Isaiah Thomas: Isaiah’s improved play this season has gone very under the radar due to historic numbers from other point guards such as Russell Westbrook and James Harden. So far this season, Isaiah has quietly been the best PG in the east. He has the second highest PPG total in the eastern conference behind only Demar Derozan, posting a career high 26 PPG to this point. To this point in the season, Isaiah, Russell Westbrook and James Harden are the only players in the NBA averaging 26+ PPG and 6+ APG. While he’s not at the levels of those two, he definitely deserves more credit than he has been receiving thus far.
Kevin Durant: Say what you want about him not being loyal, but Kevin Durant is putting up excellent numbers to this point on historic levels of efficiency. So far this year he’s averaging 27.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG and 4.7 APG. Those numbers don’t stick out compared to the rest of his career, but when you include the fact that he’s shooting 57% from the field, 44% from 3 and has an insane 63.3% eFG%, those stats look a whole lot more impressive. Not only is he getting it done on offense, he’s held his own on defense, a very underrated aspect to his game. His wingspan and athleticism has allowed him to be a major help to the Warriors this season. He has a career high offensive rating of 129 and a near career low defensive rating of 101. The +28 differential there shows how fantastic of a year KD has had in Golden State.
Kemba Walker: Kemba’s improved play this season has helped keep the Hornets record at a respectable 10-8. Many people didn’t think the Hornets could sustain success following losses of Jeremy Lin, Courtney Lee and Al Jefferson this offseason, but due to Kemba’s career high 24 PPG on 47% shooting from the field and 42% from 3, the Hornets have kept afloat this season. His efforts have placed him into all star and top 5 PG talks, while I think that top 5 is a bit of a stretch his play this season has made those talks acceptable. Expect to see Kemba in New Orleans this all star break and the Hornets in the playoffs at the conclusion of the season.
Jimmy Butler: While there were many questions about the Bulls 3 point shooting before the season, Jimmy Butler has answered them by shooting fantastic 43% from 3. So far this year his point and assist totals are at a career high which many assumed would happen following the departure of Derrick Rose. His offensive rating this season is off the charts at 131 and Butler with the help of Dwyane Wade have gotten the Bulls up to a very respectable 10-6 record. Butler’s improved offense along with his already elite defense has been very vital to the Bulls this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Per 100 possessions the Bucks are 13.9 points worse this season when Giannis is off the court. That stat shows how much the Greek Freak has taken the Bucks and put them on his back this season. He is averaging career highs in points, rebounds and assists so far this season. Giannis is taking more shots than ever this season, yet amazingly enough he’s shooting a career high 53% from the field. He has been the only reason they are on the fringe of the playoffs this season. When Khris Middleton returns next season, the Bucks could eventually become a threat in the East in large part due to the Greek Freak.
Avery Bradley: On a tier below the players listed above, Bradley has been putting together a very solid season and could sneak into the all star game. The biggest improvement in his game so far this season is his 8 RPG which have come out of seemingly nowhere. Prior to this season his highest RPG in a season was 3. Not only has his rebounding improved, he’s also putting up career highs in APG and PPG while shooting with the best efficiency since he became a full time starter in 2013. All of this along with his excellent defense are contributing to his excellent season thus far.
Otto Porter: To start this year, Porter is finally beginning to live up to his draft slot expectations. He is posting career highs in PPG, APG, RPG, steals and blocks. He has been getting more minutes this year and to this point is shooting more than ever, but he’s shooting a great 52% from the field and 38% from the 3, both career highs. He is going to be key to the Wizards attempts to make the playoffs this season and to this point in the season Porter and John Wall are keeping the Wizards from having a miserable record.
Obviously superstars such as Harden, Westbrook and Anthony Davis are also having career years, but I didn’t feel the need to include them because anyone who’s been keeping up with basketball has heard about their years. If there’s any players you think I may have missed, leave a comment down below.