การแข่งขัน: รอบที่ 121 - 152 อันดับที่ 152

15 ก.พ. 2021; ซานฟรานซิสโกแคลิฟอร์เนียสหรัฐอเมริกา; Golden State Warriors ปกป้อง Stephen Curry (30) ควบคุมบอลกับ Cleveland Cavaliers ไปข้างหน้า Cedi Osman (16) ในควอเตอร์ที่สองที่ Chase Center เครดิตภาคบังคับ: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports Stephen Curry และ Draymond Green ร่วมมือกันเพื่อนำทีม Golden State Warriors ไปสู่ชัยชนะ 129-98 เหนือ Cleveland Cavaliers ในซานฟรานซิสโก Curry มี 36 คะแนนใน 30 นาทีและ Draymond Green ผูกอาชีพของเขาด้วย 16 แอสซิสต์ที่ไปพร้อมกับหกคะแนนและแปดรีบาวน์ ในการจับคู่ผู้เข้ารอบสุดท้ายของ NBA เป็นเวลาสี่ปีติดต่อกันตั้งแต่ปี 2015-18 Curry ยิง 13 ต่อ 19 จากสนามและ 7 ต่อ 11 ใน 3 พอยน์เตอร์เพื่อนำไปสู่คะแนนรวมสูงสุดของเกม การเชื่อมต่อ Draymond-Steph นั้น 💯 @ Money23Green: 16 แอสซิสต์ @ StephenCurry 30: 36 คะแนน pic.twitter.com/yyiyh6BStr – NBA (@NBA) 16 กุมภาพันธ์ 2021 เป็นเกมที่ 10 ติดต่อกันโดยมีอย่างน้อย 27 คะแนนจากการยิง 50 เปอร์เซ็นต์หรือดีกว่าเมื่อเขาเป็นคนแรก รักษาการณ์ตั้งแต่ไมเคิลจอร์แดน (1995-96) โดยมีอย่างน้อย 25 คะแนนและยิงได้ 50 เปอร์เซ็นต์ใน 10 เกมติดต่อกัน เรื่องราวที่เกี่ยวข้องอ่านต่อไปอย่าพลาดข่าวสารและข้อมูลล่าสุด สมัครสมาชิก INQUIRER PLUS เพื่อเข้าถึง The Philippine Daily Inquirer และชื่อเรื่องอื่น ๆ อีก 70 รายการแชร์แกดเจ็ตได้สูงสุด 5 รายการฟังข่าวดาวน์โหลดเร็วที่สุด 4 โมงเช้าและแชร์บทความบนโซเชียลมีเดีย โทร 896 6000 สำหรับข้อเสนอแนะข้อร้องเรียนหรือสอบถามข้อมูลติดต่อเรา



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The Brooklyn Nets blew out the Golden State Warriors 134-117 on Saturday. It was a dominant effort from start to finish for the winning side, prompting Draymond Green to give a very blunt analysis of how he envisions things going in the East going forward.

Green said of the Nets:
“I think there are some other good teams in the East that poses a threat to them, but, they’re the team to beat in the East if you ask me. It’s my opinion. That doesn’t mean anything, but that’s my opinion, they’re definitely the team to beat in the East.”

The defeat ended hopes of a potential three-game winning streak for the Dubs. Stephen Curry went 10-of-17 for 27 points and 2-of-9 from beyond the arc, while Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andrew Wiggins each chipped in 17 points apiece on combined 15 shots.
James Harden finished with 19 points, including five three-pointers, plus 16 assists and eight rebounds in the winning effort. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was extremely impressed with what he saw.

“James Harden’s kind of a big deal,” Kerr admitted, before adding “we couldn’t handle him.”
Kyrie Irving finished 23 points on the day, while Kevin Durant chipped in 20 points on 19 shots.

All in all, the Nets are a tough team to truly assess. Sometimes they look spectacular, like when they’re laying the smackdown on the Warriors. Other times, they struggle badly versus inferior teams and immediately start beefing among themselves.
Offensively, there is no other team in the league that can compete with them on their best night. Defensively, they’re a mess by their own coach’s admission.
If Brooklyn can pull off the one megadeal they’ve been linked to over the past week, this team could turn into the class of the East. Until then, it’s hard to place them above proven elite squads in the conference like the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.

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The 2020-21 NBA trade deadline is a lot later than usual this season: March 25, 2021. And while the league has yet to release the schedule beyond the first couple of days in March, every team should have played around 40 games by that point and should have a better idea of whether they’re a buyer or seller at the deadline. With James Harden already having been dealt to the Nets, the crown jewel of this year’s deadline is Bradley Beal. If Beal is truly available, then we could have a very entertaining trade season as some of the game’s brightest young players could be offered to the Wizards. Even if Beal isn’t dealt, there are still plenty of intriguing young players on the move as well as some veteran role players who could potentially tilt the scale in the championship chase.  Here are 20 trade targets to get you primed for this March’s deadline.

