The current NBA season 2021-2022 is well underway. So far there have been some terrific games and spectacular points scored. But who are the players who have stood out so far and which of their teams are likely to go on to success?
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid has brought his full style and verve to the opening games of this season. After missing some games, the player returned in style with a fantastic comeback performance against Charlotte Hornets
Embiid produced a powerful display topped off by a season-high of 43 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists to win in overtime. The nail-biting win for the 76ers showcased the team’s endurance and strength. Despite Embiid’s impressive displays, the 76ers are huge outsiders to win the championship in the latest NBA lines, at +2200, he’ll have to hope his team can match is standards if they are to have any chance.
Embiid looks to be as vital to the team as he was last season when he was runner up forthe league’s MVP award. He averaged 28.5 points across the season that helped to lead the Sixers to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Few players have had a road to stardom as impressive as Nikola Jokic. When he entered the NBA seven long years ago, Jokic was the lowest drafted player as the 41st pick. That seems incredible now given how great his performances have been since. The winner of last season’s MVP is still only 26 and has the world of basketball at his boots.
Jokic showed exactly why he is so highly rated in a recent epic over time performance against the New Orleans Pelicans. Jokic registered a season-best of 39 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. 11 of the points came during OT, which was a massive boost in helping the Nuggets take down the Pelicans.
Jokic’s 61st triple-double in his career added weight to the argument that he is one of the best, if not the best, in the league.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
The nearly 37-year-old James has had an amazing career that shows no signs of slowing down. Considered to be one of the best players to have ever graced the NBA, so far this season James has once again proved to be a player to be reckoned with.
The superstar has so far averaged 26 points per game, with 6 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2 steals demonstrating his overall importance to his team.
The Lakers should never be discounted with an on-form James firing them up. Whether they can go further than last year will have a lot to do with keeping James fit and scoring.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
There must have been serious celebrations in Milwaukee when Antetokounmpo signed an extension deal last year with the Bucks. The reigning NBA champs have built a team around the superstar for good reason; the only 26-years-old player is still improving.
With a trophy under his belt, the player is more confident than ever. The seven-foot player tries for more long-range three-pointers than ever, with the potential for slam dunks also always within reach.
If the Bucks are to be in with a shout of holding on to their title, which they most certainly are, it is because of the strength and unquestioned work rate of Antetokounmpo.
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
At 33-years old Durant is an experienced and commanding presence on court and is currently at his best. He showcased that in the 2021 NBA playoffs when he averaged a devastating 34.3 points. He came tantalizingly close to leading his team to victory in the final against the Bucks.
This year few would bet against Durant helping the Nets to go one better by taking the trophy back to Brooklyn.
Durant’s skills and composure is added to with fantastic endurance and stamina. This is evidenced by the fact that he missed the whole of the 2019/2020 season and significant parts of the next one due to injury.
This year Durant has already shown his skills to the full, helping the Nets to the top spaces of the Eastern Conference.
As the season continues, the Nets and Durant have their sights on the ultimate prize in basketball.