As most teams have played 40 of their 72 games, the NBA season is rapidly moving along. The All Star Break has come and gone, and we’re now nearing the trade deadline. Teams are trying to decide whether or not they’re going to play for the present, or play for the future. Some of the top players in the league play for the top teams in the standings, and they’re hoping that they can make a deal to make their teams better. Players are now hitting a tough stretch where there’s no break in sight, and they’ll have to fight through fatigue and tired legs. Let’s take a look at the player rankings at this point in the NBA season so you can keep making your bets against their NBA odds.
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1. LeBron James – Los Angeles Lakers
Even though the Lakers are trying to keep James fresh and are cutting his minutes down, he’s still putting up some great numbers. He is averaging 27 points per game, along with seven rebounds and seven assists per contest. He’s keeping a Laker team that has had to deal with the prolonged absence of Anthony Davis near the top of the Western Conference standings. The Lakers are hoping that James has enough gas left in the tank to make another long playoff run.
2. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers
Even though Embiid is going to miss an extended amount of time with a knee injury, up to this point, he has been one of the best players in the league. Under the tutelage of Doc Rivers, Embiid has become a huge force. His great play has led the 76ers to the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Embiid is averaging nearly 30 points per game, while averaging 11 rebounds, three assists, and 1.5 blocks per game. Many experts have stated that they feel that Embiid is the frontrunner for the NBA MVP award.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
Don’t look now, but the Bucks are making a run at the top spot in the Eastern Conference. After a slow start to the season, the Bucks have come alive. Head Coach Mike Budenholzer has been making numerous changes throughout the season, and the Bucks are finally starting to put everything together. Many of the changes put in place were to make Giannis Antetokounmpo even more dangerous than he already was. Right now, he’s averaging over 29 points per game, nearly 12 boards, and close to seven assists per contest. If he can keep this pace up, the Bucks will be hard to stop come playoff time.
4. Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have come alive and are charging up the Western Conference standings. Their improved play as a team all centers around Nikola Jokic. Jokic can do it all on the offensive end. He’s known as a great passer, and he can score inside or outside. He’s averaging 27 points, 11 boards, and nearly nine assists per game. Jokic is the key to the Nuggets offense, and when he’s playing well, the Nuggets are a hard team to contend with. If they can continue on the path they’re on, they’ll be trouble for someone come playoff time.