NBA Players of the Week

Card Ladder
Nov 23, 20214 min read

Card Ladder’s player of the week will be a new weekly blog post which showcases four of the top players in the NBA the prior week. When selecting players we look at several statistics including; record, points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game. Although the players' weekly market change will not be a factor in selecting players, we will be looking at how their play impacted it.

Note: If you do not see a player you think should have made it, they might have been featured on the prior week's blog!

Zach Lavine:

Record: 3-1

Points: 28

Field Goal %: 49%

Rebounds: 6

Assists: 4

Zach Lavine replaced Devin Booker as the super talented player who had never played a minute of meaningful basketball in his career. Well that all looks like it's going to change this year as the Bulls continue to thrash opponents. Although Demar has gotten a lot of the attention, its in large part as it was unexpected as how controversial and doubted the signing he was. We all knew Lavine could ball but the question was if he could do it on a top team.

Lavine’s market is up overall in the last 3 months but is still down from the February and March boom of 2021. The basketball market is in a weird place right now as the MLB season just ended and the NFL is at week 11. Prior to the boom of 2020 leading up to the June bubble, the basketball market got hot around the all star break and calmed down after the first round of the playoffs. If the Bulls continue on their rampage then we should expect Lavine’s market to possibly reach its once all time high.

Giannis Antetokounmpo:

Record: 3-0

Points: 33

Field Goal %: 58%

Rebounds: 16

Assists: 5

Blocks: 3

Steals: 2

Not only did Giannis have a monstrous stat line the Bucks also went 3-0 during this week. Giannis has now been putting up stat lines like this for so long that people have become numb to him averaging 33/16/5/5/3… For some players those are individual game season highs let alone averages across one week.

Looking at Giannis’ market he seems to be the one player that regardless of the season his market is up overall. The manipulation in the summer of 2020 was similar to the Davis market but unlike Davis, Giannis has played so well that his market has just continuously went up and up. With the Nets all over the place this year and the Bulls being together for just one year, the Bucks should be the favorites once more to make it out the East.

Jayson Tatum:

Record: 3-1

Points: 32

Field Goal %: 48%

Rebounds: 9

Assists: 4

Blocks: 1

Steals: 1

While Jaylen Brown was out, Tatum with the help of Schroeder played their hearts out leading the Celtics to a 3-1 record. This 3-1 record includes the beatdown of the Lakers with LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook. Tatum’s season has been shaky with performances all over the place which often leave many scratching their heads. Could it be that Tatum plays better without Brown? Possibly but we definitely need to wait and see how the Celtics do when Brown comes back.

Looking at Tatum’s market it is at an all time high, the young star has been a fan favorite since entering the league. Many heads were turned when as a rookie he led the Celtics to the conference finals in 2018 and lost to the LeCavaliers in 7 games. Tatum’s next step in his career would be winning an MVP or championship but until then he will just be another elite scoring superstar. There is nothing wrong with that but in a growing impatient market, people do not like waiting for that to happen.

James Harden:

Record: 2-1

Points: 29

Field Goal % 38%

Rebounds: 8

Assists: 6

Blocks: 1

Steals: 2

Is Harden back? Possibly but this week is not a big enough sample size to tell if Harden has adjusted to the rule change. The reason he was selected was not because he was a top 4 player this last week but rather because he finally averaged 25+ PPG. The 38% field goal percentage is horrendous but averaging 14 free throw attempts per game it's almost as if things are back to normal. If Harden can continue to get to the line then the rest of the floor will open up as teams can no longer play up on him.

Looking at Harden’s market it's the lowest it's been since February of 2021 which is the month after he was traded to the Nets. Although Harden is not a very popular player compared to classmate Stephen Curry he still does sell extremely well and is regarded as a top 5 player of the 2010s. If Harden can return to his former glory of getting the free throw line while shooting over 45% then the Nets should be viewed as a serious contender even without Kyrie.