Tag:Eric Gordon
Posted on: December 12, 2011 9:25 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 9:28 pm
 

NBA, Hornets resurrect Paul talks with Clippers

Posted by Ben Golliver

chris-paul-hornets-clippers

The ceaseless on-again, off-again trade talks involving New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul are reportedly back on. Monday night, round two with the Los Angeles Clippers commenced.

ESPN.com reported that talks between the league-owned Hornets and Clippers have officially resurrected after being declared dead earlier on Monday.
After a seemingly imminent trade routing Paul to the Clippers collapsed earlier Monday, sources told ESPN.com that the league officials negotiating on the Hornets' behalf had aggressively re-engaged the Clippers in talks in hopes of completing a deal as soon as Tuesday.

The talks hit an impasse earlier Monday when the Clippers decided that the league's asking price for the All-Star guard was too high. But Clippers general manager Neil Olshey said Monday that the trade could be revived if some of the parameters change. And a source close to the process told ESPN that league officials also do not see talks with the Clippers as "over."

The league-owned Hornets and the Clippers could not complete their proposed Chris Paul trade because the Clippers decided the asking price was too high. The NBA remains "hopeful," according to the source, that Paul's fate can resolved "soon."
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that a source said: "The league has no choice. They have nowhere else to go."

Earlier trade talks had the Clippers sending center Chris Kaman, point guard Eric Bledsoe, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and the Minnesota Timberwolves' 2012 first round pick pick to the Hornets for Paul. Other reported versions of the trade talks also included guard Eric Gordon. The talks reportedly fell apart when the Clippers felt NBA commissioner David Stern, who possesses final authority on personnel moves for the Hornets, was asking too high a price for Paul.

Some variation of the reported package would give the paper-thin Hornets multiple players to plug in as starters plus an excellent building block chip in the 2012 pick. The Clippers are looking to find a premier perimeter player to pair with forward sensation Blake Griffin, recently re-signed center DeAndre Jordan and, ideally, retain Gordon, who is a potential future All-Star at shooting guard. 

The Clippers also claimed veteran point guard Chauncey Billups in an amnesty bidding pool on Monday.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 4:00 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Clippers-Hornets Chris Paul deal is 'dead'



By Matt Moore
 

2:25 p.m.: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the deal has "died" according to a source. The consensus among reports is that the league demanded too much. At this point it's unclear what exactly they're looking for since any combination on the table was good enough to justify the trade. The nonsense continues. 

1:52 p.m.:
Now, just like that, according to multiple outlets, the deal is pretty much off. Apparently the NBA's asking price is just far too steep for the Clippers.

10:10 a.m.:
And the confusion continues. Yahoo now reports Gordon is not included in the deal, as the L.A. Times reported last night. No word on Bledsoe. 

Update 9:00 a.m.
: ESPN is reporting that A.  Eric Gordon is included in the package and B. Eric Bledsoe is not, which may cause the league to reject. Neither of these statements make sense, so something must get clarified in the next few hours. We'll keep you updated. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that the L.A. Clippers are "close" to a deal for Chris Paul, just days after talks with the Lakers fell apart and less than a week after the league rejected an offer from the Lakers agreed to in a three-way with New Orleans and Houston. 
The Clippers and the New Orleans Hornets were working vigorously Sunday night to consummate a blockbuster deal that would send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers' cross-town rivals, said two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The deal hasn't been completed, but both sides were in the closing stages of the negotiations.

The Clippers would send the Hornets center Chris Kaman, backup second-year guard Eric Bledsoe, second-year forward Al-Farouq Aminu and the No. 1 draft pick they got from the Minnesota Timberwolves that is unprotected in the 2012 draft, considered to be one of the best in recent years.

Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the NBA have to sign off on the deal.
via Clippers are close to deal for Chris Paul with Hornets - latimes.com.

SI.com notes that Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe told associates that he was headed to New Orleans

A huge element here is that Eric Gordon is not included in the deal as constructed, which leads to two questions: 

A. Is that enough for the league not to block the trade?

B. How good would that team be?

In reverse, you'd be looking at the best pure point guard in the league teamed with the most devastating pick and roll power forward in the conference and a near-All-Star perimeter scorer. In, short, it's terrifying how instantly good that team gets, with DeAndre Jordan (should the Clippers match the $44 million offer sheet from Golden State) and Caron Butler (even criminally overpaid). The Clippers would shake off their reputation for once.