 

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Bradley Beal, a 27-year-old superstar in his prime with at least another year left on his contract, is the ultimate prize now that James Harden is a Net. The Wizards are the worst teams in the NBA at 3-12, and with Russell Westbrook looking like he’s past his prime, likely have no chance at making the playoff this season. Beal’s done all he can do in Washington, but it’s time for the NBA’s leading scorer (34.7 PPG) to move on. The question is: Will a team be willing to offer the huge asking price Beal is expected to fetch. Will the Nuggets trade Michael Porter Jr. and a bunch of draft picks? Would they trade Jamal Murray? Would the Heat deal Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and some draft picks? Would the 76ers trade Ben Simmons? 

 

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We now know that Ben Simmons was on the table for James Harden earlier this season. So we’ve got to assume that he’s potentially on the table for Beal. With Joel Embiid playing at an MVP level, Simmons has been slightly less of a priority in Philly this season. That’s not to say he isn’t a great player – he’s still averaging 12.9 PPG., 8.3 RPG, and 7.9 APG while playing top-notch defense. In fact, he might be the only player on the trade market that the Wizards even consider worthy of dealing Beal for. If he isn’t dealt for Beal, he’ll probably stay put in Philly as they are still contenders with him as well.  

 

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If Bradley Beal is on the table, then Denver is at least having a meeting about offering Michael Porter Jr. for Beal. While Beal is miles better than Porter at the moment, if Porter stays healthy (a big “IF”), Porter could end up being the same kind of offensive dynamo Beal is right now…plus he’s 6-foot-10 and fits well with Nikola Jokic. MPJ has missed half of the season with coronavirus-related issues, but when he’s played (9 games), he’s been great, averaging 17.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and has 56-49-81 shooting splits in only 27.0 MPG. If he doesn’t get dealt for Beal, Denver is right to keep him as an “untouchable”. 

 

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Zach LaVine is a bit of a mix between Beal and Simmons in terms of being a trade prospect. Like Beal, he’s one of the best scorers in the NBA (26.9 PPG), but he’s in a situation where it’s probably time for him to move on. Like Simmons, he’s one of the only known potential trade targets that could potentially be the centerpiece of a trade for Beal. It would obviously take LaVine and Patrick Williams and a couple of draft picks to get Beal. 

 

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Will the Magic please just trade Aaron Gordon? This is probably the third or fourth straight year where he’s been a potential trade deadline target, and it’s getting to the point where it’d be ridiculous to not deal him. Gordon, who has the toolset to be a Draymond Green type of force as a small-ball four, has spent the majority of his tenure with the Magic playing alongside athletic teammates who cannot shoot (e.g., Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz), which, in turn, has caused Gordon’s offensive game to sputter as his points per game (13.8) is down for the third straight season. Gordon would be an excellent fit for teams with an excellent shooting backcourt like the Blazers.

 

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DeMar DeRozan is an elite offensive player (19.8 PPG, 6.7 APG, 4.8 RPG, 49-37-89 shooting splits) on a surprisingly competitive Spurs team. So why is he on this list? Well, for one, the Spurs are awful on defense when he’s on the court versus when he’s off the court – opponents’ offensive rating is plus-14.4 points per 100 possessions better when he’s on the court and the Spurs offense is only plus-3.0 points per 100 possessions worse when he’s on the court versus when he’s not on the court. Some of that blame goes on LaMarcus Aldridge too, but DeRozan’s splits are certainly problematic for a team that wants to win games. The other reason is that he’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason who almost certainly won’t be re-signing with San Antonio (unless they back up the Brinks’ truck for him). So why not try to get a mid-to-late first-rounder or younger rotation player for him from possible contender with a sputtering offense like the Heat? 

 

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Despite being deemphasized by the Hawks this season – his usage and PPG are the lowest they’ve been since his rookie season – Jumpin’ John Collins is still having an efficient season on the offensive end, averaging 16.7 PPG on 54-40-80 shooting. And whether it’s direct tied to him or other factors, the Hawks are distinctly better with him on the court than they are with him off the court as seen by his plus-16.9 points per 100 possessions differential. From his point of view, he should probably be playing more than 30.9 MPG and have a larger offensive role. That, combined with his frustration with Trae Young, which spilled over into a locker room dispute earlier this season, makes him a sneaky trade target for a team like the Mavericks that fancies itself a stealth contender, but can’t seem to recreate the offensive spark it had last year. 

 

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Andre Drummond is having a surprisingly good season across the board, averaging 18.1 PPG and an NBA-high 14.7 RPG while also being second in defensive rating, third in defensive win shares, and top-10 in steals per game, and top-20 in blocks per game. Oh, and he has a top-10 usage percentage, currently ahead of the likes of Kevin Durant, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Donovan Mitchell. He’s deserving of All-Star consideration, but at the same time, he’s an expiring free agent and somewhat redundant now that Jarrett Allen is a Cavalier. Thus, don’t be surprised if contenders like the Clippers and the Nets inquire into Drummond’s availability as the trade deadline approaches. 

