The 2014-2015 NBA season is nearing the ceremonial halfway point, known as the All Star Break. The standings have caught some experts by surprise, as the Atlanta Hawks (42-9) have dominated the Eastern Conference and the Golden State Warriors (40-9) have done the same in the Western Conference.
The MVP race is wide open with James Harden, Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Stephen Curry among the favorites to win the award.
Sometimes the best way to understand the big picture is to look at the small details. In basketball, statistics are especially helpful in understanding the storylines of a season. With the 2015 All Star Game approaching, it’s a good time to look at the numbers that matter so far in the NBA season.
Here are some of the stats that tell the real story of the first half and preview what might be in store for the rest of the year.
DeAndre Jordan is shooting 72.7 percent from the field
The Los Angeles Clippers' center Jordan has led the league in field-goal percentage the past two seasons. This year has been even better. His 72.7 percent is comfortably ahead of the next player on the list, Tyson Chandler (68.4 percent). If Jordan maintains his pace for the rest of the season, he would equal Wilt Chamberlain’s record 72.7 field goal percentage in 1972-1973.
Kyle Korver is shooting 53.6 percent from behind the arc
Hawks sharpshooter Korver has been lights out from deep. His 53.6 percent three-point shooting percentage is far and away the best in the league, comfortably ahead of second-place Memphis Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee (46.3 percent.) Steve Kerr’s 1994-1995 record (52.3 percent) is in serious danger.
The New York Knicks are 24 games out of first
It's been a disappoint first season for head coach Derek Fisher and team president Phil Jackson. The Knicks (10-41) are 24 games behind the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors. The Knicks have the worst record in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games behind the lowly Philadelphia 76ers.
Anthony Davis has a PER of 31.7
Player efficiency rating (PER) measures how good a player is on a per-minute basis, and Davis has dominated the category, well ahead of second-place Russell Westbrook. The third-year star does it all, averaging 24.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and a league-best 2.7 blocks.
The Los Angeles Lakers have just 13 wins
The Lakers have been awful, with just 13 wins in 50 games. In comparison, in 2009-2010, the last Lakers championship season, the team won 13 games in their first 16 tries. Only the Minnesota Timberwolves (10-40) have a worse record in the Western Conference.
Atlanta won 20 straight
The Hawks won a franchise-best 20-straight games before the New Orleans Pelicans snapped the streak on Mon. Feb. 2. The streak was so long the Hawks didn’t lose in the entire month of January. Even the legendary 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls (72-10), which featured Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen, didn’t have a 20-game winning streak. Since the loss to the Pelicans, the Hawks have won back-to-back games, including a victory over the Warriors, who are atop the West standings.
John Wall is averaging 10.2 assists
The speedy Washington Wizards point guard has really advanced his game in 2014-2015. Wall has averaged 10.2 assists, best in the league, in what many consider a breakout season. The fifth-year star has never averaged more than 8.8 assists in a season. A more complete Wall has helped the Wizards to a 32-20 record, good for third place in the Eastern Conference. Wall has also averaged 17.5 points per game.
LeBron James has played in 42 games
James has traditionally been exceptionally durable. Yet the superstar forward has already missed 10 games this season, already the most in his career. James missed seven games in 2007-2008, his previous high. When James has played, he has averaged 26.1 points, 7.4 assists and 5.4 rebounds.