NBA Star Power Index: LeBron James fights hard; Joel Embiid, DeMar DeRozan continue to master the clutch

Welcome back NBA Star Power Stats: A weekly rating of the players who received the most buzz in the league. Being on this list isn’t necessarily a good thing – it simply means you’re getting the attention of the NBA world. This is also not a ranking. The players are listed in no particular order. This column will run weekly during the regular season.

Embiid puts Celtics lives in jeopardy on Monday, scored 17 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter when the Sixers won. Embiid shot badly from mid-range, falling from elite territory last season to the 50th percentile overall, per Glass Sanitizer, and just the 37th percentile from 4-14 feet. But he certainly found his form this Monday night:

Let’s take a look back at all the angles of that dagger with the Sixers up two and under 15 seconds to play:

Watching this game live, I was about to call it a lousy late-game possession when Embiid tore that shot. Embiid hitting two defenders to dribble a 20-foot runner isn’t ideal, but hey, he’s stuck and I think this season’s best players deserve some time to make short plays in a short period of time.

Play on Tuesday, Embiid’s 6.3 clutch points per game (when a game goes within five points with five minutes of play or less) leads the league by a decent margin, almost two full PPGs ahead of LeBron James and he’s shot 52%, including 41.7% from 3, in those minutes.

Lillard is looking closer and closer to his old self in terms of his movements, and the production going around. On Sunday, Lillard scored 17 points in the first quarter Portland beat Memphis, finishing with 32 points.

Two days earlier, Lillard had hit 43 games against the Hornets, hitting six of his 11 3-pointers, he later revealed he didn’t appreciate the criticism he faced when he He and the Blazers struggled out of the gate. .

If Lillard thinks the media is drawing attention to the struggles of a 13-18 team with just two wins on the road and a defense ranked 27th in the league, and a superstar who is shooting 39% from yard and 31% from 3, making for some sort of disrespect, then he became too comfortable within the shabby, largely unchallenged confines of a small NBA market.

The Lillard’s romance of loyalty to Portland has long sheltered him from the “disrespect” other superstars such as James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who have consistently fallen short of the highest standards of success, have suffered over the years. Part of the job, man.

That said, if this energizes Lillard’s flames, then great. He’s not the first athlete to create a story in his head that people are disrespecting him in an attempt to promote himself. For the most part, I just think he’s getting much healthier than he decided to prove these newly discovered criticisms wrong, despite the knee he’d placed on his already sensitive abdomen. me before the Grizzlies didn’t seem too good.

LeBron is doing everything he can, but the Lakers are starting Isaiah Thomas for crying out loud. Anthony Davis is go out for at least a month with a sprained MCL and the Lakers having five players participate in COVID-19 health and safety protocol.

That’s all the Lakers can do to trip over water, even if the other teams are equally handicapped. They are leading 4-4 ​​in the last 8 games and that is just a bonus for LeBron getting back into MVP form, scoring 30 plus points in seven of his last 11 games.

Also, this is completely wild:

Literally half of LeBron’s life he’s been in the NBA. Unreal.

In his first game back in two weeks under league health and safety regulations, DeRozan racked up 38 points for the Lakers as the Bulls won their return to the field after two games lost. they eat. DeRozan scored 19 points in the fourth inning, a career-high, including for the efficient game winner with a game time of under a minute.

DeRozan remains a professional drag artist. The Bulls perform a variety of actions to put him in one-on-one situations at his peak and as he dribbles to the beat into his mid-range office, you can forget it. Tracked by Synergy Sports, DeRozan ranks in the 97th percentile as the lead scorer while hitting 53% of his jumps from dribbles.

As evidenced by the clip above, DeRozan was at his most dangerous moment in the most important moments of the whole season. Going into Tuesday’s game, he has scored 55 points this season, ranking sixth in the league, and he has shot 55% from the field and 100% from the free-throw line (21 for 21) in the last few games. that minute.

Towns, who said he was playing the best basketball of his career, have been feeling high lately and it’s working. The Wolves have won four games in a row, and in that span, the Town has averaged just under 27 points on 51% shots. On Friday, Towns gave the Lakers 28 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three saves.

In the last week, Minnesota beat the Blazers, Nuggets, Lakers and Mavericks, all teams that could be around in the play-ins in late March and April. Indeed, these are the teams the Wolves will compete head-to-head as they attempt to reach the knockout stages for the second time in the past 18 seasons.

Heading into Tuesday’s game, Minnesota’s starting lineup trailed their opponents by 124 points in 127 minutes, the best run of any five-man unit in the league, and Towns was one of just five. The defenders – along with Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid – averaged at least 20 points and 9 rebounds. Out of those five, Towns was the only one to shoot 40% from 3 (41.8 to be exact).

And it’s not just the 3s standing still that are too big: Towns are 16 for 30 in 3s pull-ups during the season, and of all the players who’ve done at least 50 pull-jumps, the odds are His 62.5 efficiency is the highest score in the league. This is a massive man deadly when it comes to moving and dribbling, a truly unique force essentially seven feet tall.

The Nets announced that Irving would return to play road games (except in New York and Toronto), only for the guard to almost immediately land during COVID-19 health and safety protocols. where he joined eight other Brooklyn players: Kevin Durant, Day’Ron Sharpe, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre ‘Bembry, Bruce Brown, Jevon Carter, James Harden, James Johnson and Paul Millsap.

When Irving was allowed to play, here is a look At harder protocols he will face as an unvaccinated player. NBA Star Power Index: LeBron James fights hard; Joel Embiid, DeMar DeRozan continue to master the clutch

Curtis Crabtree

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