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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:29 pm 
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WESTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
28 Games: 28.8 PPG (47 FG%, 32 3P%, 81 FT%), 9.5 RPG, 9.0 APG, 1.4 SPG/BPG

Only two players have ever posted a 28-9-9 over a full season — Robertson and Russell Westbrook — and nobody has done so at age 20. Robertson did it four straight years from ages 22-25, making First Team All-NBA each time and winning 1964 MVP honors. All of that somehow feels realistic for Doncic before he even reaches his prime. He is as brilliant an offensive talent as there is in the game, and he has another level of efficiency to reach. As is, Doncic is orchestrating an offense that is operating at a historic level, good for the NBA’s best unit this season and enough to mask some defensive limitations.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:27 pm 
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James Harden, Houston Rockets
32 Games: 38.3 PPG (46 FG%, 38 3P%, 87 FT%), 7.5 APG, 5.9 RPG, 2.7 SPG/BPG

If you thought Harden’s usage would take a serious hit with the addition of Westbrook in Houston this season, think again. He is attempting more threes and free throws than ever, further streamlining a brand of offense that already felt like a basketball cheat code, and the result is a career-high scoring output — one unseen by any backcourt player in NBA history (and only seen by Chamberlain and Baylor). Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant respectively posted true shooting percentages of 56.2 and 55.9 in their career-best scoring seasons, and Harden is currently at 63.9. We are witnessing history.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:27 pm 
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Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
31 Games: 27.3 PPG (50 FG%, 29 3P%, 85 FT%), 9.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 4.0 SPG/BPG

Davis was the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year before the team’s recent slippage in defensive rating (down to eighth from second over the past two weeks), and he is almost impossible matchup offensively. He was already either too long or too athletic or both for anyone who stood in his way, and it is all the more difficult to double team him now that LeBron James is at his side. In the process, Davis is making his case as the best teammate LeBron has ever had — better than Dwyane Wade, who averaged a 26-6-5 with 2.6 steals/blocks per game on 50/31/76 shooting splits in 2011.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:30 pm 
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LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
32 Games: 25.1 PPG (49 FG%, 35 3P%, 69 FT%), 10.8 APG, 7.5 RPG, 1.9 SPG/BPG

Through the season’s first half, LeBron has answered any and all questions about his ability to shake off a downturn in effort and effectiveness following his first injury- and loss-plagued campaign in forever. At age 35, he is as adept at controlling a game as ever, manning the point and leading the league with his career-high assists average. He can still defend any position and chase down an unlikely block, even if it seems he is conserving energy for the playoffs on many possessions. And if he were to rest more often, which he probably should, he has still more than earned a 16th All-Star bid.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:31 pm 
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Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
25 Games: 25.6 PPG (46 FG%, 37 3P%, 88 FT%), 7.8 RPG, 5.1 APG, 2.4 SPG/BPG

The Clippers are taking a different tact with Leonard than the Lakers are with LeBron, embracing load management. And for good reason. Leonard proved to be the game’s best player in leading the Raptors to a championship last season, dominating on both ends with a serial killer’s mentality befitting the Jordan Brand, and he has done nothing to cede that title in either game against the Lakers, who are shaping up to be the only team capable of matching a healthy Clippers roster in the Western Conference this season. Leonard, only a three-time All-Star, is scripting a legacy all his own.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:32 pm 
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Reserves
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
29 Games: 24.7 PPG (50 FG%, 36 3P%, 90 FT%), 6.4 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.0 SPG/BPG

The Suns have slid in the standings, largely due to prolonged absences for several of their top rotational players and an inability to close games, but they are competitive on most nights because of Booker. He is enjoying his most efficient offensive season, creating as much or more than he ever has for others, and as a result the Suns go from an atrocious offense to an elite one with him on the court.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:33 pm 
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Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
23 Games: 23.7 PPG (43 FG%, 39 3P%, 91 FT%), 6.0 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.9 SPG/BPG

