NBA Wrap-up: December / January 2019

NBA Wrap-up: December / January 2019

The NBA completely took over Super Bowl week thanks to a Kristaps Porzingis trade, Anthony Davis publicly declaring he wouldn’t re-sign with New Orleans Pelicans, and the Chicago Bulls trading for Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (the latter admittedly drawing fewer headlines). However, the Milwaukee Bucks currently hold the NBA’s best record, while the Denver Nuggets sit on top out West. James Harden has left the pack in the dust as he leads scoring with a whopping 36.3 points per game (Davis is in second with 29.3), Andre Drummond has had a coule 20 point 20 rebounds games that has helped him hold on as the leading rebounder with 14.9, and the triple-double-averaging Russell Westbrook currently tops the assist leaderboard with 10.9.

Hero Team

The Golden State Warriors are gradually becoming the team people feared. DeMarcus Cousins has got involved, posting 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in a little under 23 minutes per game. They have won 14 of the last 16 and the two losses came at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Houston Rockets (the latter from a one-point loss in overtime). However, a dominant win over the current number one seed in the West, Denver, will help when it comes to crunch time in the playoff race.

Zero Team

The New York Knicks are currently sitting on a 13-game slide, they just traded away the franchise’s first real star in a while, and it doesn’t look like winning ways will be returning to Madison Square Garden for a while. The chatter of them picking up Kevin Durant is something, but who knows what might happen with that if New York doesn’t have a supporting cast to put around him.

MVP

James Harden has been on a mad run recently, cementing his case as the number one MVP candidate. That one point win over the Warriors was thanks to a 44-point outing from The Beard, and he has averaged 44.6 points, 9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.6 steals over the past  10 games. It’s going to take a lot for anyone to pass Harden to close out the season.

MIP

The Brooklyn Nets are a playoff team, thanks in no small part to one key guy: first time All-Star D’Angelo Russell. He is the team’s first All-Star since Joe Johnson back in 2013-14 and is is putting up career highs of 19.6 point and 6.4 assists. Russell has made the Nets watchable again, something even Johnson struggled to do.

Rookie of the Year

Luka Dončić could have been an All-Star. He was so close, and over the last 10 games he’s put up 23.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists. He is also the second youngest player to get one, thanks to an 18 point, 11 rebound and 10 assist performance, and has become the seventh youngest player to reach 1,000 points for his career.

Individual performance

This section could effectively be re-titled Best James Harden performance. The 61-point, 15-rebound double-double he put on the Knicks in MSG? Or a 43-point, 10 rebound, 12-assist triple-double, his fourth 40-point triple-double of the season? Or maybe the 44 he dropped on Golden State in overtime, including the winning basket? Whatever one it is, this has been Harden’s month.


Featured Photo –  Getty Images / Double Clutch illustration

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