Five player surprises this NBA season

Sean Highkin Roar Rookie

By Sean Highkin, Sean Highkin is a Roar Rookie

 , ,

7 Have your say

    Many notable players changed teams this NBA off-season, with some (Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin, Andre Iguodala, James Harden) making more headlines than others.

    However, some of the less talked about players who moved during the summer have had significant impacts on their new teams. Here are five players who flew under the radar of the bigger names in the news, but their contributions have so far been outstanding:

    Ronnie Brewer, New York Knicks

    At the time of writing, the Knicks remain the only unbeaten team in the NBA. Signed for one year to a minimum-salary deal, journeyman guard Ronnie Brewer was only intended to function as a stopgap while Iman Shumpert recovers from knee surgery.

    However, Brewer has been much more than that for the Knicks in the early going. He’s done a little of everything: he’s shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 53.8 percent on three-point range; he rebounds the ball extremely well for a guard, averaging seven boards per game; and he’s been stellar defensively as well, allowing just 94 points per 100 possessions.

    O.J. Mayo, Dallas Mavericks

    Mayo is something of an enigma. The third overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft, he struggled through his first four seasons in Memphis to find minutes and produce consistently. It’s been a different story in Dallas.

    As a starter, he’s averaging 21.9 points per game while shooting with uncharacteristic efficiency. His scoring has been responsible in part for an impressive 4-3 start for the Mavericks, who are without Dirk Nowitzki.

    Kevin Martin, Oklahoma City Thunder

    When the Thunder traded James Harden to the Rockets shortly before the start of the season, Martin was seen as a mere throw-in to make the deal work financially. He’s always been known as a prolific scorer, but there was skepticism as to how he would respond to taking a backseat to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

    As it turns out, Martin has been filling Harden’s sixth-man role about as well as anyone could have hoped. He isn’t the playmaker Harden is, but he’s shooting the lights out and averaging 17.1 points per game off the bench.

    Omer Asik, Houston Rockets

    The Rockets signed Turkish center Omer Asik to a three-year deal this summer, taking the gamble that the player who had been a defensive force backing up Joakim Noah in Chicago would be able to do the same in a starting role. So far the risk is paying off big.

    As a defender, he’s allowing a mere 94 points per 100 possessions to his opponents, and he’s pulling down 12.8 rebounds per game. Although he’s primarily known as an impact player on defense, Asik’s offensive game has improved this season as well.

    He has proven himself capable of setting effective screens for Houston’s high-octane Jeremy Lin/James Harden backcourt. With players like that handling the bulk of the scoring, Asik is a perfect fit anchoring the defense.

    Carl Landry, Golden State Warriors

    Despite dealing with injuries to Andrew Bogut and Brandon Rush, the Warriors have proven to be a surprisingly deep and cohesive team so far. With Bogut out, veteran power forward Carl Landry has capably picked up some of the frontcourt slack.

    After bouncing around Houston, Sacramento and New Orleans for much of his career, he signed a one-year deal this summer with Golden State, and it appears he may have found a permanent home.

    He’s provided a scoring and rebounding spark off the bench, averaging 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game for the Warriors.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (7)

    • November 14th 2012 @ 2:21pm
      astro said | November 14th 2012 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

      Don’t know if I’d call Kevin Martin a “mere throw-in” for the Harden trade!

      He was the main piece the Thunder obtained in that trade and has been a strong scorer throughout his career. Cole Aldrich was the throw-in…

    • November 14th 2012 @ 8:30pm
      WhatUsername said | November 14th 2012 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

      Don’t worry, OJ’s going back to his normal 4 for 14 shooting ways.

      Oh the perils of being a Dallas fan.

      • November 14th 2012 @ 9:10pm
        melo-drama said | November 14th 2012 @ 9:10pm | ! Report

        Nah Memphis just didnt like Mayo, it’s that same with many pure scorers Gordon, JR Smith…. Allot of coaches dont have time for them… Mayo’s points are being exagerated cause its a dirkless mav’s but he’s shooting that 3 ball real well and making very good contributions off the ball as well, you should be a better Mav’s supporter dude….

    • November 14th 2012 @ 8:34pm
      melo-drama said | November 14th 2012 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

      This year has been full of surprises,
      Larry Sanders (Bucks)
      Andrei Kirilenko (Wolves)
      Aaron Afflalo (Magic)
      Raymond Felton (Knicks)
      E’Twuan Moore (Magic)
      the BIG man Kosta Koufos (Nuggets)
      Ben Gordon (Bobcats)
      Demar DeRozan (Raptors)

      Lots of baskets of surprises!

    • November 14th 2012 @ 8:34pm
      melo-drama said | November 14th 2012 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

      Before he got Injured,

      Kyle Lowry (Raptors)

    • November 14th 2012 @ 10:48pm
      Swampy said | November 14th 2012 @ 10:48pm | ! Report

      Andrei Kirilenko and Aaron Affalo are hardly surprises. Kirilenko’s ability is well known and he was quite the star at Utah before losing interest temporarily in the NBA. Affalo, in Denver, showed that he could produce when given minutes.

      My surprise this year, along with the author’s picks, is Demarcus Cousins.
      He has always had loads of talent but seemed a complete headcase. There wouldn’t be a GM in the league who’s ears wouldn’t prick up if the Kings put Cousins name on the trade table.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

      • November 15th 2012 @ 1:19am
        melo-drama said | November 15th 2012 @ 1:19am | ! Report

        DeMarcus Cousins he’s been on the rise since his rookie year, Aaron Afflalo numbers were alright at Denver but he’s taken on the offence at Orlando and is doing it quite well all though his numbers I only pointed out players that were either apart of a trade or have picked up their numbers significantly since last season.
        Also don’t get me started on DeMarcus Cousins i’ve been watching him since Kentucky, he is in my eyes a verified All Star he’s not a surprise just like Monroe isn’t did you see his Triple Double last week? Maybe not….. Anyone who averaged a double double last season is going to go “wow omg im surprised!!” if you catch reality…….
        Kirilenko lol your kidding right he got injured then injured again then Utah got sick of him and didnt play him…. he’s putting up better numbers then he has in about 8 years….. thats a surprise…..
        Landry in my opinion is the most non-wow factor in this article he’s always put up decent numbers the clincher for him though was he played 13 mins and had 19points 9 rebounds from 8-8 shooting it’s like why isnt this guys starting!! No GSW have a legit small team which is fun to watch with Lee, Landry Barnes Thompson and Curry…..

        Anyway maybe know what your talking about before you speak…..

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    , ,