But is it enough? The absence of Gordon might be a deal breaker. He's a young star. Great. Excellent. Near All-Star. But not an All-Star, and not worth CP3. His absence isn't justified by his talent, but his talent might necessitate his involvement.

The deal would have huge ramifications across the league, particularly for teams like Boston and Los Angeles, both vying for the All-Star point guard. The Hornets would get the kind of package they actually need, versus the veteran platter of above-average-but-not-great, aging players they were picking up in the Lakers-Rockets tree-way. Al Farouq-Amnu is a hyper-athletic freak with polish, Bledsoe showed great flashes last year, and Kaman would serve as an excellent expiring contract at the deadline. The picks they would pick up would be in one of the best draft classes in the past decade, and they could very well end up with two top-five picks in a stellar class. A combination of Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal or Harrison Barnes, for example, could put New Orleans on the path to recovery very quickly. 

In short, both teams would win here, even if the package doesn't "seem" better.  

The only question now is if they can cross the finish line and shock the world. The Clippers are on the verge of changing the culture of the NBA with three little characters: CP3.
Posted on: December 11, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 7:55 pm
 

Clippers on Chris Paul's list?

Posted by Royce Young

Chris Paul might be going to Los Angeles after all. Might even be playing in Staples Center.

No, not with the Lakers, but with their roommate, the Los Angeles Clippers. According to ESPN.com, the Clips are on a short list of teams Paul would approve of being traded to Los Angeles to team up with Blake Griffin. But that's only if the Lakers or Knicks can't swing a deal for him. Which at this point, appears unlikely.

The Lakers had a three-way deal worked out to bring Paul to Los Angeles before David Stern and the NBA vetoed it for so-called "basketball reasons." Talks re-engaged, but felt apart again Saturday night when the Hornets reportedly asked for too much. A piece in the trade, Lamar Odom, was then sent to Dallas for a trade exception, essentially busting any chance a deal would go through.

The Clippers understand though that it's a risk to trade for Paul as any team that acquires him runs the risk of him not signing an extension. He likely wouldn't sign one as under the new collective bargaining agreement rules, it's better for a player to wait until his deal runs out and sign a contract in free agency.

Interesting twist to that in this case though: The Clippers aren't asking for Paul to sign an extension yet. All they want is for him to pick up the player option on his contract for 2012-13. That would postpone his free agency one more year. And if CP3 is willing to do that, the Clippers would evidently be open to deal their top two most highly prized assets in Eric Gordon and Minnesota's unprotected 2012 No. 1 pick.

That's very important stuff.

The only way anyone can really see the Clippers landing Paul would be to part with Gordon and the Wolves unprotected pick. And if the Clips were willing to part with those, it's a very real possibility that CP3 could be headed to Clipperland sometime this week.

According to the report, the Hornets have already asked the Clippers for Gordon, Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe, Al-Farouq Aminu and at least two future first-round picks for CP3. That's a whole lot of cheese right there. Probably a little too steep for the Clippers, in fact.

But that's more the deal the league evidently is interested in after vetoing the original deal. The original three-way trade with Houston that brought Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and Kevin Martin to New Orleans allowed the Hornets to stay competitive. This new scenario allows them to get younger and rebuild, which apparently is the league's desire.

The Clippers deal is better in my mind, but it's a matter of if the Clips are willing to pay that kind of price just to get Paul for maybe two seasons. Teaming him with Blake Griffin is of course a very exciting prospect, but Gordon is a top 10 scorer with a ton of upside still, Minnesota's pick is maybe the most valuable asset in the league (it could very well turn into Anthony Davis), and Eric Bledsoe is a promising young point guard. That's a whole lot to pay, even for a player of CP3's caliber.

