ppg, 8.1rpg, 6.9apg, 1.6spg, .581 FG%, .351 3pt%, 29.6 EFF
Bron-bron continues to set the pace in the East. I hate it.

Best West Player: Kevin Love (MIN) - 30.0ppg, 13.7rpg, 4.2apg, .500 FG%, .442 3pt%, .851 FT%, 35.8 EFF

Everyone loves Love, but we cannot really say the same thing for the Wolves. Oh, but they’re at ninth right now in the conference!!! A strong push in January might just get them out of the red!

Next Post »
0 Comment