 

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Remember when the Pistons could have traded Derrick Rose at peak value last season but didn’t? And Blake Griffin at peak value the season before? Folks, there’s a reason franchises like the Pistons have sucked for the past decade. Instead of getting a protected first-round pick for Rose at last year’s deadline, the Pistons will probably yield a couple of second-rounders this season as Rose’s game has declined a bit (14.2 PPG and 4.2 APG this year versus 18.1 PPG and 5.6 APG last year) and he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Keep an eye out for teams like the Clippers and Knicks with Rose. 

 

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Back in the 2005-06 season, Lou Williams was Allen Iverson’s “rookie”. Unfortunately for Lou Will, his career appears destined to have a very Iversonian-like end to it as he’s not only struggled immensely since the lemon-pepper wings fiasco in the Orlando bubble but has been completely deemphasized by the Clippers this season (his MPG are down from 28.7 to 19.6 and his PPG are down from 18.2 to 9.4 compared to last year). While this deemphasis of Lou Will has certainly hurt his trade stock, he could still be a valuable spark plug for a contending team, just not the Clippers. Because he’s an expiring contract and his salary ($8M) is easy to move, Williams could be a player who is dealt to a non-contender, then bought-out and scooped up by a team like the Sixers later this year. 

 

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Admit it, you forgot that Kevin Love was even in the NBA this season, didn’t you? Who’s to blame you though – he’s only appeared in two games and is out with a calf strain. He’s also on a fat contract that still has two years remaining after this season, so interest in the sweet-shooting, championship stretch-four is at an all-time low. With his trade value so low and the Cavs in the middle of an interesting rebuild, a team like the Nets or 76ers could swoop in a acquire him at a discount…that is, assuming they believe he can still be an impact player. 

 

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LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

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LaMarcus Aldridge is clearly past his prime, averaging the fewest points per game (14.2) since his rookie season and the fewest rebounds per game (4.5) of his entire career. His negative-13.4 points per 100 possessions on/off point differential makes it even more perplexing as to why Gregg Popovich continues to play in 27.2 MPG. At this point in his career, LMA would be much more productive being a 15-20 MPG bench big man who can hold the fort down on offense on the second unit and occasionally close games with the starters if he’s hot from the outside. A team like the Warriors could make sense with LMA as they’ll need to find ways to lessen the scoring burden on Steph Curry if they want to make any noise in the playoffs this season.

 

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This picture sums up Marvin Bagley’s career in Sacramento. It’s not Bagley’s fault that Vlade Divac selected him over Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Trae Young. It’s not his fault he’s been unable to stay healthy either. And it’s not really his fault that the Kings have shifted the direction of their team away from him as a centerpiece of their future. Some relationships just aren’t meant to be, and this is one of them. The Kings should try to salvage some of Bagley’s diminishing value and ship him to a team that’s willing to bet that a fresh start will revitalize his once-promising career. Teams that love to run-and-gun like the Bulls and Wizards should be sniffing around Bagley to see if they can strike gold on an undervalued asset with a frightening combination of height, speed, and athleticism. 

 

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JJ Redick began his NBA career sitting on the bench for Stan Van Gundy…if he doesn’t get traded before the deadline, he might end his career the way it started. For whatever reason – perhaps he hates spacing and good shooting around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram – SVG has relegated Redick to the bench and slashed his minutes (only 19.9 MPG). It’s clearly having an impact on Redick’s ability to get in a rhythm as he’s shooting a career-low 29.8 percent from three at the moment. With the Pelicans likely missing the playoffs in the Western Conference, New Orleans should do right by Redick and send him to a contender who will happily utilize his elite shooting and floor spacing skill set. 

 

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Another well-known Pelican who could be on the move this trade deadline is Lonzo Ball. The eldest of the Ball brothers is having a miserable season (with the exception of his 27-point, 8-assist explosion this past Friday night against the Bucks). After shooting 37.5 percent from three last season, Ball has regressed to 32.1 percent. His assist (4.8) and rebounding (3.9) numbers are also as low as they’ve ever been during his four-year career. Ball simply doesn’t fit well around the likes of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram because he doesn’t trust his jump shot and he is most effective when he’s a focal point on offense, which he isn’t at all in NOLA. Teams have already started to inquire as to his availability, and not been turned away, so expect Ball to be playing in a new city by the end of March.