If the Hornets were able to swing this deal, I would give it up to Stern and the league, because it's undeniably better. But it's a big if at this point. Mainly because we're talking about the Clippers here and the fact that Chris Paul would have to buy into them long-term. Seems pretty iffy still to me.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 3:51 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Clippers sign Caron Butler for 3 years, $24M

By Matt Moore  

Caron Butler (Getty Images)Two days ago the Clippers were considered a potential front-runner in the race for Chris Paul. Thursday, they completed the most Clipper-esque move they could make. David Aldridge of NBA.com reports that the Clippers have signed the 31-year-old, coming-off-knee-surgery Caron Butler to a three-year, $24 million deal. 

Yup, still the Clippers.

Butler has toned down some of his worst temperments in recent years. He's a little easier on the trigger finger, works hard in a defensive scheme, has veteran experience and was a difference maker on the Mavs last season before he went down with knee surgery. Unfortunately, he's 31, and he went down with knee surgery.

The offers on the table for Butler as of Wednesday included the $5 million Mid-Level Exception from either the Spurs or Bulls, to be a competent role player on a championship contender, or $7 million to go to either the Nets or Clippers.

The Clippers went one million dollars above that to make sure they got Butler. Alongside Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin, Butler will be one of the veteran linchpins for a team that needed to improve on both ends of the floor. 

In unrelated news, the NBA Board of Governors was expected to vote to approve the new CBA deal which they agreed to with the NBPA (also voting Thursday) after a five-month lockout in an effort by owners to control wasteful spending. 

Wocka wocka wocka.

Posted on: August 15, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 5:56 pm
 

The EOB Elite 100, 40-31: Middle men

Posted by Royce Young



This is the seventh segment of the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Elite 100, counting down the top-100 players in the NBA. 

Check out the earlier installments: 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41

Once you break the top 50, you start getting good players. Former All-Stars, solid veterans and some up-and-comers. But the top 40, that's when you start breaking into some legit talent. Last season's Sixth Man Lamar Odom. A young stud Eric Gordon. A new champion in Tyson Chandler. Talents like Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, Monta Ellis and Marc Gasol. It's not a list full of superstars, but there's no denying these guys are good. With a bunch of guys that easily could make a leap at any moment.

As such, we march on towards No. 1 with 40-31.

40. Gerald Wallace, SF, age 29, Portland Trail Blazers
2011 stats: 15.7 ppg, 8.0 apg, 2.4 apg, 45.4 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 16.28 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 48, 33, 48


Hard to figure Gerald Wallace sometimes. I'm not sure he's ever really truly found a place in this league. Not in the sense of fitting on a roster, but just in where he lines up with other good players. He's not just a defender. But he's not that great of an offensive player. He's not a star you build around. But he's someone you pay almost like he is.

Wallace is an elite defender, frustrating players like Kevin Durant and LeBron James often, but he also has lit up the scoreboard. His outside touch is a bit erratic and he mainly gets it done by out working other players. He's relentless on the glass, attacks mercilessly in the paint and goes hard at his opponent non-stop. He has the talent, but has never possessed the polish. Still, he's certainly on of the NBA's top 50 players.


39. Monta Ellis, PG, age 24, Golden State Warriors
2011 stats: 24.1 ppg, 5.6 apg, 3.5 rpg, 2.1 spg, 45.1 FG%, 36.1 3P%, 18.69 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 35, 48, 42

Oh, Moped Ellis. Such a talented, gifted scorer. But for many a reason, such a frustrating player. He's never seen a shot past the halfcourt line he didn't like. Efficiency isn't exactly his calling card, nor is his defense. He gambles on both ends, plays almost in his own world and takes too much responsibility offensively.

But man, once he gets going, he gets going. He doesn't exactly play under a defined position (Point guard? Shooting guard? I think Ellis would place himself just as "baller guard.") but wherever he ends up on a given night he's a threat to go for 40. It might come on 31 shots, but he can carry a team on his own. I wouldn't exactly say he's the type of player that should be better, but there's no denying his talent. He's probably about the best player he can be, or at least the player he wants to be. Above average, gifted in specific areas but nothing premier.

38. Danny Granger, SF, age 28, Indiana Pacers
2011 stats: 20.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 42.5 FG%, 38.6 3P%, 17.89 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 47, 36, 37

At a time, it looked like Indiana might have stumbled onto a true building block star. Granger was a low first rounder but broke out in 2008-09 averaging 25.8 a game. He was efficient, shot high percentages and as a result, got himself a nice little contract extension from Larry Bird.

