Four games in, and Antetokounmpo is averaging 36.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Four games in, and Antetokounmpo is this year’s Russell Westbrook — a high-volume mega-super-duper-star on a statistical joyride for the ages.
Going off averages (important this early in the season with so few games played), he’s hitting 15.64 on the Player Rater. Good for No. 1 overall.
After an 11-22 campaign in 2016-17, energy is important. So is talent, which Bamba has in spades. Smart, entering his third year on the Forty Acres, is hoping that Bamba — who could have gone anywhere, including college basketball bluebloods Kentucky or Duke — is the domino that vaults Texas basketball into championship contention. Their working relationship might exist for only six more months, but if it goes favorably for the Longhorns, the impact could reverberate for much longer.
“The goal is simple,” Bamba says. “Just win.”
Smart, 40, left VCU two years ago — a program he guided to five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and a Final Four — for Texas “to recruit guys like Mo,” he said. “Not just to recruit, but to coach guys like Mo.”
“If something looks suspicious, don’t dismiss it,” said Snow. “Report it. Let it be investigated.
Griffin has already run 41 pick-and-rolls, by far the most among all traditional big men, according to Second Spectrum data. (DeMarcus Cousins is second, having shepherded 25 in one more game.) He can use literally any teammate as a screener: Gallinari, Jordan, or even one of the little guards. “There is no wrong pick-and-roll combination for our team — except for maybe DJ handling the ball,” Griffin says, laughing.