Every player has something they bring to the team, whether it be scoring, rebounding, defense, or something else, every player has to put up the stats to show that they belong in an NBA rotation. Those who excel at what they do, are known around the league as elite players, these are my predictions for the leaders in each category.
Scoring Per Game Leaders 2016-17
These are some of the most exciting players to watch and always the fan favorite. Some of these players are the best players in the league and get their name known all around the world for getting buckets. I mean points are what win the games right?
3. DeMarcus Cousins 26.5 ppg
DeMarcus Cousins is far and away the best offensive big man in the game today, He has a plethora of moves from the post and can even spread out the floor too, shooting a respectable 33% from deep.
Predicting him to score 26.5 ppg is low balling it, considering he scored 26.9 last year while only shooting 45%, well below his career average so if he gets the same touches this year he should see a jump in scoring.
Too bad his career is being wasted in Sacramento.
2. Russell Westbrook 29.0 ppg
This is a man I believe we are all excited to watch this year, after being stabbed in the back by Kevin Durant he is taking a no love attitude into this season and is going to give it his all game in and game out and without Durant taking shots he is going to be putting up a lot of shots.
After scoring 23.5 ppg last year it is easy to see him taking a big jump in scoring, while his field goal percentage might take a drop but he will be putting the shots up.
With the secondary scorer being an unproven Victor Olidipo and with the absence of Westbrook’s favorite kick out target Ibaka, he will be going for a lot more finishes at the rim instead of dishing out some of those 10.4 assists that he averaged last year.
1. James Harden 31.0 ppg
With the move to point guard in the new offense and the absence of Dwight Howard, the player that scored the most points in the league last year (yeah more that Curry) it is hard not to see him not adding a couple points per game to his already scorching 29 ppg that he averaged last year.
Known as one of the best players at drawing fouls and iso scoring, having the ball in the hands of the beard is only going to lead to more buckets.
Rebounds Per Game Leaders 2016-17
Playing down low is all about size and throwing your body around. If your team doesn’t get the rebound then your team can’t win, it’s hard to score without the ball. These are some of the players who put their body on the line for their team every night and really play with the big boys down low.
3. Dwight Howard 13.0 rpg
With the move to Atlanta for Dwight, he could be closer to playing like his old self that dominated in Orlando. I’m not saying he is going to be that player again but just being close to it will get him up to a great rebounder and a good rim protector that the Hawks need.
His size, amount of muscle and sheer athleticism has the making for a dominant player, hopefully, he can put it all together and show flashes of greatness before father time takes him away.
2. DeAndre Jordan 14.0 rpg
It seems every year since he emerged that he is always around the leaders in rebounds and that isn’t something that is going to change this year.
With his length and size and athleticism he is born to get rebounds, and also uses great box out skills and physicality to go along with it. Maybe this is the year he finally adds an offensive game to his skill set and becomes a real threat in this league.
1. Andre Drummond 15.0 rpg
By far and away the best rebounder in the NBA. He is the only player that could put up 20 rebounds in any given night in the league and no one would blink an eye.
Assists Per Game Leaders 2016-17
Everyone loves to see a flashy no-look behind the back pass, so assists can definitely make some highlight plays. Assists are all about creating shots for your teammates and sharing the rock, these are the players in the league that are the very best at it.
3. John Wall 10.0 apg
Showing last year that he can dish the ball out, putting up an impressive 10.2 assists per game last year, with weapons surrounding him and the ability to drive as well as anyone else in the league he keeps his head up and is great at dishing the ball out.
2. Chris Paul 10.5 apg
With some of the most athletic forwards in the league playing for him, and with the shooters in his backcourt, while being one of the best passers in the league and somehow seeming like he is untouchable to the hands of father time, I don’t see this being the year his numbers drop off.
With averaging a flat 10 assist last year with Griffin being out for part of the year, I could see his numbers taking a slight step up.
1. Rajon Rondo 11.5 apg
One of my personal favorite players to watch due to his flashy passes and ability to create for other players, like a Steve Nash without the offensive game.
Watching him play for Chicago with the likes of DWade and Jimmy Butler this year will be very interesting and we will see if he put up numbers close to what he did last year.
Blocks Per Game Leaders 2016-17
They say defense wins championships, and these are some of the best defenders in the game today. The ability to swat an opponent’s shot out of the air is not only a way to hype up your team but also demoralizes the other.
While protecting the rim is a tall task and can get you on the highlight reel for getting slammed on, these are the top players who are not afraid to step up to that task.
3. Anthony Davis 2.25 blkpg
Still one of the elite players in the game today, Anthony Davis just needs to be surrounded with some talent to show that he is that player everyone expected him to be when he came out of college.
Finishing with 2.05 blkpg last year after having a disappointing year overall, I'm expecting him to step up his play everywhere else and see an increase in blocks as well.
2. DeAndre Jordan 2.3 blkpg
I see DeAndre barely edging out Anthony Davis in this one and that’s just expecting him to replicate his season from last year. He is an elite rim protector and will send blocks back emphatically, sending them to the fourth row of the stands.
When we come over to help defense there is a good chance that ball is not going anywhere near the rim.
1. Hassan Whiteside 3.5 blkpg
This man is living proof of what wonders the D-league can do for some late bloomers. Emerging onto the scene in Miami he has shown to be an elite shot blocker, averaging 3.68 blocks last year. 3.68. That’s insane.
While I’m predicting his numbers will drop slightly I still think he will be in consideration for defensive player of the year at the end of the year.
Steals Per Game Leaders 2016-17
Steals is a tricky category because not all players who get high steal numbers are what you would call lockdown defenders. These are players who are ball hungry and aren’t afraid to take the risk of lunging for that ball to create another possession for their team, even if it means taking the chance of getting beat on defense.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2.1 stpg
With the Greek freak making the move to point guard, his length will be creating all sorts of problems on the perimeter. Seeing a 6’11” point guard with a 7’3” wingspan is going to create havoc and any lazy passes will be hidden for the taking and using his length to defend will help him get in the defenders dribble easily.
2. Chris Paul 2.12 stpg
Known has one of the best defenders at the point guard position, he consistently puts up great steal numbers and this year won’t be an exception.
1. Stephen Curry 2.15 stpg
After leading the league in steals last year I expect him to put up similar numbers. Having some of the quickest hands in the game and with the defense that he has behind him, he has free will to try to jump the passing lanes to create the chance to take off in a steal.