 

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PJ Tucker, Houstons Rockets

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PJ Tucker is basically all that remains of the micro-ball era in Houston. And he’s probably not very thrilled about it as his contract issues with the front office are well-documented. Hence, Tucker is ripe to be traded this deadline as Houston is a fringe playoff team, and Tucker is not a part of their long-term plans. What teams could utilize Tucker’s tough defense, deadly corner three-point shooting, and all-around bȧdass-ness? Answer: Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Tucker would be a great small-ball four for the Nets. He’d be a good fit for either of the LA teams. And he’d give the Bucks and Sixers some added toughness that they could certainly use come playoff time. 

 

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George Hill, OKC Thunder

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George Hill is a perfect complementary guard for playoff teams looking to solidify their rotations. He’s efficient (51-39-84 shooting splits). He can play off of superstar wings who need the ball in their hands. And he can defend both guard positions. While he does have some limitations to his game that start to get exposed the deeper a team gets into the playoffs, he’d be a perfect third guard for a contender. I couldn’t think of a better fit for George than the Clippers as he’d be perfectly content subbing in for the foul-heavy Patrick Beverley, playing hard defense and shooting wide open threes off of penetration from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. 

 

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While the Grizzlies are certainly trying to make the playoffs this season, they might be willing to sell on a player like Kyle Anderson at the deadline and maximize his trade value. Anderson is having a career-year this season, averaging 12.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 3.9 APG while posting an impressive plus-6.2 points per 100 possessions on/off stat line. Standing 6-foot-9 and having an off-beat playing style, Anderson’s playmaking and feel for the game would make him a very good bench player on a number of contenders. 

 

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If Wayne Ellington is still on the Pistons after the trade deadline, everyone in Detroit’s front office should be fired on the spot. Ellington, a free agent after the season, is having the best season of his career as a 33-year-old, averaging career-highs in PPG (12.5), field goal percentage (51.6), and three-point percentage (50.5). He’s actually playing so well that it’s going to cause Detroit to win too many games and get worse lottery odds if they aren’t too careful. Ellington should be a prime target for teams like the Lakers, Sixers, Nets, and Clippers. 

 

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Victor Oladipo is an interesting case for the Rockets. On one hand, he’s playing relatively well since arriving in Houston, averaging 22.0 PPG, 5.2 APG, and 5.0 RPG in five games. On the other hand, Oladipo is going to want a huge contract this offseason, and the Rockets clearly seem intent on reducing their payroll in the post-James Harden era. Is Oladipo a player that Houston wants to build around? If not, then there’s no reason to not trade him to a contender and/or team that believes they can re-sign him in the offseason and try to get some more draft capital in return. Oladipo is ineligible to be traded until March 4, 2021, which will give the Rockets exactly three weeks to move him before the trade deadline. 

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การแข่งขัน: รอบที่ 121 - 152 อันดับที่ 152

After getting compared to the woeful 2000 and 2013 NBA Draft Classes leading up to draft night, the 2020 Draft Class has actually been one of the better classes in recent memory. There are a handful of players with All-Star potential, and maybe even All-NBA potential. There are also a number of solid rotation players that were selected at various points in the first and second rounds. Through a quarter of the season, here are the 15 rookies who have caught my eye.

Note: There are two more rookies who have a ton of potential that do not appear on this list due to injury (Obi Toppin) and lack of playing time (Devin Vassell). I expect both to be impact players once they get enough serious run on the court.

 

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If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out Tyrese Haliburton, watch this highlight tape . You’ll notice a couple of interesting things about Haliburton’s game. First, he has a funky, almost juvenile push shot – but it goes in… very often (50-47-82 shooting splits). Another thing you’ll notice, there are no mid-range shots. Haliburton is an advanced analytics darling and has a shot chart that resembles James Harden (if Harden only averaged 8.5 field goal attempts per game). In fact, he’s only taken 11 shots this season that weren’t three-pointers or inside the paint. Lastly, you should take note of his pose and feel for the game – he has a point guard’s vision but has no problem playing off the ball. Even if his numbers stay near where they currently are – 11.4 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.0 RPG – he is and projects to continue to be one of the best three players in this draft, if not the best.

 

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How can you not love watching LaMelo Ball? Every time he touches the ball, there’s the potential for a highlight-reel play. He’s so tall for a point guard, and plays fast, but not in a hurry (some coach speak for you), and he’s certainly not afraid to throw a behind-the-back pass in traffic or slick, no-look crosscourt pass. His three-point shot has so much arc you think it might hit the ceiling and his layup package is so smooth. He’s averaging 11.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 6.0 APG with 40-33-70 shooting splits, so he’s not the most efficient player right now, but he’s definitely ahead of where most people projected him to be at this point in his career. If he develops at the trajectory he’s currently on, this kid will absolutely be an All-Star and possibly even an All-NBA player in the future. 

