Arenas hasn't exactly been feast or famine, but he has been inconsistent at times. It's hard to find fault in his game outside of the odd 5-of-19 shooting nights, and his assists (6.9 a game) and long-range shooting (38.3 percent) have improved.
Growing before our very eyes, Bosh is holding the fort for a Raptors team that is still trying to develop on the fly. His scoring average, shooting percentages and block totals are right in line with last season's pace, but he's made an astonishing leap in the rebounding department. Bosh is averaging nearly five more rebounds per game this season than he did in 2005-06 (from 9.2 to 13.9) while playing two fewer minutes per game. He's grabbing 20.4 percent of all rebounds available while he's playing, a mark good for seventh in the NBA.
Paul was impressive in his head-to-head duel with Detroit's Chauncey Billups on Wednesday night. Though Paul (20 points on just 14 shots, 13 assists to zero turnovers) didn't exactly shut down Billups (29 points on 17 shots, nine assists to one turnover), he did old his own. And holding your own against Billups, as a second-year guard, is quite the accomplishment. Leading your Hornets over the Pistons in Detroit is yet another.
This week a national TV audience has gotten to see what we've known for a while: Martin is an efficient scorer with a creative touch and someone who won't even attempt a shot unless it has a real chance to go in. Not only is the 23-year-old guard leading the Kings in scoring with 24.1 points per game, but he's also doing it on a Sacramento team that is 25th in offensive efficiency and scores just 97 points per game despite its quicker pace. Martin is shooting 52.6 percent from the floor, 41.2 percent from three-point range and 93.4 percent from the free throw line.
Duncan's superb defense and attention to detail are allowing his Spurs to play just well enough to win in a 6-2 start. The perimeter looks aren't falling as much for San Antonio, and though Duncan should take some of the blame for this mini-swoon, he's still offering some sound statistics: 21.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks.
As predicted, Wade is carrying this veteran group of underachievers. The defending champs have won just three of seven, and Shaquille O'Neal has played miserably when healthy (he's shown up for four games thus far). Wade is leading the Heat in points (26.9), assists (7.1) and steals (1.6). Miami's schedule isn't getting any easier; it plays four of its next six on the road, though only one game (against San Antonio on Nov. 22) comes against a 2005-06 playoff team.
Nash's statistics have leveled off since last week's Rankings, merely to around his averages during his MVP season of 2005-06. His Suns have won only two of seven games to start the season, but good news awaits: Phoenix enjoyed five days off after its win over the Grizzlies last Saturday, and seven of its next eight opponents missed the playoffs last season.
He's shot 12-of-42 (29 percent) in his last two games, but this hasn't gotten in the way of his ability to get to the line and keep the scoring average in place. Iverson made 23-of-25 free throws against Denver and Seattle.
His defense is suspect and his shot selection can be called into question, but Parker's efficiency and scoring touch have improved in his sixth season. The 24-year old is averaging 22.3 points for the Southwest Division-leading Spurs, his turnovers are down (just 2.4 in 35 minutes a night) and he continues to make more than half his shots from the floor. Also, you can tell he enjoys playing with the NBA's new official ball, which has a funny way of clinging to the rim on floaters in the lane.
Anthony's Nuggets may look a disappointment on paper thanks to a 3-4 start, but this is about a .500 team, with or without the injured Kenyon Martin. Some of Anthony's statistics are a disappointment, especially his 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 turnovers, but his 30.6-point scoring average in only 35 minutes a game is an impressive clip.
On the cusp: Ray Allen, Emeka Okafor, Chauncey Billups