With all the schedule anomalies, coach and player changes and general variance, last years results are still probably more informative and will be for a few weeks than this seasons performance, but there are a handful of interesting things going on.
1. Why is Klay Thompson playing like an offensive all-star? The gap between Thompson's scoring last year and through 5 games (7 pts per 36 larger) this year is mostly in his FT rate (4.2 made FTs more per 36). Is this just small sample size theater with a huge game against a historically bad (so far) Laker's D and a bunch of FTs against a shorthanded Houston team, or will he regress?
2. Is Z-bo back? Unnoticed by most but since turning 30 Randolph's efficiency has really dropped. His first two years in Memphis had quality TS marks around 55%, the past 3 years he has been far less effective never breaking 51%. Memphis has needed a scorer since Rudy was run out of town to make them more than a tough out.
3. I Marc Gasol really a high usage player? After spending years as a defensive stud and an offensive contributor he has a USG of 25% through 6 games- substantially higher than last years 21.7 mark and his previous career high. Can he do it on both ends of the floor while still anchoring a top 4 defense?
4. Can the Grizz get home court? They have been the tough out going 7 games in 3 of 4 postseasons and the 4th year making the conference finals. HC would be huge for them in the postseason, and starting out 6-1 with 5 away games is the first step.
5. Is Sacramento's defense good? Currently #9 riding Gay and Cousins could they keep a top 10 D up or will this all fall apart. Gay has been a starter on quality Ds before, Cousins looks strong and quick, and in position. with no other high end defenders on the roster it doesn't seem like this can last, but maybe?
6. Will Josh Smith be historically bad around the rim? In the 3 pt era no player has played 1,000 mins, shot 5 FTs per 36 and ended up with a FG% under 41. This makes sense as averaging that many FTs invariably means you are taking shots near the rim, and other teams fear you enough to contest those shots. Josh Smith is averaging 7 FTA per 36, is on pace to play 1,000 mins by game 30, and is shooting, dun dun dun, 32% from the floor. His 3par and FT rates are right where van gundy wants them, but for some reason he can't finish.