 

© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I mean, need I say more? Look at where James Wiseman is catching that lob…off a flat-footed jump, no less!!  Wiseman has elite athleticism for a seven-footer. He’s still extremely raw – remember he basically went straight from high school to the NBA because he only played in three games at Memphis – but the Warriors have to be thrilled with his potential. Through 16 games, Wiseman is averaging 11.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.4 BPG this season. If he develops quickly alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green this year, he could be ready to be a legitimate contributor on a contender next season when Klay Thompson returns. 

 

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Every draft, there are a handful of players – typically sophomores, juniors, or seniors – whose draft stock is way too low considering their abilities and physical profile. As I outlined in my final mock draft, Immanuel Quickley had the pedigree, efficiency, and body to be an impact player in the NBA: As a sophomore was SEC Player of the Year, shot 42.8 percent from three, and had a gangly 6-foot-10 wingspan that would be able to help him play bigger than his 6-foot-3 height on both ends of the court. I had him pegged at no. 29, which was earlier than most mock drafts, but he ended up going no. 25 and has played like he should have gone in the top-five in retrospect. Quickley has been a stud thus far for the surprisingly competent Knicks, averaging 11.6 PPG and 2.5 APG while shooting 37.9 percent from three. He’s flashed more pick and roll abilities than he did at Kentucky and already possesses one of the best floaters in the NBA. When the season ends, expect Quickley to be a First-Team All-Rookie performer. 

 

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Seemingly every draft, there’s a high-risk, high-reward prospect that soars up the board in the final days leading up to draft night. Some years that prospect ends up being a stud like Jaylen Brown; other years it ends up being a bust like Mario Hezonja. Patrick Williams was that prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft, and, thus far, he looks to be much more Jaylen Brown than Mario Hezonja. While he’s still very raw, Williams clearly has the size and athleticism to be a two-way impact player and is competent enough to play 25.4 MPG right now without standing out like a sore thumb – which is no easy task when you consider that about nine of the NBA’s best 15 players are forwards. Williams will almost certainly be a solid NBA player, but we’ll have a better idea of just how high his ceiling is in the next two years. 

 

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Anthony Edwards, Minnesota T’Wolves

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Anthony Edwards, the 2020 NBA Draft’s no. 1 overall pick, has been a mixed bag this season. On one hand, he has been very inefficient, averaging 13.1 PPG on 36-31-83 shooting splits and averaging more turnovers (1.9) than assists (1.7) per game. He’s a bit of a chucker on offense and has the tendency to lean back too far on his jump shot, leading to inconsistent results. He’s also on an absolute train wreck of a franchise in Minnesota. On the other hand, he clearly has a ton of potential as seen by this recent game against the Warriors where he flashed the ability to be a three-level, go-to scorer from the guard position. Oh, and he also might be the most athletic guard in the NBA as seen by this tomahawk slam. In conclusion, it’s too early to tell whether Edwards will be a stud or a bust, but it’s safe to conclude that he’ll be spectacular one way or the other. 

 

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It’s highly unusual to see a rookie on a contending team be the focal point of the team’s offense for a stretch of games, but because of Covid-related absences in early-January, we got to see what Tyrese Maxey could with an increased usage rate. The results were very promising: During a six-game stretch in which he played 30.4 MPG, Maxey went out and averaged 18.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG, including a 39-point, seven-rebound, six-assist game against the Nuggets. While he has since been relegated back to his “spark off the bench” role, Maxey is clearly an NBA player and has the potential to be an impact player for Philly in the years to come.

 

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Boston fans have to be absolutely elated by the play of Payton Pritchard thus far. Through 14 games, he’s averaging a modest 7.7 PPG, 2.6 APG, and 2.4 RPG, but he’s been extremely efficient (49-43-90 shooting splits) and weathered the storm admirably as the team’s third guard while Kemba Walker was out for the first month of the season. Pritchard is injured right now, but he should return in two weeks and the Celtics will need him to once again play big minutes as Marcus Smart just suffered a pretty serious-looking calf injury. Pritchard doesn’t have the All-Star ceiling that these players above him possess, but he has a very high floor and projects to be one of the league’s top backup point guards for years to come. If he could be Boston’s version of Monte Morris, then he’ll end up being one of the steals of the 2020 NBA Draft.

 

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Xavier Tillman has quietly been an impressive role player for the surprisingly good Grizzlies this season. Forced into early playing time due to Jaren Jackson Jr.’s injury, Tillman has averaged 8.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and has shot 53.8 percent from the field. His game is reminiscent of Montrezl Harrell in that he has a great floater in the lane and already has the wherewithal to be an effective roll-man in pick-and-rolls. He’s also a hustler and comes up with a number of loose balls and deflections. Some of these perpetually terrible NBA franchises should be closely monitoring the Grizzlies to see how they’re not only finding hidden gems in the draft but quickly developing those gems into legitimate role players.  

