= EAST =
Joel Embiid is a perfect machine with a great scoring all over the court, with the ability to handle business around the rim and some decent three ball shooting as well. He has the the instinctive ability to play some strong defense as his defensive rating verifies and 1.3 blocks /game.
Embiid has answered the call for Philly with smooth shooting and power – all the while, having a pleasant scoring touch – he’s not going to light up the board for 35+ points on a nightly basis, but, let us be 100% honest – Embiid is without question, the most dangerous offensive weapon of the Philly offense – and will be for this team for quite some time.
26 year old Bradley Beal is a very well rounded contributor for the Wizards and has been electric this season. His explosiveness with his scoring has been incredible to watch. Beal is dead-eye lethal with his shot off the dribble, hitting 46% of shots this year, and burying 35% from deep as well
The 6-3 SG has been superb with point production, as he has been a high volume producer for the Wizards, with 10 games of 40 or more this year so far. The SG takes what the defense gives him, and then if he doesn’t like what they give him – he goes out and takes it, with his dangerous jump shot, that is critically precise from all over.
The 25 year old Siakam is averaging 11 points per game higher this season, than his 4 year career average. He has taken full control of the team with fervor – after Leonard bailed on him after last season. The 6-9 SF is exceeding the high expectations the Raptors had on him entering the year with the team being handed to him as the leader.
He has been nothing short of stunning – hitting 36% of his deep balls in 35 minutes /game on the season, Pascal has taken the reigns, while leading the team, averaging 24 points, 4 assists, 8 rebounds.
The only area Trae Young been shaky with has been his defense – but he certainly fills up the box score, majorly, with nuclear scoring ability and some exceptional ball handling. Bottom line, there is simply no team or player that can contain him on the court.
He has scored less than 25 pts in only 26% of his games played.
And remember, he is only 21 years old.
His ability to put the ball in the bucket, has been recognizably impressive.
Trae has been strikingly dangerous this season, with scoring explosiveness and he has only increased his efficiency throughout the year. Young is the only established and legit scoring option in the Atlanta Hawks lineup, there is without a doubt – no cause for anyone questioning of him being here.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has shown no signs of slowing down and obviously popping up in MVP discussions, as he has been dominant. Giannis seems to always be 2 steps ahead of everyone else on the court. 30pts and 14 boards are nothing to ignore – obviously, and his presence with getting to the rack has been difficult to ignore on the court. He is a destructive scorer and has also become a very good passer for Milwaukee, especially when in the paint.
Antetokounmpo has been extraordinarily efficient – he has been hitting on over 54% of his field goal attempts, and granted, 53% of his shots come from within 5 feet of the cup – as he plays more of an old school mindset – get to the rim. He is still working on his deep ball hitting just 31% – but even with the fact that everyone knows he is looking to drive – he still gets 20 shots /game and hangs 30ppg.
= WEST =
James Harden actually appears to be improving as the season goes on – and that is going to problematic for anyone. Harden explodes when he needs to, with dribbling and a smooth stroke – and can get his shot off vs bigger defenders as well. He has put together high octane scoring displays over and over – many of his big scoring games are due to his ability to draw contact. Drawing contact from a defender and getting to the line are easy points.
He gets to the line an average of 12 times a game, his 6th consecutive season getting to the line over 10 times/game. His 87% from the line is outstanding – so his game has not only been about getting easy points /game – but also getting opposing players in foul trouble.
Doncic has been beyond efficient on the court – contributing in every way possible for the Mavs across several statistical categories, leading Dallas every night. Through 51 games, Luka is putting up 28pts – 9 boards, 9 dimes and has added 14 triple doubles on top of that.
He is the unconditionally best all around player in the NBA right now. He also carries around a fantastic 27.6 player efficiency rating. Luka is very tough to guard, as he is bigger than most G’s and quicker than expected to many of the SFs that try to guard him. He has been spectacular, and he has a great future ahead, that is only going to get even better.
Anthony Davis’s scoring has been as effective and smooth as usual, and his overall production, both defensively and interior scoring has gotten better what he has done over past seasons, with LeBron, his game is just that much better, which in turn makes the team around him better. He has been a real treat to watch dominate on the court this year.
Davis has brought himself to a new level as a Laker this season – putting up 27 ppg along with his exemplary defensive presence on the court, stuffing 2.5 shots per game so far, tops in his career. And the fact is – he’s converting shots from all over the court with steady aggressiveness, and knocking down 85% from the free throw line. He is a nightmare, and a seamlessly natural weapon for LA.
As long as Kawhi is on the court for the the Clippers – he’s always a threat to post great numbers. 41% of games this season he has put up 30 or more – the 28 year old wing has been rock-steady this season, and his free throw shooting has been exceptional – and is tops in his career at 89%.
He also gets a lot of time as the primary ball-handler for LA – as he has shown that with 5 assist /game that he can keep the game under control. He can find guys, and not make stupid decisions when getting a double team, or when the pressure is on.
It doesn’t matter who is trying to slow Lebron down – the King still scores his buckets with ease – and can still keep drilling 3balls over and over, as he hits 2.2 /game this season, a career best for the old timer. James has been excellent in all aspects of the game, as usual, including a respectful 35% from beyond the arc.
Lebron has put up better than 25 PPG in each of the last 16 seasons, this year, he has shown with age, he can still produce like the youngsters can – as he has actually gotten even better with his play making ability. He leads the the NBA at 11 assists /game. It is almost as if he is finally in his natural position on the court – finding guys for buckets, James has always been a pass first player, and this year he is really showing the NBA what he can still do.