HOUSTON -- LeBron James was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games between Nov. 5-11, the NBA announced on Monday.
The Heat went 3-1 last week and James averaged 21.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. James also shot .569 during the four-game stretch.
According to NBAStats.com, the league’s reigning MVP is off to the best start in his career in effective field-goal percentage (.588), rebounding percentage (17.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.07).
James’ efficiency rating, a measure of a player’s per-minute productivity, leads the league, according to NBAStats.com. James has an efficiency rating of 29.0. Kevin Durant is second at 26.6.
The difference between James and Durant in efficiency rating is equal to the difference between Durant and the player ranked seventh on the list, Anderson Varejao (24.2).
James has been named Player of the Week 38 times. He has recorded a double-double in six of the Heat’s first seven games. Nuggets second-year forward Kenneth Faried was named Western Conference Player of the Week.
Using brain power
Dwyane Wade said New Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni will have to use a little extra “brain power” to make Steve Nash fit in with Kobe Bryant.
D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll offense in Phoenix was perfect for Nash and helped the veteran point guard build a Hall of Fame career.
Wade said it might not be so easy in Los Angeles, given that Kobe Bryant needs the ball in his hands more often than Nash and Dwight Howard.
“When [D’Antoni] was in Phoenix, he gave Nash the ball … and put the right personnel around him, and Nash is one of the best pick-and-roll players of all time and he let him be that, so it’s going to be a little bit of a different dynamic right now.
“He’ll probably use a little bit more brain power to see how he can get Nash to be Nash with the other elements that he has in Kobe and the rest of those guys.”
D’Antoni was an assistant coach in the 2008 Olympics, and Wade played on that team. The team’s offense had characteristics of D’Antoni’s system. Is D’Antoni the answer to fixing the Lakers? To Wade, nothing was ever broken. Like most players around the league, Wade thinks the Lakers acted rashly in firing Mike Brown so early in the season.
“He has a tough job ahead of him,” Wade said sarcastically. “But I’m sure he’s excited to get the opportunity to be with America’s team.”
Wade jammed the thumb on his shooting hand in the first half against Memphis while going for a loose ball against Tony Allen on Sunday. Wade went 3 of 15 from the field and scored just eight points. It was Wade’s first single-digit scoring game since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, when he finished with five points.
“Things just didn’t go down for me. I can make those shots with no fingers,” Wade said.
James Harden led the league in scoring after the first week of the season but has since cooled off. After averaging 41 points in the Rockets’ first two games, Harden is shooting less than 40 percent from the field.
Rockets interim coach Kelvin Sampson said he wants Harden to focus on being a complete player rather than a scoring machine.
“The 37-point game and the 45-point game, there’s a human reaction to want to replicate that,” Sampson said. “But that’s really not who he is. When we were scouting him in Oklahoma City, I always thought he was more dangerous with the pass. That’s what we want him to get back to.”
Harden had fewer than three assists in his past five games before Monday. His blockbuster trade from Oklahoma City created enormous buzz just before the beginning of the season, and Harden delivered on the hype.
On opening night against the Pistons, Harden became the first NBA player to score 37 or more points while registering a double-digit assist total (12) in his team debut. He then scored 45 points against the Hawks in Rockets’ next game.
“He doesn’t need to get 30 and 40 for us to win,” Sampson said. “He’s going to get 20 on most nights, even on poor shooting nights because he gets to the free-throw line so good. But we need him to have five, six, seven assists, too. I think that’s his strength. He’s a better basketball player than a pure scorer.”