 

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Speaking of hidden gems that the Grizzlies continue to uncover in the draft, Desmond Bane, a 6-foot-5 wing out of TCU, looks to be a perfect three-and-D role player for Memphis moving forward. Through 14 games, he’s averaging 9.1 PPG and shooting a league-best 52.0 percent from three-point land. He also has a plus-5.8 points per 100 possessions on/off point differential, which is something you don’t always see from rookies. Despite being the last pick of the first round, Bane has already established that he’s an NBA player and projects to be a starter-level rotation player for the majority of his career. 

 

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Jae’Sean Tate is a pretty unique rookie – he’s a 6-foot-4, 230-pound, 25-year-old bulldozer of a forward who went undrafted out of Ohio State and played in the NBL Australian league in 2019-20 before signing with the Rockets. If you followed his career at OSU at all, you’d be downright shocked that he’s not only in the NBA but often starting and playing over 25 MPG in the NBA this season. In college, Tate could handle the ball like a guard, but couldn’t shoot worth a lick (career 27.7 percent three-point shooter), so he just tried to bully-ball his way into the paint every time he had the ball. Since then, he’s developed into a good wing defender, become at least serviceable beyond the arc (33.3 percent from three), and appears destined to stick in the league. He even had the tenacity to get chippy with James Harden during the Rockets’ training camp when Harden was acting like a juvenile. That right there tells me Tate is here to stay.

 

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Isaac Okoro was my best bet to win Rookie of the Year when the season began. Unfortunately, he missed some time with an injury and also simply won’t put up impressive enough offensive statistics to take home the award. That being said, Okoro is still going to be a good wing in the NBA. He’s comfortable finishing around the basket in crowds with either hand, he’s strong and athletic enough to defend small forwards, and he’s tenacious. That combination from a player his age doesn’t often fail. Once Okoro improves his outside shooting, he could be a problem in this league. 

 

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Speaking of tenacity, Precious Achiuwa is the personification of tenacious. He may be listed as a rookie, but Achiuwa looks like a grown man standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing in at a muscular 225 pounds. In about 16 MPG, Achiuwa is averaging 7.5 PPG and 4.8 RPG while shooting an impressive 64 percent from the field. He also has an above-average Player Efficiency Rating (17.5) and appears to be an ideal #HeatCulture big man who will, alongside Bam Adebayo, scare the living hell out of opponents around the basket for years to come. 

 

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At the beginning of the season, Cole Anthony was supposed to be a spark-plug off the bench for the Magic. Unfortunately, starter Markelle Fultz tore his ACL and forced Anthony into action as the team’s primary ball-handler a little sooner than the team was hoping. Like most young point guards, Anthony has been up-and-down during his rookie season. He’s average decent numbers, 10.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 3.6 APG, but shooting an ugly 35.5 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from three. Despite this inefficient shooting, Anthony has still had a couple of great moments as a rookie, including a recent 21-point game in a win against fellow rookie point guard, LaMelo Ball, and, of course, this incredible walk-off three-pointer against the T’Wolves.

 

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The Foreign Kids on the OKC Thunder

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Two rookies have caught my eye on the OKC Thunder this season: one for the right reasons and one for the wrong reasons. Theo Maledon looks like he could be one of the steals of the draft (picked no. 34) as seen by this recent 24-point explosion against the Nets . In addition to being able to shoot the ball from deep (37.7 percent from three), Maledon is already able to make cross-court passes with either hand off the dribble – a skill typically reserved for the game’s elite playmakers. Expect Maledon to be a stud for the Thunder in the years to come. On the other end of the spectrum is the 7-foot, 190-pound Aleksej Pokusevski. Pokusevski, who had “Dragan Bender” written all over him before the draft, is having a spectacularly awful season shooting the basketball as he’s hitting only 24.7 percent from the field and 18.5 percent from three. Most amazingly (and concerning if you’re the Thunder), however, is the fact that Pokusevski has not attempted a single free throw in 276 minutes thus far. That’s right, zero free throws!! I’d expect him to be out of the league at the end of his rookie deal.

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การแข่งขัน: รอบที่ 121 - 152 อันดับที่ 152

As most of the NBA approaches the quarter-season mark of what is supposed to be a 72-game season, the NBA’s awards races are starting to take form. In this exercise, I’ve ranked the top-five Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and Most Improved Player awards race leaders and the top-three Sixth Man of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards race leaders. No coach or executive of the year rankings this early in the season – there’s just too little data for some of the teams that have had multiple games postponed for pandemic-related reasons.Enjoy!

 

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The only thing keeping Nikola Jokic from being the runaway favorite for league MVP at the quarter mark of the season is the Nuggets’ blah record (9-7). Assuming Denver gets back on track, expect Jokic to be on every MVP ballot when the season ends. Through 16 games, he’s averaging a near-triple-double (25.8 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and 9.6 APG) with 56-35-83 shooting splits. He has a chance to be the first big man since Wilt Chamberlain to lead the league in assists as well. The best part about Jokic is, unlike Russell Westbrook and Chamberlain, it doesn’t appear that he’s hunting for these rebounds and assist stats either. He’s just balling.

