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NBA Star Power Index: Chris Paul does Point God stuff; Donovan Mitchell becomes a bankable playoff star

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Welcome back to NBA Star Strength Index – A weekly measure of players who control the most hype around the league. Reminder: inclusion on this list is not necessarily a good thing. It simply means that you are attracting the attention of the NBA world. Also, this is not a rating. The players listed are not in a particular order as it relates to the noise they generate.

when Chris Paul He suffered a contusion to his right shoulder in the first game of Phoenix Suns‘First round series vs. LeBron James and the Los Angeles LakersAlmost everyone thought that this was the end of the Suns as the worst possible injury blunder had the Point God sting again.

Think again.

The Suns chose their leader by staying alive long enough for Paul to return to what appeared to be full health, or something very close to him, defeating the Lakers in six games before jumping to a 2-0 lead in Denver Nuggets With a convincing win in Game Two on Wednesday night where Paul was absolutely fantastic with 17 points and 15 assists.

Paul, who is now The only player in the history of the NBA To score a post-season game of 15 assists without a spin with three different perks, he has now scored 38 assists against two spins over his last three playoffs. One of the clearest signs Paul is back to normal is that he takes 3 pointers without effort and does their job. Wasn’t able to do this a few weeks ago:

Through seven playoffs, Kevin Durant He averages 32 points on 55 percent of shots, the second highest field goal percentage among all post-season players (with minimum 100 attempts) behind only them. Kohi Leonard.

Brooklyn beat Milwaukee in Game 2 to take the lead in that series. Durant went to 32 points and six assists. He shot 12 of 18 from the field and 4 of 6 of 3. There is literally no defense for this guy. for StatMuse, 90 percent of Durant’s three-pointers this post-season have been contested (the highest mark among all players), and he still hits 50 percent in more than five attempts per game.

The skill and firing point are very high:

But it is not just a crime. Everyone wanted to know how Networks They would have held up defensively in the post-season, looking better in every game. Giannis Antikonmo He hits his proverbial wall again, and Durant is a big part of that. He’s averaging two blocks per game – the highest in a post-season career – and he’s poised in terms of rotation.

I love this play below. The net ignores Giannis for a split second and appears to have a basket-cutting ramp. catches the ball while in motion and Durant, who was initially tracking Brooke Lopez Down towards the baseline, he quickly jumps up to cut Giannis, then holds strong for Giannis’ second penetration attempt before forcing him to collapse with one foot:

We know nets can score a zillion points. But defending like this is how they’re going to win the championship. For his play on both ends, Durant returned to a legitimate cause as the best player in the world.

Mitchell revolted with 45 points (32 in the second half) in Utah’s Game 1 win over clippers. Sam Quinn explained in detail how Mitchell ruthless chase switch التبديل clips, waiting for the match he wants before putting the pedal down. It’s something Clippers can tolerate doing a lot themselves. Oftentimes, clippers will settle on whatever match they happen to find themselves in and go to random jumpers.

Back to Mitchell, who quickly became one of the best playoff players in the league. He’s been doing this since he was a beginner. He averaged 36 games in the bubble. He’s at 31.8 PPG so far this post-season, and look at the company his name resides in now:

Utah, in case you haven’t noticed, is real.

Damian Lillard Out of postseason, but his name still makes headlines like Trail Blazers Looking for a new coach. Lillard recorded that he wanted Jason Kidd, who promptly removed his name from consideration. Kidd’s reasons for doing this aren’t entirely clear, but I suppose he knows there’s a chance Lillard might not be long for Portland.

It is the other part of Lillard’s headlines industry. Will it be traded? Blazers general manager Neil Olshey declined even to answer the question of whether Portland might consider pressing the reset button and dealing with Lillard, but Lillard hasn’t asked for anything yet. If he does, everything changes despite the fact that he is under contract with the Blazers until 2024.

remember, James Harden He was locked up for two more seasons (with a player-in-third option) in Houston, and when he wanted to get out of a franchise that seemed to hit its ceiling, he got out. Nobody says Lillard would do that; He was as committed to the local cause as any superstar in sports.

But Portland’s options for meaningful improvement are minimal. They don’t have any space for cover. They don’t have any young players that anyone would particularly care about. Trading CJ McCollum It’s probably the only direct route, and even his $100 million contract is It is said to have a negative value about the league. If the Blazers are already stuck in place, how long will Lillard be patient?

Nikola Jokic He was officially named the League’s Player of the Year on Tuesday night, becoming the third European-born player to win the award (Giannis Antetokounmpo and Dirk Nowitzki were the other two). Jokic has been amazing this season, just leading the Nuggets after the Blazers despite his wing, Jamal Murray, out for the season.

Jokic already has a status as the greatest value pick in history. He finished 41st overall in 2014 – by far, the lowest MVP of the future (Steve Nash and Antetokounmpo, both 15th overall, previously held that distinction).

From Sam Quinn, who also wrote an interesting article on the Jokic case as Most Likely MVP in History:

Jokic became the first player in NBA history this season, averaging at least 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in a better than 52 percent shot. He hit 56.6 percent of his field goals, dwarfing those who came close to his initial numbers. His 8.3 assists per game barely missed Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 8.6 for most players in a season, and he only went away from three 3-pointers and 13 free throws to become the first player ever to join the 50-40-90 club. He did it all without missing a regular season game.

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