Atlanta Hawks 98
Indiana Pacers 108
CLEVELAND Cavaliers 114
Philadelphia 76ers 85
Toronto Raptors 103
Washington Wizards 93
Charlotte Bobcats 108
Detroit Pistons 96
Orlando Magic 100
Milwaukee Bucks 104
New York Knicks 93
Memphis Grizzlies 98
Miami Heat 117
Dallas Mavericks 106
Phoenix Suns 112 (OT)
DENVER Nuggets 107
Pistons C Andre Drummond:
13.5 ppg 12.8 rpg 1.3 bpg 2.0 spg 64% fg
Andre Drummond has pretty much exceeded everybody’s expectations of him since being drafted in the 2012 draft. The level of dominance he shows in the paint night in and night out, is really something to see. He does this with ease because he’s that much more athletic than every other center in the NBA. President of Basketball Operations, Joe Dumars has even been quoted recently as saying “I didn’t think Drummond was this good”. That should speak volumes to what this guy is doing right now. His efficiency on the offensive end of the ball is also what makes him so special. Shooting 64%. Just a look at how dominant the big man has been has of late here’s his stat line from the last 3 games.
24 points 19 rebounds 3 block 2 steals vs Bucks
10 points 18 rebounds 2 steals 1 block vs Heat
31 points 19 rebounds 6 steals 2 blocks vs 76ers
He’s doing all this only playing 33 minutes a game. I think right now the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards are kicking themselves in the behind for passing on Drummond. Imagine how much better those teams would be with him. It’s still early but this young center is not just on the verge of super stardom, but he’s on the verge of greatness. He is still figuring thing’s out on the court, think 3 years from now, he might be the most unstoppable center in the NBA.
Pacers G/F Paul George:
24.9 ppg 3.4 apg 5.9 rpg 2.1 spg 47% fg
Some may argue Paul George is already a superstar. Whether you think he is now or not really doesn’t matter, he will be. Arguably the best two-way player the NBA has to offer, George’s star is shining brighter than ever this year. Since Danny Granger went down all season with an injury last year, the talented wingman has single handedly put the Pacers on his back. Last year, pushing the defending champion Miami Heat to their limits. This year, Paul George is out for blood. Having improved his jump shot and making better shot decisions, makes him almost unguardable. On defense, the pacer’s guard brings it every night. Causing fits for some of the NBA’s very best. Paul George has put himself in the MVP conversation already in this early NBA season. A conversation some might have thought to be laughable in the off-season. He is making the world realize how talented he really is. It’s going to be fun to see how far he can take the Indiana Pacers this year.
Nuggets PG Ty Lawson:
20.2 ppg 8.1 apg 3.8 rpg 1.1 spg 46% fg
Denver has been looking for a go-to scorer and star since Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks. Ty Lawson is emerging into that player for the Nuggets. Don’t be fooled by his small stature, he can ball and ball at a very high level. He is also a fiesty perimeter defender and plays the passing lane very well. Denver started the season off slow but has now picked it up, and part of that is due to Ty Lawson’s play every night. By the end of the season Lawson should be a household name.
Kings C Demarcus Cousins:
21.7 ppg 10.1 rpg 2.6 apg 1.2 bpg 1.6 spg 48% fg
I think we all knew the story on Demarcus Cousins coming out of Kentucky. Extremely talented and could be a great player if he wants to be, but his immaturity and temper might prevent that. Up until this season all the immaturity concerns and temper problems proved to be true. This year, Cousins seems to have his head on straight and is maximizing his potential. Though the Kings are still not a very good team, Cousins has been the only consistent piece. With a wide array of moves, he poses matchup problems every night. You can’t really double team him in the post because he’s one of the better passing centers in the league. There aren’t too many flaws in the big mans game, other then he sometimes takes way too many shots, but on that team can anyone blame him?. As long as Demarcus can stay focused on basketball and continue to grow as a person, I see no reason he can’t be a superstar. Talent isn’t the issue, it’s all the other things not basketball related.
Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving:
20.6 ppg 5.9 apg 3.4 rpg 1.0 spg 40% fg
The Cavs PG is having somewhat of a down year, but it’s not completely his fault. He has to do it all on a nightly basis and is the team’s only consistent scorer. That being said, even through a down year, you can’t deny the fact Kyrie is a superstar in the making. Great ball handler, passer and just has a great feel for the PG position. Irving’s best attribute without a doubt, is that silky smooth jump shot. He is hands down one of the best shooters in the league and is dangerous from anywhere on the court. Also, Kyrie is not afraid of the big moment. He embraces it. That’s what superstars do. Cleveland’s front office really has to put some talent around this guy. Dion Waiters is about as hot and cold as you can get in the NBA. He’s not the answer, and they have no other real threat with the ball in their hands, which puts added pressure on Kyrie. You see the numbers he’s capable of putting up every night, imagine when he has someone to take the pressure off him consistently.
Pelicans C/PF Anthony Davis:
18.8 ppg 10.2 rpg 3.6 bpg 1.6 spg 49% fg
The best big man in the game as far as I’m concerned (most will disagree). What’s not to love about Davis? He’s an incredible defender, great around the rim, runs the the floor like a guard, and is a freak athlete. He also has a high motor, and gives 100% every night. The only thing standing in his way of taking that next step, is he is hurt a lot. This year he is already out for 4-6 weeks with a fractured hand. If he can stay healthy, no doubt he will reach that level of being a superstar. But you have to be on the court to do so.
Wizards PG John Wall:
19.0 ppg 9.2 apg 4.4 rpg 2.2 spg 41% fg
The former Kentucky guard is showing us every night why he earned that hefty contract extension in the off-season. Averaging a career high 9.2 assists per game, Wall looks to be more comfortable running the point this year. Him and 2nd year player Bradley Beal has made quite the dynamic duo this year. What makes Wall so special is his ridiculous speed and athleticism. Probably the fastest player in the NBA, John Wall is a downright beast in transition. That doesn’t come with some negatives though. Sometimes he plays out of control and that leads to a lot of turnovers. Another area of his game that can be fixed is his shot selection. Sometimes settling for too many jump shots. Typical growing pains for a young NBA player. We have yet to see the best of John Wall though. He hasn’t even scratched the surface on how good he can really be. He’s a superstar in the making.
76ers PG Michael Carter Williams (R):
17.7 ppg 7.3 apg 5.8 rpg 3.1 spg 40% fg
Yes, a rookie made this list. It’s not everyday you a see highly skilled 6’6 point guard in the NBA. That’s exactly what MCW is. With unbelievable court vision and poise for a rookie PG, Williams has set the NBA world on fire. Having 1 career triple double under his belt already, the game just looks like it slowed down for him. Most young players problems are the speed of the game. MCW has no problem with that at all, looking like a seasoned vet on the court. The knack on him coming out of Syracuse was his shooting. Though not great, his jumpshot has been very impressive and so has his defense, stealing 3 balls per contest. MCW just has that “it” factor you don’t see in a lot of rookies coming out of school. It wouldn’t surprise me if 2-3 years from now he’s the best PG in the game. This kid is that good.
Blazers PG Damian Lillard:
20.6 ppg 5.7 apg 4.1 apg 39% fg
Lillard is really a great player. Fearless scorer and not afraid to take that last second shot. Even though his field goal percentage is down from last year, you really can’t put a number on how he’s helped the Blazers back to relevancy. He has also helped Portland to one of the best records in the league, along side LaMarcus Aldridge. His shot selection will have to be better if he wants to take that next step. But other than that, Lillard has all the tools of a star. The Blazers have a good enough team to make it far in the playoffs, and that will be Damian Lillard’s time to shine and prove he is among the league’s best.
Suns PG/SG Eric Bledsoe:
18.8 ppg 5.8 apg 4.3 rpg 1.5 spg 49% fg
Eric Bledsoe continues to be one of the NBA’s best kept secrets. A flat out steal for the Phoenix Suns in free agency. The undersized PG has proved his money’s worth. Dubbed by some the “mini Lebron”, Bledsoe is just as good on defense as he is on offense. One of the best perimeter guard defenders in the league. He might be small but he’s an extremely strong guard. Especially when driving to the rim. He gets to the hole with ease. A true combo guard. He had to leave LA so he could flourish in his own role, other than playing behind Chris Paul every night. Even then, he showed flashes of being a great player in limited minutes. His former coach at Kentucky John Calapari, is on record as saying “If not for John Wall being here, Bledsoe could have been the #1 pick in that draft” That should speak volumes to the talent level of the young point guard. Led by Bledsoe, the future looks really bright for the Phoenix Suns.