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NBA Star Power Index: Chris Paul does things from God to God; Donovan Mitchell became the banking star for the playoffs

Welcome back to NBA Star Power Index – a weekly indicator of the players who control the most noise around the league. Reminder: Being on this list is not necessarily a good thing. It just means you’re getting the world’s attention in the NBA. Besides, this is not a ranking. The listed players are not in a specific order, as this refers to the news they generate.

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When Chris Paul suffered a right shoulder injury in Game 1 of the first round of the Phoenix Suns against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, almost everyone thought the Suns’ end was the worst – a bad mistake had stung Point God again.

Think again.

The Suns lifted their leader, staying alive long enough for Paul to return to what appears to be full health or something quite close to him, defeating the Lakers in six games before jumping 2-0 to Denver. The Nuggets with a convincing win from game 2 on Wednesday night, in which Paul was absolutely brilliant with 17 points and 15 assists.

Paul, who is now the only player in NBA history to record 15 assists with zero turnovers after a season with three different franchises, has now amassed 38 assists against two turnovers in his last three playoff games. One of the clearest signs that Paul is back to normal is that he is taking and making effortlessly 3-point points. He was unable to do so a few weeks ago:


In seven playoff games, Kevin Durant averaged 32 points with 55 percent shooting, the second highest percentage of field goals of all players since the season (minimum 100 attempts) behind only Kauhi Leonard.

Brooklyn crushed Milwaukee in Game 2 to take command of this series. Durant took 32 points and six assists. He shoots 12 of 18 from the field and 4 of 6 of 3. There is literally no protection for this man. For StatMuse, 90 percent of Durant’s 3 pointers this season have been contested (the highest score among all players) and he still shoots 50 percent in more than five attempts.

The skill and the release point are just too high:

But this is not just an insult. Everyone wanted to know how the Nets would fare in defense in the post-season period and look better in every game. Giannis Antetokounmpo hits his proverbial wall again and Duran is a big part of it. He makes an average of two blocks per game – a high career after the season – and is on the move with his rotations.

I love this play below. The nets ignore Janice for a split second, and he appears to have a basket-cutting track. He catches the ball in motion, and Durant, who initially followed Brooke Lopez down to the baseline, quickly jumps to cut Janice, then holds on tight to Janice’s second attempt to penetrate before forcing him to fall with one foot.

We know that Networks can earn a million points. But such protection is how they will win the championship. For his game from both ends, Durant returned to a legitimate case as the best player in the world.


Mitchell erupted for 45 points (32 in the second half) in Utah’s 1 win over the Clippers. Our Sam Quinn told in detail how Mitchell relentlessly switches the hunt for the videos, waiting for the desired match before putting the pedal. This is something that Clippers can do to do much more than themselves. Too often, Clippers are simply content with any game they fall into and enter random jumpers.

Back to Mitchell, who quickly became one of the most profitable performers in the playoffs in the league. He makes it from a rookie. He played an average of 36 games in the bubble. He is at 31.8 PPG so far this season and see the company that now has his name on it:

Utah, in case you haven’t noticed, really is.


Damian Lillard is out of season, but his name is still in the headlines while the Trail Blazers are looking for a new coach. Lillard wrote that he wanted Jason Kidd, who immediately removed his name from consideration. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but I would say that he knows that there is a chance that Lillard will not be long for Portland.

Which is the other part of Lillard’s title. Will it be traded? Blazers general manager Neil Olshi refused to even answer the question of whether Portland might consider pressing the reset button and handing out Lillard, but Lillard still doesn’t want anything. If he does, everything will change, despite the fact that a contract has been signed with the Blazers until 2024.

Remember that James Harden was locked up for two more seasons (with a third-player option) in Houston, and when he wanted a franchise that seemed to hit the ceiling, he came out. No one says Lillard will do that; he is as dedicated to the local cause as any superstar in the sport.

But Portland’s potential for significant improvement is minimal. They have no place for caps. They don’t have young players that anyone is particularly interested in. Trading with CJ McCollum is perhaps the only immediate path, and it is even believed that his $ 100 million contract has a negative value around the league. If the Blazers really stayed where they were, how long would Lillard be patient?


Nikola Jokic was officially named the league’s MVP on Tuesday night, becoming the third European-born player to win the award (Giannis Antetokounmpo and Dirk Nowitzki were the other two). Jokic has been impressive this season and has just led the Nuggets past the Blazers, although his winger, Jamal Murray, has been out of season.

Jokic already has a case as the largest selection of drafts in history. He was ranked 41st overall in 2014 – by far the lowest slot the future MVP has gone to (Steve Nash and Antetokumpompo, both 15th overall before this award).

From our Sam Quinn, who also wrote an interesting piece that makes the Jokic case the least likely MVP in history:

Jokic became the first player in NBA history this season, averaging at least 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in better than 52 percent shooting. He scored 56.6 percent of his goals on the field, beating those who came close to his raw numbers. His 8.3 assists per game barely missed Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 8.6 for the most from one center per season and he came in with just three 3-points and 13 free throws to become the first center to ever join. to the club 50-40-90. He did all this without missing a single game of the regular season.

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