Until the year was shortened due to the unfortunate and tragic COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019-20 NBA season was shaping up to be one of the best in years. With the Golden State Warriors reign of terror finally over (for a season, at least), the Larry O’ Brien trophy was up for grabs by several teams led by several superstars. While we are waiting and quarantining out COVID-19, let’s take a look back at which star was dominating the NBA before they closed up shop:
In case you haven’t been around for the last 20 years of the NBA, this is a spot that LeBron James is usually in – a frontrunner for best player in the league every year. However, after having his season shortened by injury last year, there were more expectations on LeBron to bounce-back and lead the resurgent Lakers. He has done this and more, averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 10.6 assists while propping L.A. to the top spot in the Western Conference. If LeBron can continue this dominant play that has him among the leaders in the MVP race, the Lakers will be looking to get back to their championship ways once the season starts back up.
Looking at the other conference, there is a star leading the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA best 53-12 record so far this season in Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reigning NBA MVP is doing anything and everything again for Milwaukee this season by averaging 29.6 points, 13,7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists, all of which are team highs. Giannis even has stepped-up his three-point shooting capability, hitting them at 30.6% rate on almost five attempts a game. “The Greek Freak” is a monster on both ends of the court will be going full-throttle to retain his MVP title once the NBA season returns.
Although talked about less than the aforementioned players, James Harden is having another stat-packed season. Harden is averaging a league-high 34.4 points per game and is on track to average 30-plus points for the third straight season. Not only is Harden getting it done scoring, but he is also putting more than respectable rebounding (6.4 rebounds per game) and playmaking (7.4 assists per game) numbers, not to mention his improved defensive effort. While his isolation-style of play may not please the general audience, it has also led to a successful season so far for the Rockets, who have 40 wins already in an incredibly difficult Western Conference. If they can string together a few more wins to cap of the regular season, Harden will jump right back into the top player and MVP conversation.
To round out the best players so far this season is none other than wonder-boy Luka Doncic. Just a year removed from winning Rookie of the Year, he is now apart of another award conversation after leading the Mavericks to 40-wins already behind his 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 8.7 assists a game. A masterful tactician on the court, Doncic has been able to find incredible success in short-time in the NBA already and is living up to the hype he had coming out of the top-league in Spain last season. While he may not be as flashy as the other top candidates, Doncic’s ability to lead a winning team at barely 21 years old and put up impressive numbers definitely gives him a voice in the MVP conversation.
By Brice Fields