It's not fair to say he regressed or anything -- he's been good the past two years -- but he hasn't exactly continued his trend upward toward a star player. He made one All-Star team in 2009 but since then has just been kind of in that group of "Oh yeah him, he's not a bad player." He definitely didn't step up for the Pacers in the postseason last year against the Bulls, fading into oblivion in the fourth quarter of virtually every game. Granger's a quality scorer and certainly a top 40 player. But it's become pretty obvious that he's not an alpha player.

37. Andrew Bogut, C, age 26, Milwaukee Bucks
2011 stats: 12.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.6 bpg, 49.5 FG%, 44.2 FT%
Composite rankings (random order):
46, 35, 30

Injuries just aren't fair. Not that Bogut would otherwise be an elite center, but injuries have certainly hurt him (get it?). His 2009-10 season was off to an excellent start, as were his team, but a nasty elbow injury sidelined him for the last 13 games and the playoffs. Plus that injury greatly affected him last year.

Bogut is consistently in the top five in blocked shots each year, passes the ball well and plays his position solidly. He's never been a star type of player which is what you might expect from someone drafted No. 1 overall, but Bogut's been good. Not great, but good. He's averaged a double-double for three consecutive season -- injuries be damned -- and still turned in a decent 2010-11 despite playing with one arm. If he gets everything back to full strength, he's one of the East's top three big men. But until then, he's just an above average center.

36. Eric Gordon, SG, age 22, Los Angeles Clippers
2011 stats: 22.3 ppg, 4.4 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 spg, 45.0 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 18.56 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 40, 40, 27

Honestly, 37 feels a tad low for Gordon. Last season was derailed a bit by a wrist injury for him because before it, he was off to a pretty torrid scoring pace. Remember: He's just 22. With Blake Griffin as the featured player and someone defenses are forced to focus on constantly, Gordon is clear to bomb away from deep, where he shot a solid 36.4 percent.

But don't think that's all he is. He's really one of the game's most underrated slashers and finishers. He's great with both hands and with his stocky, strong frame, he takes contact extremely well in the paint. I don't know if Gordon will ever be an elite scorer per se, but he's certainly a threat to average around 25 a game for multiple seasons.

35. Rudy Gay, SF, age 24, Memphis Grizzlies
2011 stats: 19.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 47.1 FG%, 39.6 3P%, 17.88 PER
Composite rankings: 39, 34, 33


So he was overpaid last summer. And then he got hurt. And then the Grizzlies played really, really good without him. But don't think for a second Rudy Gay isn't a pretty darn good player. He's sort of Kevin Durant lite -- long, athletic and has a pretty good outside touch. The biggest issue has always been consistency. He'll score an effortless 30 one night and then disappear the next with 12 on 4-13 shooting. There's going to be a question of how he'll respond from a major injury, but he's young and is still a centerpiece for the Grizzlies. He sits at 39 now, but there's no reason that next summer he could leap 20 spots.

34. Tyson Chandler, C, age 28, Dallas Mavericks
2011 stats: 10.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 65.4 FG%, 18.45 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 26, 38, 39

Players like Chandler have taught us that there's a premium on defense. Before the NBA Finals, he was probably a fringe top 60 guy. But after completely shutting off the paint for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for six games as his Mavs put away a title, his stock skyrocketed. He's no longer just the guy that catches oops and tries to shake the goal around just a little too much on a routine dunk. He's a true defensive enforcer and not just because he blocks shots. He's aggressive, smart and understands help defense as well as any big man in the league.

Chandler's not, nor has he ever been, a big offensive player. He's going to score off of oops, putbacks and easy hoops under the basket. But he's a double-double guy, a defensive stopper and someone that can impact the game -- or a championship series -- in a major way.

33. Lamar Odom, PF, age 31, Los Angeles Lakers
2011 stats: 14.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, 53.0 FG%, 38.2 3P%, 19.50 PER
Composite rankings: 31, 31, 40


Being ranked as the 34th best overall player in today's NBA is a pretty good deal. But for Lamar Odom, that's just horribly disappointing. And that's not to say HE'S disappointing. He just won a well deserved Sixth Man of the Year trophy. But a player with his skillset, he athletic ability and his talent should easily be in the top 20. Probably the top 10.

