Now that the All Star Break has come and gone, and we’re nearing the halfway point of the NBA season, we’ve gotten a good look at all of the players and what they mean to their teams. In this week’s edition of our NBA Player Rankings we’re going to look at not only the players individual performance, but also how they help their team as well. Let’s get right to it so you can keep betting against their NBA odds.
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1. Nikola Jokic
Even though Denver struggled early in the season, they’ve been playing better as of late, and much of that is attributed to the play of Nikola Jokic. Jokic could be the best passing big man to ever play the game. Without him on the floor, the Nuggets would not be a playoff team. He’s averaging 27 points, 11 rebounds, and nearly nine assists per game, so he’s nearly averaging a triple double. His Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is 8.3, so according to statistics, if Jokic didn’t play, the Nuggets would have eight less wins.
2. Joel Embiid
Embiid is having a monster year for the Philadelphia 76ers. Bringing Doc Rivers in has drastically changed things in Philadelphia. They’ve surrounded Embiid and Ben Simmons with shooters, and the middle has opened up for Embiid’s inside game. He’s averaging 30 points and 12 rebounds per game. His WAR value is 6.8, so he has been crucial to Philadelphia’s success this season. Right now, many are considering Embiid to be the frontrunner for the league MVP award. He also has the Sixers in a position to make a run at an NBA Championship, so as long as he stays healthy, we see Embiid being a huge weapon for the Sixers.
3. LeBron James
Age doesn’t seem to be affecting James. Even at the age of 36 and having played nearly 20 years in the league, James is still averaging 25 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists per game. He has the Lakers poised to make another title run. He’s had to carry the Lakers for much of the season as Anthony Davis and other key players have missed significant time due to injuries and COVID issues. His WAR this season is 6.0, so the Lakers would be in a bad way without James on the floor.
4. Stephen Curry
While many thought that this would be another lost season for the Warriors when Klay Thompson went down, Curry had other plans. Steve Kerr has changed his offense around, and has put the ball in Curry’s hands a lot more. He has had a great season, and has put the Warriors in a position to make the playoffs. He’s currently averaging 29 points per game, with five rebounds and six assists per contest. Curry is leading a team that has a lot of new players, so it has been a trying experience for him. At this point in the season, his Wins Above Replacement is 5.6, which ranks him fifth in the NBA. Without Curry, the Warriors would very well like be sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
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