George missed the first 11 games of the season after double shoulder surgery in the offseason, which makes his production in the 23 games since all the more remarkable. Alternating between carrying the Clippers and playing the NBA’s best second fiddle, his per-36-minute averages are nearly identical to what they were a year ago, when he was a top-three MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:34 pm 
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Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
30 Games: 14.9 PPG (69 FG%, 61 FT%), 14.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.6 SPG/BPG

You might like Brandon Ingram for this spot, if only for the excitement factor, but Gobert is past due for this nod. He is the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year and still the NBA’s best rim protector, all while improving as a finisher offensively every season despite limited chances to rattle his own rim.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:35 pm 
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Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
32 Games: 18.0 PPG (50 FG%, 31 3P%, 81 FT%), 10.0 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.6 SPG/BPG

Whether it is his conditioning or not, Jokic has taken a step back from the MVP-caliber season he registered a season ago. Still, he is averaging a double-double while ranking as one of the greatest passing centers in NBA history and anchoring a top-five defense for the West’s second-place team.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:35 pm 
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Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
31 Games: 27.0 PPG (44 FG%, 36 3P%, 90 FT%), 7.6 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG/BPG

Lillard is the most under-appreciated player of his generation. Overshadowed by the likes of Harden and Stephen Curry, he continues to steadily submit incredible offensive statistics for a playoff regular. In arguably the greatest generation of guards, Lillard has been named to the All-NBA roster in four of the past six seasons, and he is every bit as productive this season as his 2018 First Team campaign.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:36 pm 
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Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
31 Games: 27.0 PPG (44 FG%, 36 3P%, 90 FT%), 7.6 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG/BPG

Lillard is the most under-appreciated player of his generation. Overshadowed by the likes of Harden and Stephen Curry, he continues to steadily submit incredible offensive statistics for a playoff regular. In arguably the greatest generation of guards, Lillard has been named to the All-NBA roster in four of the past six seasons, and he is every bit as productive this season as his 2018 First Team campaign.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:36 pm 
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Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
32 Games: 25.3 PPG (46 FG%, 36 3P%, 83 FT%), 4.6 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.5 SPG/BPG

Mitchell may not be in the midst of the MVP campaign some predicted for him, but he is enjoying the sort of sustained success everyone hoped for last year. Mitchell did well to post star-worthy numbers after a dreadful start to last season and before a rough postseason, but he is more consistent in almost every respect this year — a leader on a talented team that expected more from his backcourt mate.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:38 pm 
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Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
23 Games: 26.5 PPG (51 FG%, 42 3P%, 80 FT%), 11.7 RPG, 4.4 APG, 2.3 SPG/BPG

The Wolves spiraled over the past month. Part of that is due to Towns’ recent bout with a knee injury, and part it is owed to his porous defense, but there is no arguing his offensive talent. He is a center shooting 42 percent on 8.5 three-point attempts, and only Antetokounmpo joins him in the 26-11-4 club. He is everything Embiid wants to be on offense, without the defense, and that is still an All-Star.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:39 pm 
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Also receiving votes: LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs; DeMar DeRozan, Spurs; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder; Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans; C.J. McCollum, Blazers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Chris Paul, Thunder; Russell Westbrook, Rockets; Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves; Lou Williams, Clippers

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:47 am 
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Gervonta Davis didn’t waste any time responding to Terence Crawford’s criticism of his performance against Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Davis replied Monday night to Crawford’s critique on Twitter by comparing what he did during a 12th-round stoppage of Gamboa on Saturday night to how Crawford fared in beating Gamboa by ninth-round technical knockout 5½ years ago. Crawford floored Gamboa four times altogether, twice in the ninth round after Gamboa memorably buzzed Crawford with a right hand.

Crawford can’t understand why some fans have applauded Davis’ performance because Gamboa is 38 and already has been stopped twice – by him and underdog Robinson Castellanos.

“That same guy [Gamboa] touched you up in the first 4-5 rounds and you was the bigger guy and he hurt you,” Davis replied in a Tweet to Crawford. “I never lost not one [round]. He [barely] touched me and I moved up in weight!”

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