There were several low-key trade and free-agent acquisitions this NBA offseason, and its surprising how many have paid off. Usually, the trumpeted arrivals are quickly followed by a sad trombone. In reality, veterans rarely outperform what they have done in the past.
Now, old men can help your team far beyond what established expectations would lead you to believe.
Well, at least one Boston shooting guard is living up to expectations. The Celtics have so many from this position (Jason Terry, Leandro Barbosa, Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley) that at least one was bound to play well, but credit to Jet for still getting it done at the ripe old age of 35.
Boston's offense has made it to No. 12, which is actually much higher than it's been in past seasons (last year, they ranked out at 24th via ESPN). Terry has been a big part of this, on account of shooting percentages that graze the vaunted 50 percent field goal, 40 percent three-point and 90 percent free-throw trifecta.
He will likely not eclipse those averages across the board, but Jet has been incredibly efficient considering his age. His "true" shooting percentage, a measure that incorporates threes and free throws into one's overall field-goal stats, is a whopping 63.3 percent.
Jason Terry has been great, but he's actually been outdone by another ancient shooting guard. In fact, it's the guy Terry effectively replaced in coming over to Boston.
Ray Allen has been offensively devastating since arriving in South Beach. The 37-year-old sniper is averaging 13 points on a ridiculous .500 from the field and .500 from three-point range. Considering that nearly half his shots are three-pointers, Allen's effective percentage (a shooting percentage mark that incorporates the extra value of three-pointers) is an absurdly high .620.
So why isn't Ray Allen No. 1 on this list? Though the Heat have been offensively explosive, they've slipped on defense. This isn't completely Allen's fault, but he's certainly not a plus defender at this age.
On the whole, though, his contribution has been positive. He just hasn't been able to help both sides of the ball.
Andrei Kirilenko would be higher on the list were he not out with an injury. AK47 has missed the past four games, but he makes it to No. 3 here based on what he did in the first 13.
With Kevin Love out early in the season, Kirilenko provided an invaluable contribution in nearly every phase of the game. He was Minnesota's best defensive player and best passer. He could guard nearly every position and play nearly every offensive position, depending on what the Timberwolves needed.
His unique game produces some of the league's strangest stat lines. Right now, Kirilenko is at roughly 13 points, eight boards, three assists, two blocks and a steal-and-a-half per game. Try all day, you can't find a similar line from another NBA player.
Odd-looking stats aside, Kirilenko has been much better than consensus had anticipated after returning to the league following a stint Russia. Imagine if the Celtics had taken what they spent on Jeff Green and cashed out Andrei Kirilenko instead?
Well, I certainly did not expect this guy to be the star of the "James Harden trade." Perhaps it's the ugliness of his game, a strategy defined by an goofy shot and frequent flopping.
Which can all obscure the real skills behind what looks like gimmickry. Kevin Martin is hitting .477 on threes and taking 4.6 per contest. That, combined with the fouls he racks up on shot fakes, has combined to make for a sky-high 65.3 true shooting percentage.
I did not believe Charles Barkley when he claimed it a great trade for the Thunder, so I may have to take Chuck's opinions more seriously in the future. Martin, annoying as he can be, has earned himself a lot of praise so far this season.
Despite losing a Team USA member, the Oklahoma City Thunder are tops in offensive efficiency again. Much of the credit goes to Martin.
You might be asking, "Who?"
The 2012-13 Warriors have no right being good, and they almost certainly would be mediocre were it not for Carl Landry's services.
Much of the early season was spent mired in a team-wide shooting slump that Landry was not a party to. His efficient play dragged Golden State out of the morass and towards a record well above .500.
With Andrew Bogut out with a mysterious injury, Golden State should have been dead in the water. Though the situation was dire, especially with David Lee struggling in the early going, Landry and his bull-in-a-china-shop routine resulted in many a made shot (.557 from the field) and copious amounts of free throws (4.9 attempts per game in 26.6 minutes).
It sounds strange to say it, but a guy making "only" $8 million dollars two years has been Golden State's best player so far.