Odom really is a one-of-a-kind. He can easily slide into three, four positions and sometimes all five positions effortlessly, plays defense, handles the ball, passes, shoots, rebounds, scores -- he's got the total package. Which is pretty stinking rare for a dude 6-10. When he was taken fourth overall in 1999 by the Clippers, people saw him as the next evolution in basketball. A point forward with the ability to do it all. And no doubt, he's always been good. But not quite as good as he should've been.

The fact he's known more for a stupid reality show than his basketball ability kind of says it all. If this were a list ranking the top 100 most gifted players in the NBA, it would be hard to keep Odom out of the top 10. But he's never really lived up to his own talent which is why he settles in at 34. Not a bad place to be, unless, well, you're Lamar Odom.

32. Kevin Martin, SG, age 28, Houston Rockets
2011 stats: 23.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 43.6 FG%, 8.4 FTA per game, 21.46 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 29, 59, 20

Who wants a guy that can routinely score 29 points on 14 shots? What's that, everyone? Martin has kind of become the overlooked scoring star, which started early in his time with the Kings. He's more the guy with the weird shot and skinny frame that puts up 25 a night without much resistance. Martin is that player who hits a 3 in the second half against your team and you look at the box score and see he has 32 and you think, "What the heck, I remember him scoring like twice."

Martin never quite graduated to that next level star though. Maybe it's a fault of his own, maybe it's just a lack of overall respect for what he does and how he does it. But it's hard to make a name for yourself when your calling card is 18 points on eight shots over 30 points on 22. It shouldn't be how things work, but that's just kind of the way it is.

31. Marc Gasol, C, age 26, Memphis Grizzlies
2011 stats: 11.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 52.7 FG%, 16.88 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 41, 32, 26

Here's how you know Marc Gasol has gone from forgotten little brother to a top NBA big man: It's a legit question to ask if he's better than Pau. And not just in a whispered way. It's truly a toss up now.

With him and Zach Randolph tag-teaming inside for the Grizzlies, Memphis went on an improbable run not just into the playoffs, but well into May before bowing out in seven games to Oklahoma City. Gasol's numbers won't blow you away -- 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds per game -- but it's more about what you see. You see a gifted center that is developing into a go-to option on the block. You see a center who has played just three seasons and is only 26 getting better game-by-game. You see a center that could potentially be All-Star material soon.

I don't really know where to place Gasol's ceiling (15 points, 10 rebounds?) and while he's probably not as good as brother Pau -- and may not ever be -- the fact we're even wondering tells you enough about why he's in the top 35.
Posted on: March 6, 2011 1:09 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Eric Gordon re-injures wrist, to miss games

Posted by Royce Young

Before guard Eric Gordon went down with a wrist injury, the Clippers were playing pretty good. Not great, but they were beating teams at home and statying competitive against everyone.

Without Gordon though who injured the wrist on Jan. 22, the Clips went just 4-14. Blake Griffin has been sizzle for the Clippers, but Gordon is what makes them good. Well, not "good" but at least competitive. He leads the team averaging 23.7 points per game.

He returned last week (with a mohawk!) after missing a month but against Denver Saturday, he reinjured the wrist after a hard foul from Timofey Mozgov. Gordon came down hard on the wrist and immediately went to the locker room and did not return.

It may just be a minor setback with Gordon missing only a game or two, but coach Vinny Del Negro seemed convinced Gordon would miss at least some time.

“He’ll stay back here. He’s got a bone fracture, a bone chip," Del Negro told the LA Times. "Don’t ask me the correct [terminology]. The words are too long for me to pronounce. Ask Jasen Powell, ask the medical staff. But he will be out. How long, I don’t know. But it’s just real frustrating. I feel bad for Eric, but other guys are gonna have to step up.”

