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Fast Break

Nov. 20, 2006
Nov. 20, 2006

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Nov. 20, 2006

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Fast Break

Here are the NBA's hottest starters

THE NBA SEASON is just two weeks old, but surprises are already starting to emerge. Applying the SI NBA Player Rating formula (box, below) to each player's early-season numbers reveals that the consensus preseason No. 1 still rules; the fantasy future of the Trail Blazers may not be as bleak as first thought; and you would have been better off (at least for the first couple of weeks) drafting Zach Randolph, Carlos Boozer and Joe Johnson than Kobe Bryant, Shawn Marion and Dwyane Wade. Here are the formula's 10 most productive players overall, as well as the top sophomores and rookies (through Sunday's games).

This is an article from the Nov. 20, 2006 issue

Top 10 Overall
A few surprises, but not at the top: the King reigns

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
1. LEBRON JAMES, SF, Cavaliers 66.0
More than just a scorer: He ranks in the Top 25 in points (28.0) and assists (6.5) per game

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
2. KEVIN GARNETT, PF, Timberwolves 63.8
The game's most consistent fantasy producer just keeps rolling along: 23.3 ppg, 11.2 rpg

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
3. YAO MING, C, Rockets 62.7
The main reason for the Rockets' early season resurgence (5--2), he's averaging 27.3 ppg

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
4. VINCE CARTER, SG, Nets 62.0
Scoring at a 29.8 ppg clip, but his most impressive stat is his .500 field goal percentage

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
5. ZACH RANDOLPH, PF, Trail Blazers 61.4
After a stellar preseason he's nearly doubling his career scoring average (27.3 to 14.7)

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
6. MICHAEL REDD, SG, Bucks 60.6
League's leading scorer shot up the charts following his 57-point performance last Saturday night

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
7. GILBERT ARENAS, PG, Wizards 60.3
NBA's sixth-leading scorer (28.2 ppg) despite netting only seven points on opening night

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
8. DIRK NOWITZKI, PF, Mavericks 59.2
Dallas has struggled but Dirk hasn't, hitting 50.5% of his field goal attempts and 46.7% of his threes

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
9. CARLOS BOOZER, PF, Jazz 58.6
He was named Western Conference Player of the Week for the first week of the season

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
10. JOE JOHNSON, SG, Hawks 57.0
Averaging 28.8 points and 41.5 minutes per game for the Southeast Division leaders

Top 10 Second- Year Players
A Hornet creates a buzz

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
1. CHRIS PAUL, PG, Hornets 49.2
Sophomore slump? He's ranked 24th among all players and is the fifth-rated point guard

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
2. DERON WILLIAMS, PG, Jazz 43.9
Had a total of 53 points and 29 assists in wins over the Celtics and Bucks last weekend

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
3. CHARLIE VILLANUEVA, PF, Bucks 39.4
The athletic post presence and shooter that Milwaukee hoped for when it traded T.J. Ford

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
4. JARRETT JACK, PG, Trail Blazers 34.6
Ranks 85 spots higher than the guard he played behind last season, Sebastian Telfair

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
5. ANDREW BOGUT, C, Bucks 33.4
Last year's No. 1 draft pick is establishing himself after missing most of the preseason

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
6. HAKIM WARRICK, PF, Grizzlies 31.8
Filling in admirably for Pau Gasol, though he has just one block through six games

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
7. DAVID LEE, PF, Knicks 31.4
His hustle has him on the verge of supplanting Channing Frye as a starter

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
8. MONTA ELLIS, SG, Warriors 31.3
Averaging 16.1 ppg on 11-for-19 shooting while filling in for starter Jason Richardson

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
9. ANDREW BYNUM, C, Lakers 29.9
Has played more like an All-Star than a kid whose prom was a year and a half ago

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
10. RYAN GOMES, PF, Celtics 29.8
He and the Nets' Jason Kidd notched the only triple doubles of the season's first two weeks

Top 10 Rookies
Big East alums claim the top two spots

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
1. RUDY GAY, SF, Grizzlies 22.0
A 21-point game and five-of-13 three-point shooting have the former UConn star at the top

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
2. CRAIG SMITH, PF, Timberwolves 18.6
Big East Player of the Year is making 61.5% of his shots and averaging 8.8 points per game

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
3. THABO SEFOLOSHA, SG, Bulls 18.1
Chicago has outscored opponents by an average of 6.2ppg when he's on the floor

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
4. BRANDON ROY, SG, Trail Blazers 17.9
He would've been the top-ranked rookie if he hadn't missed time with a sore left heel

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
5. ADAM MORRISON, SF, Bobcats 16.8
Leads all rookies in scoring at 11.8 points per game, but his 32.4% shooting is a killer

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
6. RAJON RONDO, PG, Celtics 13.3
Part of a three-headed monster at point guard with Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
7. SHELDEN WILLIAMS, PF, Hawks 13.2
With Marvin Williams sidelined, this former Blue Devil is getting a chance to block shots and rebound

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
8. PAUL MILLSAP, SF, Jazz 12.9
His hard-nosed style has caught coach Jerry Sloan's eye and earned him significant minutes

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
9. RANDY FOYE, SG, Timberwolves 11.9
The Villanova product hasn't shown much offense yet but has earned plenty of hustle points

PLAYER, POS., TEAM SI PLAYER RATING
10. MARCUS WILLIAMS, PG, Nets 10.8
Fifth in preseason assists (7.0 per game), but being Jason Kidd's backup isn't conducive to playing time

SI's NBA Player Rating Formula

{[2 √ó (field goals made + 3-pointers made + assists + blocks + offensive rebounds)] + [1.5 √ó (defensive rebounds + steals)] + total points + free throws made -- (2 √ó turnovers) -- (missed free throws + missed field goals + missed 3-pointers)}/ games team has played

PHOTOSAM FORENCICH/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (RANDOLPH)ABLAZE Randolph is scoring a career-best 27.3 points per game. THREE PHOTOSGREG NELSON (JAMES, GAY); TY RUSSELL/AP (PAUL)