Who's had the best game of the season so far?

Which players have had the best games of the season so far?

This should be pretty easy to guess, right? All we have to do is take a look at a list of the most productive players and most of those players will probably show up in a list of the top performances, too. Because the best players tend to have the best games.

But the truth is, while we have an idea of the average productivity of NBA players, individual performances are highly variable. Even good players have bad games, and bad players can have an amazing game every once and a while. The players on the list of the best games of the season may surprise you:

Rank Player Date Opponent PoP PoP48
1 James Anderson  11/13/2013 HOU 20.8 22.64
2 Arron Afflalo  11/13/2013 MIL 20.1 24.13
3 Michael Carter-Williams  10/30/2013 MIA 19.2 25.59
4 Nikola Vucevic  11/06/2013 LAC 18.8 23.77
5 Dwight Howard  10/30/2013 CHA 18.3 25.84
6 Anthony Davis  11/02/2013 CHA 18.2 24.29
7 Zach Randolph  11/18/2013 LAC 18.1 24.07
8 Serge Ibaka  11/16/2013 MIL 17.6 25.52
9 Jordan Hill  11/13/2013 DEN 17.5 27.96
10 Kevin Love  11/01/2013 OKC 16.9 28.93
11 Paul George  11/05/2013 DET 16.8 20.1
12 Travis Outlaw  11/02/2013 GSW 16.5 30.48
13 Jordan Hill  11/17/2013 DET 16.5 22.57
14 Vitor Faverani  11/01/2013 MIL 16.3 21.19
15 Nikola Pekovic  11/16/2013 BOS 16.3 26.09
16 Derrick Favors  11/15/2013 SAS 16.1 21.44
17 Klay Thompson  10/30/2013 LAL 15.7 24.29
18 Anthony Davis  11/13/2013 UTH 15.5 21.31
19 Paul Millsap  11/05/2013 SAC 15.5 22.54
20 Kevin Martin  11/03/2013 NYK 15.2 20.9
Note: table does not include games from November 19th.

On this list of the 20 best performances of the season so far, we have:

  • A player -- James Anderson (#1!), one of my candidates for Most Improved Player (another story for another day) -- who had only played 1290 NBA minutes prior to this season.
  • Two rookies, Michael Carter-Williams (at #3!) and Vitor Faverani (#14)
  • Two repeat appearances: Anthony Davis (#6 and #18), and Jordan Hill (#9 and #13).
  • Appearances from bench players: Jordan Hill has started only 4 of 12 games so far, and Travis Outlaw (#12) hasn't started any.
  • Appearances from players who are typically average to below average (Martin at #20, Thompson at #17, Outlaw, and Afflalo at #2).
  • Kevin Love (#10), who is bouncing back from an injury-plagued season.
  • Games against excellent teams, good teams, mediocre teams, and bad teams.

All told, only 7 of the top 20 most productive players on the season are on this list. As the season goes along, expect there to be even more surprise additions to this list.