Without Gordon, it's back to Randy Foye in the starting five who is a capable scorer, but certainly not up to Gordon's level.
Category: NBA
Posted on: January 25, 2011 9:13 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2011 9:20 pm
 

Clippers G Eric Gordon out 3-4 weeks with wrist

Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon is expected to miss at least three weeks with a wrist injury. Posted by Ben Golliver. eric-gordon

Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon is one of the league's most improved, underrated and overlooked players, and he's also one of the league's most prolific and consistent scorers. Unfortunately for those in Southern California, he's also now officially sidelined due to injury and likely won't return until after the All-Star break.

The Clippers reported Tuesday that Gordon is expected to miss "three to four weeks" with a "sprained right wrist combined with a small bone chip fracture." Ouch.
Los Angeles Clippers' guard Eric Gordon did not travel with the team to Dallas for tonight's game against the Maverick's so he could remain in Los Angeles for further examination on his right wrist, injured in a fall this past Saturday in a game versus the Golden State Warriors.
Gordon was examined today by Dr. Steve Chin at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic. He was examined previously by Clippers' team physician/orthopedist Dr. Steven Shimoyama and Dr. Roy A. Meals, a orthopedist specializing in hand-related injuries.

Their joint diagnosis is that Gordon is suffering from a sprained right wrist combined with a small bone chip fracture. He is expected to return to action in three to four weeks.
Gordon, a third year off guard out of Indiana, has improved his numbers in just about every statistical category this season, putting up 24.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. At age 22, this would make him one of the most hyped young players in the league, if not for the fact that he plays alongside surefire Rookie of the Year and dunk machine Blake Griffin.

Gordon has thrived as the outside counter when teams pay too much attention to Griffin down low, as he's both a reliable three-point shooter and an effective scorer off the dribble. 

Gordon leads the Clippers in minutes per game this season, so he won't be easily replaced. LA's backcourt depth isn't great, so guys like Randy Foye, Eric Bledsoe, and Rasual Butler will probably all see their minutes hiked. 

It's tough timing for the Clippers, as they play 12 games in the next three weeks and 13 games prior to the All-Star break. That stretch includes an 8-game road trip immediately prior to the break, which features games against the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and New York Knicks in succession. Wow. Good luck with that.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2011 5:15 pm
 

NBA's top scorers: Who is most consistent?

An analysis of the NBA's top 20 scorers, with a look at which players are the most consistent. Posted by Ben Golliver. kevin-durant-score

Scoring in volume has long been appreciated in the NBA. Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points; Kobe Bryant's 81; Michael Jordan's 63 points in the playoffs against the Celtics. Each of these scoring outbursts and countless others are front and center in NBA lore.

In recent years, scoring efficiently has been all the rage, with emphasis placed on players that shoot well from the field, get to the free throw line and don't require tons of shots to get their points. Players like Carmelo Anthony and Monta Ellis have drawn some criticism for their (relatively) inefficient chucking, while Chris Paul, LeBron James and Dwight Howard have received praise for their overall offensive efficiency.

But one critical aspect of scoring has been generally overlooked: consistency. Basketball coaches at every level are endlessly frustrated by players that don't bring it every night, and the NBA is no exception. Even among the NBA's elite scorers there can be a vast inconsistency in their output from night to night. 

Case in point: Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, currently the NBA's No. 6 scorer at 25.1 points per game, scored 17 points, 11 points and 3 points in a three-game stretch in November. A little more than a month later, Wade exploded for 40 points, 45 points and 25 points in a different three-game stretch. In all six games, Wade played at least 36 minutes and took at least 13 shots. Imagine how difficult those inconsistent results are for Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra to plan around.

Keep in mind: Wade is one of the league's most consistent and voluminous scorers, and he would never be able to average 25 points per game if he wasn't. The inconsistency headaches for coaches only increase as you move down the depth chart or into a team's bench. Of course, there are plenty of reasons to explain scoring inconsistency: specific defensive match-ups, an opponent's defensive gameplan, nagging injuries, streaky shooting, foul trouble, the list goes on and on. 

With that said, some players are going to be more consistent than others. And that consistency would seem to be valued by coaches. So let's ask and answer an interesting question: Of the league's top scorers, who truly represents the cream of the crop? Who brings it the most consistently on a night-in, night-out basis?
Let's take a look.

Scoring Consistency

Perhaps the cleanest way to calculate a player's scoring consistency is to use his game log to calculate his average scoring variance. This reflects how far from his scoring average he is on any give night. This sounds complicated, but it's really not. 

