A career-year from Serge Ibaka certainly has helped as well.
Antony Davis may have taken over as the most terrifying shot blocker in the NBA, but the Thunder has benefited greatly from the complete play of its power forward.
Ibaka led the league in blocks per game each of the past two seasons, and is still a great at rejecting shots, averaging 2.5 per game, the third best in the league, while becoming the most lethal mid-range shooter in basketball.
All of his progression has culminated with career-highs in scoring (14.9 points), rebounding (8.8) and 3-point shooting percentage (36.1 percent) while becoming an essential piece of an offense averaging 105.4 points per game.
The 6-foot-10 forward has poured in 20 or more points 10 times in 48 game this season, after scoring 20 points in a game just eight times in 301 career games prior to this year.
Even when the Thunder use him frequently, he finds a way to remain an efficient scorer, shooting 50 percent or better from the field in every game he has scored 18 or more points this season.
Even with the added responsibilities on the offensive end, Ibaka is still a tremendous defender, turning back three or more shots on 18 occasions, likely resulting in his third consecutive inclusion on the league’s All-Defensive First Team.
Durant will likely walk away with MVP honors this season, but Oklahoma City’s rise to the top of the NBA has a lot to do with Ibaka’s development into a complete player.
Nick Calathes– Memphis Grizzlies
Available in 94% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues
Calathes made the most of his first career start, pouring in 22 points along with five rebounds and three assists in a win over Milwaukee. The rookie guard converted 4-of-5 shots from 3-point range as the Grizzlies tried Calathes at point guard in the absence of Mike Conley, as he is expected to miss at least a week with a sprained ankle.
Tim Hardaway Jr.– New York Knicks
Available in 80% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues
New York is in desperate need of a second scoring punch alongside Carmelo Anthony and Hardaway Jr. hasn’t been scared to shoot. Hardaway Jr. has attempted 10 or more shots in each of his last four games, following up his career-high 29 points with a 17 point outing, including three conversions from 3-point range, during Saturday’s contest against Miami.
Thabo Sefolosha– Oklahoma City Thunder
Available in 89% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues
Throughout his eight years in the NBA, Sefolosha has been labeled as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, but hasn’t been producing high volumes of anything for fantasy basketball. The 29-year-old has started 45 times this season and is averaging a career-high 1.3 steals per game, but over his past four outings, has been a defensive star, averaging 3.3 a night.
Brandon Bass– Boston Celtics
Available in 61% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues
A return to the starting lineup has increased the rebounding productivity for Bass. After briefly losing his position to Kris Humphries, Bass made the most of his time, totaling 17 points and eight rebounds against Brooklyn in his first start in seven games. Bass is averaging 10.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game, making him a solid forward option.
Ronny Turiaf– Minnesota Timberwolves
Available in 95% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues
A sore right ankle has forced Nikola Pekovic to the bench, opening up minutes for Turiaf. While Pekovic is no longer in a walking boot, a timetable has yet to be established for his return and Turaif has been a solid rebounder, pulling down eight per game over his last four starts while playing at least 25 minutes a night. As long as he is getting minutes, Turiaf will be a solid rebounding option.