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NBA AM: The Opening Week Leaders

It’s early in the season, but the NBA’s leaders are starting to emerge… Have the Grizzlies run their course as an elite team? … Is it time to show Ricky Rubio some respect?

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Opening Week Leaders:  Since most teams have played between three and four games in the opening week of the NBA season, drawing any meaningful big-picture conclusions this far in is a bit premature. However, there are some players who have jumped out front quickly and while the leaders chart is likely to change, there are some notable names on top early in this season.

Scoring Leaders Through Games Played 11/2/2015

RK PLAYER GP MPG PTS FG% 3P% FT%
1 Stephen Curry, PG 4 31.8 37 0.595 0.488 0.964
2 Russell Westbrook, PG 4 35.5 30.3 0.523 0.381 0.840
3 Kevin Durant, SF 4 37.8 29.8 0.481 0.414 0.912
4 Blake Griffin, PF 4 33.8 29.5 0.622 0.000 0.743
5 Damian Lillard, PG 4 36.8 25.5 0.446 0.344 0.850
6 Bradley Beal, SG 3 35 25.3 0.466 0.500 0.750
7 Carmelo Anthony, SF 4 33 23 0.372 0.300 0.903
8 Anthony Davis, PF 3 37.3 23 0.407 0.444 0.700
9 James Harden, SG 4 37.8 22.8 0.300 0.159 0.857
10 Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF 3 36.3 22.7 0.581 0.429 0.833

Rookie Scoring Leaders Through Games Played 11/2/2015

RK PLAYER GP MPG PTS FG% 3P% FT%
1 Jahlil Okafor, C 3 33.7 20 0.510 0.000 0.769
2 Karl-Anthony Towns, C 3 30.7 17.7 0.579 0.500 0.889
3 Emmanuel Mudiay, PG 3 30.3 12.7 0.333 0.385 0.500
4 Kristaps Porzingis, PF 4 23.8 11.8 0.357 0.182 0.833
5 Willie Cauley-Stein, C 3 20.3 9 0.733 0.000 0.556
6 D’Angelo Russell, PG 3 25.3 9 0.367 0.267 0.500
7 Myles Turner, PF 2 20.5 9 0.571 0.000 0.500
8 Jerian Grant, PG 4 24.3 8.5 0.538 0.500 0.714
9 Stanley Johnson, SF 3 18.7 8.3 0.321 0.286 1.000
10 Montrezl Harrell, PF 4 15.5 8 0.824 0.000 0.571

PER Leaders Through Games Played 11/2/2015

RK PLAYER GP MPG TS% USG REBR PER
1 Stephen Curry, GS 4 31.8 0.768 34.2 8 50.5
2 Tyler Johnson, MIA 2 11.5 0.739 15.5 19.8 36.19
3 Blake Griffin, LAC 4 33.8 0.66 29.5 13.5 35.37
4 Russell Westbrook, OKC 4 35.5 0.611 36.7 11.7 34.37
5 Derrick Favors, UTAH 3 31.7 0.568 27.5 15 32.53
6 Joffrey Lauvergne, DEN 3 19 0.792 17.2 17.3 30.28
7 Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 3 25.3 0.647 22.6 15.8 29.94
8 Greg Monroe, MIL 4 34.3 0.661 21.7 16.9 29.77
9 Ricky Rubio, MIN 3 31.7 0.594 24.1 8.9 28.88
10 Kendrick Perkins, NO 3 9.3 0.8 14.6 15.5 27.9

Has Memphis Run Its Course?  After a 50-point blowout against the Golden State Warriors last night, it’s easy to question the direction of the Memphis Grizzlies. After the game, Memphis big man Marc Gasol admitted that such a huge blowout hurt and that the team had to turn the corner, adding that would only happen is the team believes in the system and the direction of the team.

While that’s well and good, and exactly what you want the leader of your team to say after a huge loss, the truth is the Grizzlies are hardly the title contenders they hoped to be sitting at 2-2 early in the season – holding two huge loses to contenders like Cleveland in the opening game and Golden State last night. Their two lone wins came at the hands of the winless Brooklyn Nets and the winless Indiana Pacers.

The Grizzlies face the Sacramento Kings tonight on the road, which should be a good test of where the Grizzlies really are. Losing to both defending NBA Finals competitors is one thing, but not holding their own against the up-start Kings, who will be without DeMarcus Cousins, is something else.

The Grizz have won the games they should have won, they lost the games so far on the season they should have competed in and didn’t. Tonight’s game is one that should be winnable and should also be a test of whether this version of the Grizzlies has run its course or if Memphis simply is not as good as we thought.

Is It Time To Give Ricky Rubio Some Respect?  For years, the narrative on Ricky Rubio was that he’d never live up to his draft hype, and while few players end up doing that, holding a player to an artificial standard rarely works out. In Rubio’s case, he has been as snake bitten as anyone on the injury front, so that criticism is fair.

However, with a small handful of games under his belt so far on the season, Rubio looks like he’s turned the corner as a player. In fact, he might actually end up living up to some of his draft hype.

The Wolves are currently 2-1 on the season and Rubio has been a big part of that, scoring 17.3 points per game on a career best 45.7 percent from the field. Rubio is knocking in 90 percent of his free throws and handing out 10.3 assists per game.

It’s still very early in the season and, with Rubio’s injury history, it’s smart to temper expectations. However, with how Rubio is executing the pick roll and how aggressively he is finding his teammates, this could end up being a pretty special season for Rubio, especially considering how many had written him off as damaged goods.

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Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.

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