For example, let's say I average 30 points. My two scoring totals were 20 points and 40 points. The average difference from each of those points to the average (40 minus 30 and 30 minus 20) is 10. Now, let's say I average 30 points but I scored 31 points one night and 29 points the next. The average difference between those points and the average (31-30 and 30-29) is 1. Obviously, I would be scoring more consistently in the second example, when my average variance is 1, rather than the first example, when my average variance is 10.

To further emphasize consistency, simply divide that average variance by the player's points per game. This gives a percentage between 0% and 100%. 0% is perfectly consistent, while 100% is completely inconsistent. In the first example, my percentage would be 33% (10/30). In the second example, my percentage would be 3.3% (1/30). We'll refer to that percentage as a player's Shake. The lower the Shake, the more consistent the player's scoring.

When you analyze the league's top scorers or No. 1 scoring options, almost all of them fall between 20% and 30% on this Shake scale. In other words, they won't always produce totally consistently, but they will produce within a fairly narrow range.  If you move to reserve players, that number usually falls to 40% to 50%, a reflection of changing minutes and a generally lower talent level. If you move to the deep, deep bench players, a 60%+ isn't totally uncommon. 


The League's Best Scorers, By Consistency

In this analysis, Shake was calculated for each of the NBA's top 20 scorers in games played through Tuesday, Jan. 12. 

When we look at a scatterplot of the league's elite scorers in terms of their consistency, a few interesting pieces jump out. (Click here for the full-size version .) On this chart, the X-axis refers to points per game. The further to the right you go, the more a player scorers. The Y-axis represents scoring consistency: the lower you go, the more consistent a player is, the higher you go, the more inconsistent a player is. The best place to be on this chart is the lower right hand corner and its vicinity. Conversely, the worst place to be on this chart is the upper left hand corner and its vicinity.

shake-vs-ppg

First, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant is absolutely in a class by himself. He's the league's best scorer, in terms of both volume and consistency, by leaps and bounds. Last year, Durant made headlines for his insane streak of 25+ points in a game and his consistency is off the charts again this year. His rating (13.68%) blows away the next closest player, the Los Angeles Clippers' Eric Gordon (20.4%).

Gordon is probably the biggest surprise in the top 20, as he's the league's No. 10 scorer but it's No. 2 most consistent scorer. Both Gordon and Durant succeed at an often-overlooked aspect of the game: getting to and converting from the free throw line. Whether Gordon will be able to maintain this scoring consistency through the rest of the season is an open question, but Durant is a shoo-in to retain his crown as the league's most consistent scorer.

Also interesting: compare LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. Both players score virtually the same number of points (James averages 25.4 points while Wade averages 25.1 points) but they do so with a meaningfully different amount of consistency (James is at 21.9% while Wade is at 28.3%). James' consistency is super-elite while Wade's is merely very, very, very good. If you're looking to make the case that James is now the alpha dog in Miami, these numbers help support that. Regardless of whether Wade is hot or cold, James is getting his numbers. It's worth noting that Wade did start the season slowly and his consistency may improve as the season continues. 

Next, you'll see that players who have drawn the "inefficient volume shooter" label, guys like Carmelo Anthony and Monta Ellis, don't fare so well when it comes to consistency. This shouldn't come as a surprise, as the 3-17 nights that draw their fans' ire will obviously increase their inconsistency rating. But, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who is often criticized for calling his own number and breaking out of his team's offense, rates as the league's No. 3 most consistent scorer. It's an especially impressive achievement at 32 years old, as Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is the only other player in the top 10 for consistency that's over 30 years of age. 

Finally, as if you needed another reason to drool over Los Angeles Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin, here you go. As the only rookie in the league's top 20 in scoring, Griffin also finds himself as the 13th most consistent player in the group (26.3%). In other words, he's coming by all those points honestly, and he's doing it on a night-in, night-out basis like few rookies in the recent past. It's possible that in a few years, should his 60% free throw shooting improve dramatically, Griffin could move into the league's top five most consistent scorers.

Full Rankings

In case you're interested, here are the full rankings for the top 20 NBA scorers in terms of their consistency.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com