When going into a new season of a sport, it is very difficult to just forget about an athlete's stats and playing style from the previous season. We all have our doubts about certain players and whether or not they will perform at a high level. When the players you doubt begin to prove you wrong, you have to give them the credit they deserve. This week's Beast Report features players who I personally doubted going into the season who are proving me wrong ... so far!
Brandon Jennings, guard, Milwaukee Bucks: When the Bucks added sharp-shooter/chucker Monta Ellis, I shook my head because I did not think there would be enough shots to go around for him, Jennings and the rest of the team. While Ellis has been scoring more, Jennings has been performing like a top-10 fantasy basketball player.
Jennings has scored 16.7 points per game while shooting 41.6 percent from the field. The most important stat of Jennings is that he is stealing the ball 3.1 times per evening, which ranks him No. 1 in the league. Jennings has done a great job transitioning his game to more of a point guard role and has dished 7.7 assists per night. Need free throws? Jennings shoots 87.5 percent from the line.
Serge Ibaka, forward-center, Oklahoma City Thunder: I figured after he established himself as the NBA's ultimate defensive stopper inside teams would scheme differently and use more of a midrange offensive attack against the Thunder. Nope. Teams still continue to attack the basket against "Air Congo," who has sent 3.5 shots per game on return trips home. He is a blocking machine and No. 1 in the NBA at it.
Ibaka has also scored 14.6 points per game and is shooting 56.4 percent from the floor, showing his developing offensive game. He has shot 90 percent from the free-throw line and has grabbed 6.6 boards per contest. He truly is proving to be this generation's Dikembe Mutombo.
Kemba Walker, guard, Charlotte Bobcats: Walker has thrived on a team that plays a lot of small-ball and has a ton of guard depth. Walker has helped fantasy players out by contributing in just about every category. He scores 18.8 points per night and shoots 43.4 percent from the hardwood. Walker has grabbed 3.8 rebounds per game and is very aggressive inside.
Outside, he contributes with 5.3 assists and 2.6 steals a game. He also shoots 87.2 percent from the charity stripe. He plays over 36 minutes a night and has stood out as Charlotte's top option. When Gerald Henderson (foot) returns to action, Walker's scoring might go down a little bit, but I still expect him to keep attacking the basket and staying as a top scoring option for the 'Cats. I also expect Walker's assists to increase once Henderson returns.
Chris Bosh, forward-center, Miami Heat: Last season, the Heat decided to make Chris Bosh a point-forward and it proved to be successful as he was able to provide a ton of offense. This season, the Heat have given Bosh the center assignment. Bosh has been shooting an impressive 55.2 percent and scoring 19.6 points per game. He has been a solid No. 2 scoring option with Dwayne Wade (foot) out of the lineup.
Bosh has been showing his dominance inside grabbing 7.3 rebounds and swatting the ball 1.4 times per game. He has also shot 86.4 percent from the free-throw line, shooting at least six free throws per game. Bosh has shown that he can play just about anywhere on the court, on both sides of the ball, making him a strong fantasy beast to have, even if he is playing out of position.
Anthony Davis, forward, New Orleans Hornets: The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft came into the league with a lot of hype. He was immediately expected to be the centerpiece and savior of this new-look Hornets team. He has dominated the stat line so far and has played only 28 minutes per night on average.
Davis has scored 16 points a game shooting 49.3 percent from the floor. He has grabbed 8.3 rebounds, blocked 2.2 shots and swiped the ball once per game. Even with Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez on his team, Davis has still been able to prove himself as the top rookie thus far. As he continues to grow, he will provide even more stats for you.