NBA

James Harden.

Three surprising early season NBA stat leaders

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With the NBA season just over two weeks old now, some players and their teams have begun settling into a rhythm.

While it is early days, some likely names are appearing in certain stats columns. Andre Drummond topping the rebound charts with an average of 14.3 a game should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody.

However, there have been a few NBA stars that have risen to the occasion in the early going, too. We take a look at three of the most unlikely stat-toppers in the young 2016-17 season.

DeMar DeRozan

Scoring has got to be just about the toughest field to top in the NBA. Although there are a variety of ways to get it done, with the like of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Damian Lillard knocking about, all of whom are certified scoring maniacs, it can be hard for anyone else to break out.

Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis have even had 50-plus point games this season and they can't top the charts.

But, a Toronto Raptors shooting guard can. DeMar DeRozan leads his peers by three clear points right now after dropping an average of 34.1 points through seven games.

Detroit Pistons v Toronto Raptors

The 27-year-old Compton native is shooting 53.3 percent from the field and has put in two memorable 40-point displays against the Pistons and the Wizards, not to mention a 37 point outburst against the Thunder last time out.

What's even more impressive is DeRozan almost doesn't possess a three-point shot. He's shooting a woeful 16.7 percent from three-point range this year, and has gone scoreless from outside in five of his seven games thus far after throwing up attempts in all of them.

Andrew Wiggins

Speaking of three-point shooting, that is where Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins has been excelling.

Now in his third year in the NBA after being picked first in the 2014 draft class, Wiggins has continued to improve year over year and the strides he is bound to make under new coach Tom Thibodeau are exciting.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets

As a 32.5 percent shooter from three-point range during his career so far, it's certainly a surprise to see Wiggins topping the charts in that field through seven games, even more so with a clip of 63.8 percent - nearly double his career output.

That's nearly 10 percent clear of CJ Miles in second place. Wiggins has gone 100 percent in both of his outings against the Grizzlies for a combined three efforts, but the most memorable game in his early season flurry was when he went six-of-seven against the Nets.

Dropping 85.7 percent from three certainly helped rack up those season-high 36 points.

James Harden

There's no surprise that Harden tops any list, really. There is a very real case to say he is the best offensive player in the league right now and since he has moved to point guard, that case has never been stronger.

On top of scoring 30.6 points a game - the fourth-highest in the league - and collecting 7.8 boards - more than the likes of Joakim Noah, Joel Embiid, Pau Gasol and Myles Turner - it's Harden's dime-dropping that has caught the eye.

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks

He leads the assist charts with 13 a night, 3.1 clear of King James.

In his eight games thus far, Harden has only failed to reach double digits for assists twice and has laid on 15 or more on five occasions, with a season-high 17 against the L.A. Lakers on the opening night.

After plenty of criticism regarding his ball dominant play and accusations that he stifled the Rockets offence, moving him to the one spot is paying all kinds of early dividends for coach Mike D'Antoni.

Topics:
NBA
DeMar DeRozan
Toronto Raptors
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Minnesota Timberwolves
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Houston Rockets
Southwest Division
Andrew Wiggins
James Harden

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