While their teams haven't exactly lit it up on the court yet, Mike Conley, Evan Turner, and Jared Sullinger are all on pace to set career-highs in scoring. Now the true test will be if the trio of players can keep up the strong start that they have gotten off to. With those three off to such a hot start, there needs to be someone not having such a good season to even things out, and that someone is Byron Mullens. It feels like Mullens is this year's Daequan Cook. So far during the young season Mullens is spending a lot of time on the bench, much like Cook did last year,
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies
While it was a relatively light week for Memphis with only two games, it didn't stop Conley from having a couple of his best games of the young season. The Grizzlies split the two games they played, beating Boston on the road Wednesday night and losing to Brooklyn at the FedEx Forum on Saturday night. In the victory over Boston, Conley scored 14 points and dished out 9 assists. The next time out against Brooklyn saw Conley put up even better numbers, scoring 16 points and tying a season-high with 10 assists, but it wasn't quite enough to push Memphis to victory. Through 16 games this season Conley is scoring nearly four points per game more than his previous career-high of 14.6 PPG that he put in last year. Conley has really stepped up his game with the Grizzlies playing in what might very well could be the toughest division in the NBA. A 8-8 record so far on the season has Memphis sitting in last place in the Southwest Division, which currently is the only division in the NBA that has all of its teams sitting at .500 or better.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies
With Marc Gasol still on the mend, last week saw a significant increase in the minutes that Kosta Koufos saw on the floor. In the first 14 games of the season Koufos had only saw more than 30 minutes of floor time once on the season, which happened on November 25th against the Rockets when Koufos played 31 minutes. On Wednesday night against Boston Koufos was on the floor for 35 minutes, and followed that up with 40 minutes against Brooklyn. Koufos made the most of his minutes, nearly registering double-doubles in both games. Against Boston, Koufos scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and blocked three shots. In the loss to Brooklyn, Koufos blocked another three shots, and pulled down 13 rebounds to go along with 7 points. Over his last three games Koufos has been a real force on the boards, averaging 12.3 rebounds/game during that span.
Evan Turner - G/F - Philadelphia 76ers
After a surprising early start to the season, Philadelphia has been recently been playing a lot like many people thought they would coming into the season. The 76ers have lost eight of their last nine, but it hasn't been the fault of Evan Turner. In the 105-94 loss to Orlando on Wednesday night, Turner nearly posted a triple double, scoring 17 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out 8 assists. The other two losses on the week for Philadelphia saw Turner score at least 20 points in both games. Being the big dog on a bad team has allowed Turner to average 21.3 PPG so far this season, significantly higher than his previous career-high of 13.3 PPG. which he averaged last year. It feels like only a matter of time before Turner is traded since he is in the last year of his contract, but until then he is doing a great job at increasing his trade value.
Jared Sullinger - F/C - Boston Celtics
So far, so good on the insertion of Jared Sullinger into the Boston Celtics starting lineup. The most surprising aspect of Sullinger's play lately has been the success he has had from behind the arc. In three games last week Sullinger went 7-13 from three-point range, including scoring all 12 points in the victory against Cleveland on Friday night for long range. The other two games that Boston played last week saw Sullinger post double-doubles in losing efforts. Against Memphis on Wednesday night Sullinger went for 23 points and 12 rebounds, but Mike Conley and Kosta Koufos got the better of Sullinger. The other double-double that Sullinger notched last week came in the loss to Milwaukee on Saturday night, where he scored 21 points and notched 14 rebounds. Currently Boston is sitting behind Toronto in the woeful Atlantic Division, where no team is currently above .500.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Los Angeles Clippers
The most recent week was even quieter than normal on the Byron Mullens news front, as he didn't appear in any of the three games that the Clippers played. The lack of court time lately hasn't been due to any sort of injury to Mullens, but it has been the dreaded DNP-coach's decision. Since joining the Clippers in the offseason, Mullens has struggled to find his role on Doc Rivers' squad, and there aren't any signs that show things changing anytime soon for the Canal Winchester native.