 

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He’s not 85 percent or 90 percent of what he used to be, Kevin Durant is 100 percent the same player he was before he tore his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals. In other words, he’s neck-and-neck with LeBron James for the “Best Player in the World” title and is a bonafide MVP threat. What kind of hindrance could hurt Kevin Durant’s MVP case, you ask? I don’t know, maybe the two other insanely gifted offensive talents (James Harden and Kyrie Irving) playing alongside him. In all seriousness though, KD is once again arguably the best player in the world, as he’s averaging 31.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 5.8 APG while shooting a scintillating 54-48-87 from the field.  

 

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Philadelphia fans have to be thrilled with Joel Embiid’s production and conditioning this season. Through 14 games, Embiid is dominating the paint, averaging 27.7 PPG, 11.5 RPG, and shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from three. He’s second in the NBA in free-throw attempts and free throws made. And second in Player Efficiency Rating (31.0), third in Win Shares Per 48 Minutes, and fourth in Defensive Rating. He clearly took his offseason seriously, got into the proverbial “best shape of his life” and is doing everything in his power to make Philly a contender. 

 

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4) Most Valuable Player: LeBron James, LA Lakers

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What can you say about this guy at this point? After everyone prematurely declared Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo the two best players in the league last year, LeBron James destroyed everything in his path last season and took his game to an even higher level in the Orlando Bubble. After everyone assumed that he’d take it easy this season after the shortest offseason in NBA history, he came out and set the tone for the Lakers’ championship defense. Despite playing a career-low 32.4 MPG, he’s still averaging 23.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 7.5 APG. He’s also shooting 38.9 percent from three on decent volume (6.4 attempts per game) as well. If he continues to play this efficiently and productively, and the Lakers finish with the best record in the league, he’ll absolutely have a legitimate MVP case. 

 

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5) Most Valuable Player: Paul George, LA Clippers

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The Paul George Vengeance Tour is off to an excellent start. In fact, he’s playing so well that he, not Kawhi Leonard, is getting the nod to represent the Clippers in this MVP list. George is averaging 23.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 5.4 APG on 52-48-91 shooting. That’s right, he’s shooting nearly 50 percent from three on 7.8 attempts per game. If he continues to play this way, the Clippers should be the team we thought they were last season. 

 

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Tyrese Haliburton is already a good NBA player. That alone makes him the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year.  LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman have the elite skills and the name recognition, but they’re both still inefficient players with obvious holes in their respective games (which is completely normal for rookies, by the way). Haliburton has a solid stat line (11.4 PPG and 4.9 APG) for a third guard, but it’s his efficiency that separates him from the rest of his class – he’s shooting an excellent 50.4 percent from the field and even more impressive 47.0 percent from three-point land. He also has the best Player Efficiency Rating (17.8) amongst all rookies. 

 

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If you watch LaMelo Ball play for even a quarter of basketball, you’ll be able to see that he’s special. He has the combination of court vision, height, and love for playmaking that only the likes of LeBron James and Luka Doncic possess. He’s a joy to watch. He’s also producing at a nice level for a rookie, averaging 11.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 6.0 APG. 

 

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James Wiseman is another special rookie from a surprisingly good rookie class. The no. 2 pick from the 2020 Draft is one of the most athletic seven-footers you will ever see and has the potential to become a DeAndre Jordan-type rim-protector and lob threat with a sprinkle of Anthony Davis’ offense skill set (just a sprinkle). He’s averaging 11.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.4 BPG, and seems to be improving now that Draymond Green is back and mentoring him on both ends of the court. 

 

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Drafted with the 25th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Immanuel Quickley, the Greek God of Floaters, might end up being the steal of the draft. Quickley has exploded onto the scene in New York with his surprisingly good pick and roll game, rangy defensive ability, and incredibly accurate floater game. Despite playing only 17.8 MPG, Quickley is averaging 11.0 PPG and 2.6 APG and has swung a couple of games for the surprisingly solid Knicks. The Knicks appear to have struck gold in this draft with Obi Toppin and Quickley as their two first-round picks. 

 

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Speaking of steals of the draft, the player drafted one spot after Quickley, Payton Pritchard, has been a godsend for the Celtics with his mature game as the team’s backup point guard with Kemba Walker out. Pritchard plays a highly efficient brand of basketball, averaging 7.7 PPG and 2.6 APG with 49-43-90 shooting splits. Not to make lazy comparisons based upon stereotypes, but Pritchard’s game projects to be a better shooting version of TJ McConnell. It’ll be impressive if he’s still in the Rookie of the Year running now that Walker is back, but Pritchard at least deserves a shoutout through the first quarter of the season.

