Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls: Derek Rose’s absence may be bad for the Bulls performance, but it is definitely helping Deng’s performance. Since Rose went down with a season-ending knee injury, Deng has been putting up some of the best offensive numbers of his career. He started off his week with a double-double against Kyrie Irving and the Cavalierss, scoring 27 points and dishing 11 dimes. He followed that up with a 37-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist performance in an triple-overtime loss to the Pelicans. Deng is now averaging 19.4 PPG this season, more than three points higher than his career average.
Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls: Boozer had a very poor start of the week, averaging just eight points and 6.5 rebounds during the Bulls two losses, but made amends for his struggles by leading Chicago past the Heat. Boozer led the Bulls with 27 points that game and also grabbed nine rebounds, as Chicago dismantled the Heat 107-87. Boozer has struggled to find his groove without the point guard play of Derek Rose, but hopefully this game is a step in the right direction.
Mike Dunleavy, Jr., Chicago Bulls: Dunleavy has struggled of late, scoring more than three points in just one of his last five games, and has lost his starting spot to rookie Tony Snell. Dunleavy did show what he is capable of doing in the Bulls loss to the Pelicans, as he scored 23 points while shooting 60 percent from beyond the arc. Dunleavy is still getting solid minutes for Chicago, but definitely needs to improve his play if wants to keep those minutes once Jimmy Butler comes back from injury.
JJ Redick, Los Angeles Clippers: JJ Redick’s career year took a big blow this past week, as Redick has a fracture and torn ligament in his right wrist. The injury won’t require surgery, but Redick will be out for 6-8 weeks. It’s also a big loss for the Clippers, as someone else must step up to replace Redick’s 15.8 PPG.
Miles Plumlee, Phoenix Suns: Plumlee recorded his fifth double-double of the season last Friday, scoring 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and grabbing 10 boards as the Suns took down the Jazz 112-101. It was Plumlee’s first double-double in more than two weeks and was also his most efficient night shooting the ball all season. Plumlee has shown all year that he can be an effective NBA big man, and last week was no different.
Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets: Mason had one of the best games of his career last week, as he scored 16 points and snagged six rebounds, shooting an incredible 7-of-8 from the field. He followed that performance with three solid outings off the bench for the struggling Nets. Plumlee has shown that he has the talent to be a solid contributor in the NBA and has his play has been surprising effective early on.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers: Both Kyrie and the Cavaliers had a better week, as Cleveland won two of its three games. Irving picked up his performance, averaging just fewer than 20 points per game, slightly less than his season average. Ivring hopefully should continue to play well moving forward.
Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bobcats: Henderson had a very good week for the struggling Bobcats, averaging 17.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, as Charlotte went 1-2 for the week. What was most impressive with his performance this week was his offensive efficiency. Henderson shot 55.6 percent from the field this week, a vast improvement over the 40 percent he is averaging for the season.
Josh McRoberts, Charlotte Bobcats: McRoberts followed up a poor performance against the Bucks, scoring only two points in 29 minutes, with back-to-back 10-point games. He was most impressive in Charlotte’s loss to Dallas, as he picked up eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals to go along with his 10 points. Like Henderson, McRoberts also needs to improve his offensive performance, as he is shooting just 40.3 percent, a meager percentage for a power forward.
Elton Brand, Atlanta Hawks: Brand has found himself off of the Hawks inactive list and back into the Hawks rotation, as he was featured in all four of their games this past week. He averaged just 3.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in those four contests, but he should definitely be happy with getting consistent playing time.
Ryan Kelly, Los Angeles Lakers: Ryan Kelly remains on the Laker’s roster, but is still yet to get any playing time since coming back up from the D-League. It’s unclear what value the Laker’s see in keeping him on the bench, but it is likely not what’s best for his development.
Shane Battier, Miami Heat: Battier has continued to do what he’s done all season: be a solid contributor off the bench for the Heat. Last week was no different, as he continued to get solid minutes and play good defense. He even matched his season high of eight points in the Heat’s win over the Bobcats.
Kyle Singler, Detroit Pistons: Singler followed up a slow start to the week with two stellar performances off the bench in wins against the Heat and the Bucks. Singler scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds againt Miami, and kept the strong play going with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting against Milwaukee.
Austin Rivers, New Orleans Pelicans: Rivers has seen himself fall out of favor with the Pelicans, and played in just one of their four games last week. Pelicans’ coach Monty Williams admitted that Rivers is not in a good position right now, but Austin must find some way to increase his minutes.
Eliot Williams, Philadelphia 76ers: Williams continues to see minutes off the bench for the 76ers, as he played in all three of their games last week. While his numbers may not be noteworthy, consistent playing time is all Williams can really ask for at this time considering his checkered NBA career.