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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rajon Rondo's biggest assist of the year

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is the current league leader in assists, with a whopping 13.4 per game. He is likely to remain the league's assist leader for the indefinite future. Two time MVP Steve Nash is second on this season's list, yet he is a considerable distance behind Rondo, averaging 10.8 assists per game. This gap will not be overcome.

To put it into some context, assume for a moment that Nash and Rondo both play every game remaining in their respective regular seasons, and that Nash assumes his 10.8apg pace throughout. If Nash passes for exactly 10.8 apg over Phoenix's remaining 43 games, Rondo need average only 9.3 assists per game for the remainder of the season to stay ahead of him. That's still a lot, but not for Rondo.

(As an aside, when was the last time had 10 times more assists than fouls? Because that's where Steve Nash is at right now.)

Rondo's 13.4 apg average, should it sustain, would be the 8th highest total of all time. Only 7 times has it been bettered - 5 of those times by all time assist leader John Stockton - and never by more than 1.1apg. It is perhaps therefore understandable that Rondo, notorious over-passer than he is, is unashamedly going for the record. On a team filled with scorers other than him, and in such proximity to the record, he might as well. He has both the talent and the mindset.

However, he still needs huge assists from others.

Monday, January 10, 2011

15 More Ten Day Contract Candidates (Because Apparently 101 Wasn't Enough After All)

Newest Phoenix Sun, Zabian Dowdell.

A mere 48 hours after the Top 101 Ten Day Contract Candidates list was completed, the Phoenix Suns went and signed somebody that wasn't on it. Clearly, 20 would not have been enough.

With the second signed ten day contract of the season - the Clippers used the first to re-sign Jarron Collins - Phoenix called up guard Zabian Dowdell from the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League, re-signing a player they had only recently cut in training camp.

Dowdell did not make the initial list, perhaps in part due to an oversight, but because his numbers thus far this season had not been overwhelming. Playing on the incredibly deep 66ers roster, Dowds averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.8 turnovers in 29 minutes per game, shooting 41% from the field and 31% from three, with 261 points on 230 shots. The assist to turnover ratio was nice, and the defense as present as ever, yet Dowdell's individual scoring ability has not been there. Nevertheless, Phoenix now gives a regular season look to this long-coveted player for them, who should fit in nicely with an up-tempo game, and defend better than the Nash/Dragic point guard combo (which, while awesome, only impacts one end).

In a bit to avoid another such occurence, here are some more names for the call-up list. Players who can be removed from the original list, however briefly, include Collins, Damien Wilkins (re-signed with Atlanta), Patrick Beverley (signed in Russia with Spartak St Petersburg) and J.R. Giddens (signed in Spain with Valencia). New players again listed in no order but alphabetical.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Top 101 NBA Ten-Day Contract Candidates (When 20 Would Probably Have Been Enough)

As of today, January 5th, NBA teams are able to start signing players to 10 day contracts. Up until now, players signed mid-season had to be signed to contracts lasting at least until the end of the season; as of Wednesday, however, you need sign them for no longer than 10 days, either as emergency cover or an extended tryout. This system is widely used every year, and sometimes leads to beautiful stories, such as the successes enjoyed by players such as Reggie Williams, C.J. Watson and Anthony Tolliver (all 10 day contract signees at one part), or the record breaking NBA career of JamesOn Curry (whose NBA career, despite technically being two years long, has resulted in 4 total seconds of playing time earned while on a 10 day contract with the Clippers last year).

Players signed to ten day contracts tend to be young prospects, and tend to be signed by teams destined for the lottery, either by accident, destiny or design. That said, the occasional veteran will sign one or two ten day contracts with a team, thereby enjoying something of a comeback. This has been the case for players such as Alvin Williams, Doug Christie and Darius Miles in the past, and is particularly good news for Antonio Daniels.

There follows a subjective yet comprehensive list of possible if highly unlikely ten day contract candidates, crafted from a combination of the current free agents list, as well as current D-League players (who, more often than not, are the recipients). Listed in no order other than alphabetical.




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