Coach Treal | January 4th, 2020
Happy New Year Hoops Family! We are in the midst of the middle of the NBA Season and this is the best time of the year. We as fans start paying closer attention to the early playoff picture and these become the games we look back on when a team misses the playoffs or gets a less than favorable matchup. As we roll into 2020 I will be taking a look at some of the games to keep on your radar to close out the week.
The Pelicans pay a visit to Los Angles as former Lakers’ Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball make a return to the team that drafted them before being traded this summer for Anthony Davis. These two teams are complete opposites at the moment as records stand with the Lakers currently holding down the top spot in the West and the Pelicans bringing up the rear with the second-worst record in the conference at 11-23 but are currently riding the wave of a four-game winning streak.
Ingram has fully embraced his change of scenery and it is showing on the floor as he is posting career highs with 25PPG and 7RPG. The team is still awaiting the arrival of Zion Williamson who is still recovering from a knee injury but this week went through his first full practice since his knee surgery in October but has already been ruled out for this contest.
The Lakers, on the other hand, have come together on the floor quicker than most people imagined. In year 17 LeBron James has not missed a step this season as he is still right in the middle of the MVP talks as he is posting 25PPG, 7RPG and leading the entire league in assists per game at eleven. He has not carried the load alone as Anthony Davis has made his mark early putting his name in the running for not only MVP consideration but also the Defensive Player of the Year award as well. As of press, he is currently listed as probable for this contest as he is dealing with a shoulder injury.
The Hornets make there only visit to Dallas of the season to do battle with the Mavericks on Saturday Night. Even with the Hornets currently at 11-23 they still only sit one game out of the eighth seed in the East. They have had a hard time finding wins but they have found a budding player with the emergence of second-year pro Devonte’ Graham who is firmly atop mine and most people’s Most Improved Player rankings.
After seeing limited time as a rookie last season after being selected in the second round of the draft. He has taken full advantage of a rebuilding situation where he is posting 19PPG along with 8APG. He currently ranks sixth in the entire association in assists and has already racked up eleven double-doubles so far on the season. No question he will be selected to participate next month in the Rising Stars Challenge game during All-Star weekend.
Speaking of next month, the Mavericks will be represented as another second-year player will be making what looks to be the first of many All-Star Game appearances as Luka Dončić has had zero sophomore slump this season. Luka The Don has come out this season looking all the parts of an MVP candidate as he is posting averages of 29PPG, 9RPG, and 9APG along with leading the entire league with nine triple-doubles already this season.
His play has helped the Mavericks in the winning column as well as they currently sit just one game out of the fourth seed in the Western Conference. How far the team is going to go will depend on the health of Kristaps Porziņģis as he is currently day to day with a knee injury. After missing all of last season coming off ACL surgery the team is taking the smart and cautious approach regarding this latest injury.
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images