TSN's Jack Armstrong offers his thoughts on the presence of Andre Iguodala in Denver, the solid addition of Chandler Parsons in Houston, Ed Davis' tough transition in Memphis, the consistency of David West in Indiana and the respect Carl Landry deserves in Golden State.
1. Andre Iguodala (Nuggets): His team has really come on of late after a brutal early road-heavy schedule and sits at 31-18. His numbers might not wow you at 13.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.6 apg and 1.6 steals pg but his presence has put them in a position to be much better guarding opposing wing players with him taking on that nightly difficult assignment. This is a team that plays a fast pace so sometimes their stats are a bit skewed but when I watch them, I see an improved team with confidence. Adding Iguodala has given them a steady/professional team-first guy who values the game in every aspect. A solid pickup.
2. Chandler Parsons (Rockets): Big night for the Rockets making 3's vs. the Warriors and every time I watch the Rockets, I shake my head a bit when I watch Parsons. I liked his game at Florida but felt he'd be a nice player overseas. How wrong I was. He has become a solid NBA player. He's averaging 14.4 ppg and 5.8 rpg with 3.7 apg. He's a skilled guy shooting 47 per cent from the field and 37 per cent from 3-point range. You look at him and say he's too skinny and not quick enough but he knows how to play and fits their style of play. He's a pretty good defender with a nice degree of toughness and okay lateral quickness who will stick his nose in and compete and contest shots. A steal for GM Daryl Morey.
3. Ed Davis (Grizzlies): He's got to be shaking his head. He was having a career year with the Raptors and gets traded to a front court-heavy team with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol and his minutes are non-existent. He's played a grand total of 15 minutes in his first two games with his new team. Needless to say, he needs significant court time to keep improving and gaining confidence. In addition, it's going to hurt his value on the market with his numbers dropping dramatically. He's with a much better team and the playing time will be tough to come by. I hope for his sake, he keeps his head up and stays after it. Easy for a young player to get discouraged. He's made major steps in his improvement. He can't forget what got him there and has to stay ready and keep working on his strength and overall skill set. His time will come again. Be ready and be professional.
4. David West (Pacers): He's your classic 'Steady Eddie'. Produces every night and is a tough hard-nosed competitor. No flash to his game, all he does is outwork you. Has had another good season at 17.2ppg and 7.7rpg. Shoots it effectively at 49 per cent with crafty back-to-the-basket moves and consistent mid-range game 17 feet and in. An undersized PF who takes no prisoners with his physical play. Old school game. Has had a good career in both New Orleans and Indy and I give former president Larry Bird a lot of credit for seeing what West could bring to the team. Coaches always look for reliable/productive guys they can trust to show up every night and get it done. He does just that.
5. Carl Landry (Warriors): Lots of attention on Steph Curry and David Lee on this team and this guy could start for lots of teams but is more than willing to come off the bench and give his team a lift every night. He and Jarrett Jack have been terrific for coach Mark Jackson. Landry averages 11.9ppg and 6.6rpg and shoots 53 per cent. He's as tough as they come. He sets hard screens, is a very physical interior player and is relentless on the glass. Not easy to get guys who could be getting bigger stats to sacrifice but he's an example of a guy that puts winning above all else. Good for him; he's a highly respected guy in the league because of it.