Evan Turner showed some growing pains as he adjusted to his new team and role in Indiana, while Byron Mullens had to adjust to actually playing now that he is in Philadelphia. With those that didn't moved at the trade deadline, there was some good news to come out of last week. Greg Oden scored a season-high in his comeback, Jared Sullinger returned after missing a couple games due to a concussion, and Mike Conley helped the Grizzlies keep trucking towards a playoff spot after struggling early in the week.
Mike Conley - PG - Memphis Grizzlies
The week may have started off slowly for Conley, but he made up for his struggles early in the week with two strong performances to close out the week. The low point for Conley last week was his 1-10 shooting performance and give turnovers in Memphis' 113-107 loss to Oklahoma City on Friday night.
The struggles for Conley and the Grizzlies looked to have carried over from the Oklahoma City game to the next night's game against the Cavaliers, where Memphis trailed by double digits at half. Conley snapped out of his recent funk in the second half and finished with 22 points and seven assists in the 110-96 win over Cleveland. In his final game of the week, Conley also had seven assists and 20 points as Memphis scored a road win over Washington on Monday night.
Since the All Star break Memphis is 5-2, but hasn't been able to make up any ground on the eighth position in the Western Conference. Conley looks to have shown no I'll effects of the sprained ankle he suffered a few weeks ago. With the depth that the Western Conference has shown, Memphis will need Conley to stay healthy the rest of the way if they have designs on making the playoffs.
Kosta Koufos - F/C - Memphis Grizzlies
The week for Koufos was just another week for the big man. Nothing spectacular, just around 15 to 20 minutes of hard work. After having to get by for a couple months without Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies seemed to have settled into their regular rotation. The biggest takeaway from last week for Koufos was how consistent he was from the field. In four games last week Koufos went 10-13 shooting, with his best shooting game coming in the loss to Oklahoma City where he went 4-4 and finished with nine points.
While mostly Koufos is out there for his defensive presence, and offense he can give the Grizzlies is an added bonus. The best thing for Memphis as they drive for a playoff spot is if they could get Koufos some offensive confidence. With the front court stable of players that Memphis has, a rise in offensive production could help Koufos possibly earn some extra minutes.
Evan Turner - G/F - Indiana Pacers
How lucky must Evan Turner feel now? After spending much of the season with the lowly 76ers, in his first week as a Pacer, Turner was a part of a victory in all four games that he played in. While Indiana may have won every game last week, Turner showed he has an adjustment period to get used to his new surrounding. In his debut against the Lakers on Tuesday night, Turner played 26 minutes and went 6-12 from the field on his way to 13 points in the 118-98 win. On Thursday night against Milwaukee, Turner didn't find quite as much success shooting, only going 2-10 from the field in 20 minutes on the court to finish with eight points and six rebounds as Indiana snuck by with a 101-96 win.
The best game of the week for Turner came as he squared off with another former Buckeye. Saturday night against Boston, Turner again saw 26 minutes on the court, hitting eight of 14 shots to roll up 17 points as Indiana again earned another close victory, winning 102-97. To close out the week Turner struggled on Sunday, scoring only eight points on 2-9 shooting in the 94-91 victory over Utah.
The struggles early on while adjusting to a new team and players has to be expected, but the most important thing to Turner and the Pacers has to be that they kept on winning. With Turner coming off the bench to give them some extra pop, Indiana has only increased their chances of making a deep run into the playoffs, especially in the weak Eastern Conference. While everyone is anticipating a showdown with the Heat in the playoffs, Turner gives the Pacers another weapon to try and help them topple the champs from the last two years.
Jared Sullinger - F/C - Boston Celtics
After suffering a concussion last week, Sullinger didn't miss too much time, returning to the lineup on Saturday against the Pacers. While Sullinger missed Wednesday night's win over Atlanta, he benefited from the schedule being rather light for the Celtics last week. Sullinger did show a little bit of rust in his return, only hitting four of his 12 shots from the field to finish with 10 points and six rebounds in the 102-97 loss to Indiana. The performance wasn't quite the double-double effort that we've become used to from the second-year pro, but that is too be expected after coming back from dealing with a head injury. Also to be considered is the talent that Indiana possesses down low to try and slow down Sullinger. The good news is that Sullinger is back in the lineup and won't be missing an extended period of time.
Byron Mullens - F/C - Philadelphia 76ers
The good news for Mullens is that he saw at least 10 minutes in each of the three games that he played last week. The bad news for Mullens is that he has to play those minutes for the 76ers. While Mullens did see an increase of minutes from what he saw with the Clippers, he didn't exactly light things up for Philadelphia. On Wednesday night in the 101-90 loss to Orlando, Mullens saw 17 minutes but struggled with his shot, only going 3-11 from the field to finish with seven points.
The best game of the week for Mullens came in Saturday night's loss to Washington, but it was more for his efforts on the defensive end. While playing 12 minutes, Mullens grabbed seven rebounds, blocked a shot, and had a steal to go alone with his six points on the offensive end. To close out the week in another loss to Orlando on Sunday, Mullens scored five points and was able to pull down four rebounds.
If he is going to get these kind of minutes the rest of the season in Philadelphia, the next month-plus is going to be crucial for Mullens. While Philadelphia has no shot or interest at making the playoffs, Mullens can use to time to possibly string some good play together to audition for his next NBA destination. It'll be interesting to see how Mullens is able to respond to these increased minutes after spending so much time on the bench in Los Angeles.
Greg Oden - C - Miami Heat
The comeback of Greg Oden continued last week, with his best offensive performance so far this season in the 14 games he has played. On Saturday night against Orlando, Oden played 13 minutes and finished with eight points on 3-3 shooting and totaled four rebounds. Between Saturday's performance, and Monday's where he shot 2-2 in just five minutes on the court, Oden hasn't missed a field goal attempt in his last two games. The Heat didn't really need much from Oden on Monday though, with LeBron James totaling 61 points in the win over Charlotte.
The low point of the week for Oden came in Thursday night's blowout win over the Knicks, where he was almost fouling faster than the speed of light. Oden played nine minutes in the 108-82 win but found the time to pickup five fouls. At least the over-anxious play didn't hurt the Heat as they were well ahead when the foul barrage happened.
The coming week will provide a gauge of how Oden is progressing in his comeback after four years off the court. Miami has four games this coming week against Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, and Washington. With matchup against Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, and the gritty Bulls on the way, it'll be worth keeping an eye on how Oden performs.