 

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1) Most Improved Player: Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

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Jaylen Brown has been the best player on the Celtics this season. That is by no means a knock on Jayson Tatum, who is enjoying an excellent start to the season. Brown has just been that good. Through 15 games, Brown is averaging 27.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG with 53-43-78 shooting splits. Increasing his points per game by more than five points and nearly doubling his assist totals, Brown has placed himself front and center in the early season’s Most Improved Player award race.

 

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So it turns out that Christian Wood is, in fact, a certified All-Star caliber player. Houston must be absolutely thrilled by Wood’s performance thus far this year as he’s averaging 23.5 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 1.8 BPG while shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from three. Get familiar with Wood’s game because he’s a stud – unless you want to get called a “casual”.

 

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After making his first All-Star team last season, Domantas Sabonis might be too good in many voters’ eyes to elicit a Most Improved Player vote. And that’s a shame because he deserves to be considered for the improvements he made this offseason. Sabonis is averaging a career-high in points (20.9), rebounds (12.9), assists (5.8), and free throw attempts (5.8) per game this season. The Pacers (9-7) run their offense through Sabonis in the half-court in a way that isn’t so different from the way the Nuggets use Nikola Jokic as their primary offensive facilitator, making his continued development all the more impressive. 

 

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Sabonis’ teammate, Malcolm Brogdon, has also made a sneak leap this season, improving his points per game by over five points (16.5 PPG to 21.9 PPG) and tying a career-high in assists per game (7.1). He’s realized this increase in production while remaining a highly-efficient player (45-40-89 shooting splits). If the Pacers finish with a top-five record in the East, and his teammate Sabonis doesn’t steal the award from him, Brogdon should be right in the running for the Most Improved Player award. 

 

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As bad as the Pistons are this season (and they’re baddd), we all owe Jerami Grant an apology for mocking him when he decided to leave the Nuggets because he wanted to be a go-to guy of an offense. Brace yourself for these numbers, Grant is averaging career highs in points per game (24.3) and rebounds per game (6.4) to go along with 44-38-85 shooting splits!! If Grant continues to play like this, he’ll definitely be a strong Most Improved Player candidate at the end of the year – especially when you look and see that his previous career-high in points per game was 13.6.

 

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When Jordan Clarkson was an inefficient volume scorer on the Cavs, I would have never guessed that a couple of seasons later, he’d be the front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year. But he is. Clarkson is scoring in bunches this season, averaging 17.4 PPG with super-efficient shooting numbers (49-41-96 splits). Best of all, he’s a winning player as seen by his career-high (by far) 21.1 Player Efficiency Rating.

 

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Who?? The latest hidden gem developed by the Toronto Raptors is Chris Boucher, a 28-year-old, 6-foot-9 rail-thin center out of Oregon who can block shots at a high level (2.3 BPG) and bomb away from three with the best of them (48.3 percent from three this season). Forced into a bigger role than most expected this season, Boucher has responded beautifully, averaging 14.6 PPG and 6.5 RPG to go along with an eye-popping 26.8 Player Efficient Rating. If he continues to play this well, he’ll have a shot at winning both the Sixth Man of the Year award and the Most Improved Player award. 

 

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The reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner, Montrezl Harrell, may have switched locker rooms in the Staples Center, but he remains one of the game’s best bench players. Although his scoring average has dropped from 18.6 PPG to 13.6 PPG, he’s shooting 62.8 percent from the field and averaging his career-high in rebounds per game (7.1). He’s also doing this in only 24.8 MPG (he was at 27.8 MPG last season), which is all the more impressive considering how good the Lakers are and how many mouths there are to feed. 

 

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1) Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

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Why is Myles Turner the front runner for Defensive Player of the Year? Because he’s averaging 4.2 BPG and 1.5 SPG this season!! No other player is even close to approaching him in blocks per game (Rudy Gobert is at 2.7 BPG) and only 12 players are averaging more steals than Turner is per game. The advanced metrics back up Turner being an elite defender as well as he is first in defensive box plus/minus and seventh in defensive rating.

 

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2) Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Davis, LA Lakers

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Despite playing most of this season on cruise control, Anthony Davis remains the league’s most devastating defensive force. He’s fourth in the league in blocks per game (1.9) and third in defensive rating and defensive win shares. He’s the anchor of the league’s best defense (no. 1 in defensive rating) and has the Lakers back at the top of the league with an NBA-high 13 wins. If he keeps this up, he’ll have a chance to win his first career Defensive Player of the Year award.

 

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Did you know that Andre Drummond is leading the NBA in rebounding (14.5 RPG), third in defensive rating (99.8 points per 100 possessions), and third defensive win shares (1.0)? Did you know that the Cavs have the seventh-best defensive rating in the NBA? You didn’t? Well, now you do, and now you know understand why Drummond is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year, no matter what people thought of his perceived empty-calorie stats in Detroit. 

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