But even if he doesn't live up to his potential as a defender and becomes, say, average on that end, his offense would still make him a mainstay at the top of lists like this. And that especially became true after he fully embraced the three for the first time in his career. His in-your-face defense on opposing creators is a big reason why. The senior will bring valuable experience to a much younger Hoos team, and his defensive presence and mobility (his 10.2% block rate was 24th nationally) will once again anchor the paint. The ominous cloud hovering over Young’s game is his abysmal defense. A crafty guard who shoots nearly 42% for his career from three, Ford is efficient both inside and outside the arc with an ability to score from all three levels. Marc Gasol has posted career-low averages in points (7.6), rebounds (6.3), blocks (0.9) and two-point percentage (44.0) this season, but his impact has been an overwhelming plus because of the way he has embraced his new role on the defending champion Toronto Raptors. 1 options forever under control. Players have rarely churned out 25-point, 10-assist detonations so regularly, much less at LeBron's age. Doncic’s per 100 numbers from his debut campaign are possibly more ridiculous. Houston's defense ranks in the 34th percentile of points allowed per 100 possessions when he's manning the middle. Love will forever be tied to the Cavs for his role in the team’s 2016 championship run, but the franchise cannot let emotions and fan responses stand in the way of smart business decisions. And his vision may be better than any big man's, save Jokic's. LeBron James' will should be showing signs of erosion at age 35—something, anything, that suggests he is exiting his prime. In the right situation, this newfound willingness to spread the floor could make things easier for the rest of a lineup. Adebayo brings significantly more athleticism to the equation. That's a huge commitment, but a team that fancies itself "one piece away" may look at the last few weeks of Love's 2019-20 and think he's the floor-spacing, solid-passing big who'll put it over the top. He's also been a key component in one of the game's best lineups. Oklahoma City's offense has sputtered whenever he plays without Paul, and he's tallied just 109 possessions as the official point guard. His plus-10.5 net rating swing is, by far, the best he's ever posted. This year, on a new team that has given him more creative agency, he's been a wire-to-wire force. Despite a listed height of just 6'0", he manages to make life difficult for opposing 1s by seemingly setting up shop right under their dribble. After, threatened Conley’s career, the 32-year-old returned to the Memphis Grizzlies in the fall of 2018 and, a career-best 21.1 PPG to go along with 6.4 AST and 33.5 MIN in 70 appearances. He's second on the team in scoring (18.8) and first in threes per game (2.7). 2 option. Westbrook was on course for the fourth-worst true shooting percentage of his career prior to Jan. 1 while firing up far too many threes, during which time the Rockets failed to keep their head above water whenever he played without James Harden. Holiday, career highs in scoring (21.2 PPG) and rebounding (5.0) last season, and he also contributed 7.7 AST. And he's a 19-year-old rookie. Toronto letting him chase another ring would be a classy gesture. In the meantime, he cannot be too harshly penalized for the constraints placed upon him by the circumstances under which he plays. He can only look in the mirror for answers about his professional struggles since that moment. It is no accident New Orleans went from 26th in defensive efficiency through its first 25 games while Favors was dealing with injuries to eighth since. Just so we're clear: Paul absolutely remains a fringe top-10 player. Defenses regress into ataxic clutter when he maneuvers inside the arc, and so many opponents are predisposed to show double-teams as soon as he catches the ball outside the rainbow. His 27.5 points per 75 possessions is the second-highest mark for a rookie since 1973-74 (as far back as per-possession data goes), just behind Joel Embiid in 2016-17 and just ahead of 1984-85 Michael Jordan. Marcus Morris Sr., Los Angeles Clippers. After injuries threatened Conley’s career, the 32-year-old returned to the Memphis Grizzlies in the fall of 2018 and averaged a career-best 21.1 PPG to go along with 6.4 AST and 33.5 MIN in 70 appearances. DeRozan is an intuitive scorer and passer out of the pick-and-roll. Reconciling Simmons' offensive sins is admittedly tougher this side of his five-year max extension. The change of scenery has revitalized Hassan Whiteside. Over his first three seasons, he attempted just six threes. James could return to the top of such lists this time next year if that occurs. He doesn't even have break-in-case-of-emergency touch beyond there. Brandon Ingram has come of role this season. He is a terrifyingly talented rebounder for a guard and hasn't lost a step on defense. The Pelicans seldom dare to play Zion without him. Toronto exposed the 28-year-old at both ends of the court, though, and Vucevic was held to 11.2 PPG and a woeful 14.7 three-point shooting percentage. It's a phenomenon that traditional box scores struggle to capture. If watchability debates were a metric for value, James Harden would have no fewer than three unanimous MVP trophies sitting on his mantle. He stays in front of ball-handlers, won't bite on head-fakes and has the lateral gait to remain attached at the hip when they do put their heads down. It is even more tenuous when a team doesn't generate the spacing necessary to ensure those looks are of the best possible quality. But it still feels like we've yet to see the fully realized Russell. wrote, Love’s injury history is another reason the Cavs should sell him at a high price. 1 option for all but the 20 games Kyrie Irving played and is a willing passer when that attention overwhelms. Aldridge averaged 21.3 PPG and 9.2 REB while appearing in 81 games for the Spurs last season, and the fact that he turned 34 years old over the summer shouldn’t lead you to believe he won’t be available for head coach Gregg Popovich whenever Pop calls his number. If Utah can count on Emmanuel Mudiay to produce when Conley isn’t on the court, the veteran could be a difference-maker come the postseason. He is the secondary playmaker everyone's waiting for Jayson Tatum to be (which, for now, gives him a clear, albeit slight, edge over Boston's fast-rising linchpin). Doncic's true shooting percentage has actually jumped roughly four points from his rookie season even though his usage rate has spiked by 6.5. And he's converted 40.2 percent of those attempts.
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