NBA fans in the UK know the struggle. Some stay up to watch games until the early hours in the morning then try to get a few brief hours sleep. Others go to bed early and set an alarm to catch a game, which will be much easier this year with Sky Sports regularly scheduling basketball.
But trying to stay awake the following day sucks. There are few of us who are lucky enough to get NBA League Pass each season and tune in whenever we want, but that involves avoiding spoilers throughout the next day. It’s no picnic.
Despite wanting to, it’s impossible to keep this up each night for eight months, so you need to pick the games carefully. At Double Clutch, we have picked five players you simply must make the effort to stay up to watch if they have a game on the dock. So without further ado, here are your D.C. 3am All-Stars.
At Center: Nikola Jokic
by Josh Coyne
Always a polarising figure online, Nikola Jokic is well worth the next-morning grogginess. I’m way higher on the Denver Nuggets than most of the Double Clutch team it seems, but I believe in their roster this year. I think they have a healthier core and bolstered bench that can help the big Serb take a step further forward. He’s multifaceted, skilled and well worth your Lucozade-fueled early hour adventures.
At Shooting Guard: Devin Booker
by Joe Hulbert
I’ll be watching a lot of the Phoenix Suns this year, and the chief reason is Devin Booker. People like to clown on him, which I find tragic at this point. He has had the worst supporting cast I’ve seen a potential superstar have, and he has not had proper coaching but that changes with the introduction of new Head Coach, and offensive wizard, Igor Kokoskov. The Suns are going to run a very well designed offense, and Booker is going to put up mega numbers. I still think the Suns will struggle to break into the playoffs, but they will be fun and offensively lopsided. Sign me up!
At Point Guard: Luka Dončić
by Timi Awotesu
I’ve never watched the EuroLeague more closely than I did last season, and it was purely because of the storm Luke Dončić created. The Dallas Mavericks have done it again, ushering another European talent to lead their franchise. He has everything you’d want in a player, and with DEnnis Smith Jr beside him, the Mavs are going to be a show this season. Take a nap until 2am, get your arse on the couch, sit back, and enjoy.
At Small Forward(ish): Gary Harris
by Matthew Wellington
Gary Harris is unique among NBA stars. His calm demeanor means he often goes unnoticed, but make no mistake about it, when it comes to his impact on the court, he cannot be overlooked. The fourth-year guard signed an $84 million extension in 2017 and established himself as one of the most efficient and downright deadly shooters in the league. He was one of the best shooting guards in the NBA last year. Few Nuggets can be counted on night-in, night-out, but Harris is most certainly one of them.
Last season among shooting guards, he ranked 11th in points per game, fourth in field goal percentage and 13th in three-point percentage. Reliability, is Harris’ and Denver’s best weapon. He also had the best defensive rating of his career at 107.5, posted the most minutes of his career, attained his best net rating and highest usage rate. One might be led into thinking that Harris’ reliability makes him boring to watch, but that would be an incorrect assumption to make. Against Boston last season, he scored 36 points off 16-25 from the field – that makes him must watch 3am sporting goodness.
At Power Forward: Anthony Davis
by Huw Hopkins
LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis are the six highest points per game scorers for the past six season. Five of them have MVPs. Anthony Davis is the only one without.
It would be great to think that Davis could get his MVP this season, and if his New Orleans Pelicans won 50+ games and achieve a top three, maybe four seed in the Western Conference this season, he just might.
He can score from virtually anywhere, out-rebound anyone in the NBA and can handle the ball like a point guard. In the pre-season, and in the first game of the year (when the Pelicans crushed the most winning team in last year’s regular season) he showed signs of elite passing from the post and the top of the key. Not only is he a lock for a 3am All-Star, he might be the best all-around player in the NBA this season.