This week in the NBA: Should Doncic really become an All-Star in 2019?
Charlie Dear | 8 January 2019
Odds and review of the NBA action
We are now fully in the heart of the action and there are some recurring themes that are starting to reveal themselves.
James Harden is grabbing Houston Rockets by the scruff of the neck.
Toronto Raptors still sit pretty at the top of the East and it looks like there are no signs of life at the Cleveland Cavaliers – for now.
However it’s rookie Luka Doncic making the biggest waves right now as we take a dip into the mad world of the NBA…
James Harden has really come up with the goods in the last few weeks.
He’s almost single-handedly thrust the Rockets from the lower reaches of the Western Division to an 11-2 record.
His star-studded form has drawn praise from his coach Daryl Morey who said he’s “the best offensive player of all time”.
But is he? Well, Harden’s recent record of five straight 40+ point scores has lit up the league. He leads the way in three’s and three throws and is the highest average point scorer with 33.7 points.
The point guard will still have to improve his performances in the play-offs to really be in the all-time conversation.
One thing is for sure, the Rockets man is shooting his side into contention and is now leading the way for back-to-back MVP titles.
The Oklahoma City Thunder forward is ripping it up at the moment.
His partnership with 2017 regular-season MVP Russell Westbrook was called ‘scary’ by former Boston Celtics player Paul Pierce.
The pair combined for 68 points in their recent win over Portland Trail Blazers. But it’s a more mature George that is getting people off their feet.
He netted two-straight 37 point games against LA Lakers and the Trail Blazers. This was preceded by two 43 point scores in December.
Now at 28-years-old, it looks like George has all the conditions to be a real threat in the league.
He’s one to keep a keen eye on for the rest of the year.
LeBron James came off injured but all looked rosy when Lakers defeated a wounded Golden State Warriors on Boxing Day.
The young bucks had come through despite ‘Bron going off in the third quarter.
However, since then the mood has taken a downturn with only one win in six games.
They have a clutch of promising talent including Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope but have been unable to put the W’s on the board.
The roster will have to make do without James for at least another two games.
Lakers do face a string of four games against teams behind them in the standings. We may know a bit more about this side in ten days’ time.
Timberwolves are just coming off the back of a win over Lakers – but given their general manager Tom Thibodeau his marching orders.
They have the league’s fourth-worst defence and at the time of Thibodeau firing, they are ranked 17th in the NBA.
It’s puzzling in one sense, given Derrick Rose’s heroics this year, plus Karl Anthony Towns upturn in form.
However, with the franchise going nowhere fast, a change at the top could give them an outside chance of making the play-offs.
Big Talking Point
Should Luka Doncic really be an All Star candidate?
It’s universally championed that Luka Doncic will win the rookie of the year but he’s now being talked about for the Western Conference’s All Star team of 2019.
He’s averaging 17.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists for Dallas Mavericks this campaign.
However, there is a group that due to consistency and longevity are certainties to appear in the showpiece game.
These include, Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Add in Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic and Damian Lilliard and now it looks tough.
His personal numbers and the performances of the Mavs this season do warrant the conversation.
But with the likes of three-time NBA winner Klay Thompson and former MVP Westbrook around, he will have to maintain this level at the very least to have a shout.
Brooklyn Nets @ Boston Celtics – Celtics to win on the money line – 1/5
Denver Nuggets @ Houston Rockets – Over 215.5 points in the match – 10/11
Utah Jazz @ Milwaukee Bucks – Bucks to win -5.5 spread – 10/11
LA Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks – Mavs to win 1/3 in the match betting
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing