The NBA deadline and All-Star Weekend have recently passed so now we’ve reached the home stretch. Let’s take a look at some players that you may have not known were performing well this season.
1. D’Angelo Russell
It’s reasonable to see why the Lakers traded Russell, from snitching to management likely thinking he couldn’t co-exist with Lonzo Ball. However, Russell is flourishing while the Lakers are struggling with LeBron James. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they fell trap to the “Big Baller Brand” hype, when they should’ve drafted Tatum or Fox, who both would co-exist better with LeBron because they can play off the ball, rather than Lonzo who needs the ball in his hands to run an offense for now. Russell made his first All-Star game this year, is averaging over 20 points and 6 assists, and is leading his team to possible playoff contention. Many people lost hope in Russell, especially after his former Lakers teammates lost their trust in him, but now he’s proving the doubters wrong.
2. Joe Harris
Another Nets player helping their team make a playoff push, Harris has always been known as a shooter, but he’s taken it to the next level. He’s currently shooting 47% from three, which is the second best percentage in the league. His shooting skills were put on display when he won the 3-point contest at All-Star week, beating out shooters such as Steph Curry and Buddy Hield. If the Nets do make it to the playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see how far Brooklyn’s backcourt can go.
3. Nikola Vucevic
Vucevic has always been a top center in the league, but never gets credit because he plays in Orlando and isn’t as flashy as a Anthony Davis or Karl-Anthony Towns. Vucevic is making sure he gets paid this offseason as he’s putting up career numbers and made his first All-Star game appearance this year. He’s averaging 20.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, with a 37.8 three-point percentage, all career highs. Vucevic will likely leave Orlando after this season, and hopefully he can sign with a contender and get the championship ring he deserves.
4. John Collins
This year’s dunk contest shouldn’t be the only reason why you know about Collins. He’s currently their franchise player, even with all the young potential they have on their team. Collins drastically improved his jump shot, currently shooting 64 more three-point field goals than he did last year and has a better percentage as well at 36.9%. He’s also averaging 19.1 points, 9.5 rebounds with a 61.1 two-point percentage, all improvements from last year. Even though Atlanta should’ve never traded Doncic during the draft, their future is bright with Collins.
5. Paul George
After the gruesome injury that happened in 2014, Paul George has bounced back and is playing better than ever, with a career high of 28.7 points per game, more than Russell Westbrook’s 22.5. The former Pacer also has the best three-point percentage on the team with 40.3%. Whether George has surpassed Westbrook as the best player on OKC or not, it’s no debate that George is the go-to scorer for OKC.
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