NBA

NBA Star Power Index: Anthony Davis Goes Into Beast Mode; De’Aaron Fox on fire; Ben Simmons responds to Philly bell

NBA Star Power Index: Anthony Davis Goes Into Beast Mode; De’Aaron Fox on fire; Ben Simmons responds to Philly bell

Welcome back to N.B.A Star Power Index: A weekly indicator of the players garnering the most interest in the league. Inclusion on this list is not necessarily a good thing; it simply means you are capturing the N.B.A the attention of the world. This is not a ranking either. The players listed are in no particular order. This column will be published each week during the regular season.

Davis has been an absolute monster of late for the Lakers, and he he put up a stat line against the Suns on Tuesday you have to see to believe: 37 points, 21 rebounds, five steals and five blocks. Since blocks and steals became an official stat in 1973, Davis is the only player to put up those numbers.

Davis’ shot diet is much nicer this season. He’s cut his long mid-range attempts basically in half, doing most of his damage in the paint (prior to Phoenix, who cut a lot of his downs and post-ups, he’s been taking more down and starting the his moves closer to the rim. ; a dribble or a hard step and he’s in the paint and attacking the rim) and at the free throw line, where he’s averaging 12 attempts over his last four games.

Asserting himself in the paint and forcing his way to the free throw line is what will keep that kind of production going for Davis without having to rely on falling jumpers. He made 15 of 16 free throws Tuesday after going 18 of 21 last Friday against Detroit. This does not happen by chance. You don’t get a lucky whistle. He goes into beast mode. Playing to his size and strength and leaving teams, especially those who dare to play small, with no choice but to wrap him up.

Lakers (5-11) lost at Phoenix, but have won three of last four and await LeBron James come back friday against the Spurs. If Davis, who has joined Shaquille O’Neal and Elgin Baylor as the only players in Lakers history to go 30-15 in four straight games, continues to play like this with James back in the lineup, maybe the Lakers can start to put something real together. .

Turn on the beam, baby. The Kings have won seven in a row, and if Fox keeps playing like this, it will be nearly impossible to keep him out of his first All-Star Game. Fox had 32 points in Sacramento’s win over Memphis on Tuesday, 33 in a win against Detroit on Sunday, and is shooting career-best points from everywhere on the floor, including 81 percent at the rim and 58 percent between 4 and 14 feet, both. tying for the league-high among guards, per Cleaning the Glass.

His shot splits during this streak are brilliant.

Fox is also shooting a career-best 40.8 percent from 3 (he made 5 of 8 on Tuesday); among the league’s top 20 scorers (Fox ranks 14th), that’s the fourth-best clip from deep, trailing only Stephen Curry, Donovan Mitchell and Tyrese Maxey.

Fox remains Sacramento’s engine on a heavy pick-and-roll diet, but he’s thriving with a little more variety in his touches than in years past as the Kings have more avenues through which to initiate drives in the midcourt, meaning Domantas Sabonis in the high post or as a dribble trigger.

Fox’s midrange bridge is dropping at an efficient clip and gives it a downhill release valve so it doesn’t have to force itself into traffic; he’s making three shots per game between 5 and 14 feet, according to NBA.com tracking, which puts him near the top of guards and in line with Luka Doncic.

All of which means Fox is playing. And the Kings are no joke.

In his return to Philadelphia, Simmons faced the challenge of a semi-hostile crowd (he later beat the Philadelphia faithful). saying he thought he would be stronger) with 11 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. All things considered, I thought Simmons was on point and aggressive and frankly didn’t give Philly fans any kind of negative energy to latch on to. Even when he went to the free throw line (he made just 3 of 6) he didn’t shy away from the spotlight. He stepped up, hit his shots and was fine.

Even though Simmons played pretty well, the Nets lost the game to a Sixers team that was without its three best players: Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, which is disheartening. Simmons at center (hard to play him next to Nic Claxton due to spacing issues) is a problem on the boards, where Philly killed the Nets, whose defense has generally been better under Jacque Vaughn, but is still a problem Simmons going scoreless in the fourth quarter was a familiar sight for Sixers fans.

That said, Simmons’ overall performance is a good sign of things to come in the big picture. That’s three very solid games in a row for him. One sample is enough to say that he is doing a major corner. Simmons’ double-double in Philly came after going 15-13-7 against the Blazers and 22-8-5 against the Grizzlies, both wins for the Nets.

It’s just a different energy that Simmons is playing with right now, and by extension, there’s been a different energy about the Nets lately, despite the Sixers loss. That’s the kind of game from Simmons that gets into the spirit of an entire team.

Vaughn said Simmons plays with “strength.” That’s the best way to say it. Simmons is attacking any space in front of him, stepping up to find 3-point shooters in transition or driving into the paint himself if no one steps up to stop him. Give him a hint and he’ll climb into a post-up or Eurostepping on the edge.

In the half court, he’s making quick decisions as a DHO initiator, flowing on ball screens and rolling hard, forcing big drops to honor him as a scorer. If they do, the driver has a free lane to the curb. If they don’t, Simmons is ready to go. That’s the key for Simmons. Represent a threat. If they give you space, eat it up and don’t sit still for long. Even when it is in the unker place, it is not installed as a statue. It is ready to flash. Keep your head up for downhill passes.

This is the Simmons the Nets were hoping to get at some point, and if he keeps up the pace, they’ll be a much better team for it.

Thompson, who has struggled to find his sea legs all season, finally broke out with a vintage 41-point performance to lead Golden State to its first road win of the season (1-9) against the Rockets . Thompson drained 10 of 13 3-pointers and was aggressive (which is never a problem for him) early on.

That performance marked the sixth time Thompson has made at least 10 three-pointers in a single game, the second-most such streak in NBA history behind Steph Curry’s outrageous record of 22. Thompson, along with Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, sat out the following night in a blowout loss to New Orleans, and will look to keep his hand hot Wednesday at home against the Clippers.

Curry has 101 points in his last three games, highlighted by the 50 pieces he hung on the Suns last Wednesday. It wasn’t enough. The Warriors still lost in Phoenix. But Curry gave us another in his long list of viral shots against the Rockets, punctuating Thompson’s aforementioned performance with a “night-night” moonshot.

Curry continues to play at an insane level every night. He’s been the best player in the league, and if the Warriors can get their act together and move up in the standings, he’ll be in the running for his third MVP.

Young has yet to find his consistent shooting stroke. He’s below 40 percent overall and 30 percent from 3. But he lives in the paint and continues to get to the free throw line more than eight times a game, and for my money he’s the best passer in the world. That pass below wasn’t too difficult for a facilitator of Young’s caliber, but what a big decision to know exactly how much time he had to throw that game-winning layup to AJ Griffin as time expired against the Raptors. .

The Hawks don’t run much of an offensive system to create shots for their scorers. They basically rely on Young, and to a lesser degree Dejounte Murray, to generate everything from their own individual ability. Only with a player as big as Young can you do that, but I still wonder about the viability of such an individually intensive half court scheme in a playoff environment. We saw what the Heat did to Young last season by basically removing him from the equation. This year at least the Hawks have a second creator in Murray. We’ll see if that’s enough or if they evolve offensively as the season progresses.





#NBA #Star #Power #Index #Anthony #Davis #Beast #Mode #DeAaron #Fox #fire #Ben #Simmons #responds #Philly #bell

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