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The 5 ‘damned’ players and the 5 ‘saved’ of Thanos in the NBA

MIAMI – Thanos has already shown us that everything can change with a snap of the fingers.

And in his quest to maintain balance in NBA basketball, he decides to save five players, and convict five others.

With the regular season drawing to a close, here’s the final verdict.

THE SAVED …

1-Nikola Jokic

At the beginning of the year, Jokic was perhaps not given as much attention as the Nuggets did not start the season in good shape. Yet while many MVP nominees seem to want to shout from the rooftops that they deserve the award, Jokic continues to insist that he cares more about a title than the award.

Now, Jokic has to be the big MVP candidate right now. The Nuggets are the fourth seeded in the Western Conference, Jokic averaged nearly a triple-double in April, and is trying to become the center with the highest average assists throughout a season, beating Wilt Chamberlain’s record. As if that weren’t enough, Denver lost Jamal Murray for the remainder of the season, and Will Barton suffered a major muscle injury. There is more and more weight on the shoulders of Jokic, whose production has never waned. At the same time, it must be added that he has not missed a game this season, so it is very likely that he will become the first center since Shaquille O’Neal to win the MVP.

2-Joel Embiid

Speaking of dominant centers, there’s not much more Embiid can do to turn the 76ers into stars.

This season, since the arrival of Doc Rivers, he is playing more low post and maximizing his potential. His 3-point percentage has dropped a bit recently, but his stats are still extraordinary with more than 30 points and 11 rebounds on average.

After spending the bulk of the season as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, they now fell to the No. 2 ranks. No one can argue with the talent of Embiid, who appears to be Jokic’s main challenger in the MVP race, although his back still plays some tricks on him, which is why he has missed 19 games this year. Having said that, to think that at some point it was debated whether Philadelphia should stay with Embiid or Ben Simmons in case they went different paths. That debate is long over.

3-Stephen Curry

No one can argue that Curry is the greatest marksman of all time. He is a player who changed the way of playing sport forever. He has won two MVPs (one unanimously), three titles and a top scorer title. However, one could argue that this has been the best season of his career. He flirted with an average of 40 points in the month of April, has six games with at least 10 triples and at 33 years of age, he is carrying the Warriors team on his shoulders.

Golden State is in the play-in despite having neither Klay Thompson nor James Wiseman, and having a very shallow team. I understand that the lack of collective success does not help him when it comes to aspiring to individual awards, but what Curry has done this year is to remove his hat.

4-Chris Paul

Everything Chris Paul touches turns to gold. When it came to the then New Orleans Hornets, they won 20 more games than the year before. On the Clippers he led them to his first playoff appearance in six years, in Houston he led them to a Conference Finals and could have been more if he didn’t get injured. And in Oklahoma, where they were supposed to be one of the worst teams in the league, they finished fourth-seeded in the West.

Phoenix had not made the playoffs 11 years ago, and now has the second-best record in the league and last Wednesday with a 109-101 win over the Clippers, he secured his place in the championship fight.

Devin Booker is a star, but I am convinced that Paul is the main reason why Deandre Ayton has developed like the fact. Paul, who when all is said, will be remembered as one of the top 10 point guards in history, is not afraid of the moment and has the ability to make all his teammates better.

5-Kawhi Leonard

I thought of many players for this fifth position, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic or Damian Lillard, but I leaned for Leonard, who is quietly having a phenomenal campaign.

He’s hitting more than 50 percent of his doubles and more than 40 percent of his 3s, and while he has missed 16 games, he has guided the heavily casualty Clippers to striking consistency.

Unlike last year, the Clippers are flying under the radar and this year I do think they could be dangerous in the playoffs. If in fact that happens, it will be because they have in Leonard a leader who has been in these types of situations before, and who is having one of the best seasons of his career.

ESPN and Marvel will hold a special Marvel-inspired presentation for the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors on Monday, May 3, through ESPN Deportes, ESPN + , in addition to ESPN2, with the now traditional transmission of the game.

THE CONDEMNED …

1-Pascal Siakam

Perhaps one sees the Siakam numbers on the surface, and they don’t appear to be bad. But with great power comes great responsibility, and it hasn’t been an easy season for Siakam.

Since Toronto won the title and then kept the spotlight with Siakam and now without Leonard, it was expected that the Cameroonian would continue to evolve and have another leap in quality. However that did not happen and the frustrations began to accumulate.

Siakam was disciplined for walking off the court in a game against the Knicks, and a couple of months later he had a hard time with coach Nick Nurse. He is still unable to develop range shooting and the Raptors are out of the play-in in the East. Perhaps it is time to accept that Siakam cannot be a “number 1” on a contending team.

2-Myles Turner

Last season was very difficult for Turner, who publicly admitted to having had a difficult time dealing with criticism on social media, to the point that he eliminated it back then.

Personally, I think Turner has the talent to be one of the best centers in the league, which is perhaps why I’m being too harsh on him by putting him on this list.

He is having probably the best season of his career on the defensive side, he leads the League in caps and is a constant presence in the paint. However, I wanted to see more evolution of the offensive side, and that has not happened. His rebounding average and distance percentage are down, and to top it all, he suffered a foot injury that will keep him out indefinitely as Indiana continues its disappointing season and tries to hold on to a play-in spot. from the east.

3-Hassan Whiteside

Do you remember the days when Whiteside cashed in a contract greater than $ 100 million and was called to be a front-line young center?

It was not so long ago that the case occurred, it was while he was with the Miami Heat, that in my opinion he was wrong to give him that contract. Mostly because his effort was inconsistent, and his shot selection was to grab his head. In Sacramento, one would have expected at least empty statistics, but their prominence has been much more limited than expected, with just an average of 15 minutes per game and 50 percent correct free practice.

4-Avery Bradley

It seems like yesterday that Bradley decided not to participate with the Lakers in the bubble due to COVID.

Bradley is one of those players that you always want to have on your team, since he never negotiates attitude, he is an extraordinary perimeter defender and he has the ability to hurt you from a distance.

Sadly for him, injuries and COVID continued to play a trick on him this season, in which he played just 10 games for the Heat (1 as a starter) before being traded to Houston. Now as a member of the worst team in the league, he is making just 31 percent of his doubles and 28 percent of his triples.

5-Kemba Walker

I’m the first to admit that at the time, I loved the Celtics’ addition of Kemba Walker.

Walker had an explosive first step, appeared at important moments, and felt he would generate better chemistry than Kyrie Irving in the locker room. Yet here we are. The chronic knee injury is a reality, and he could never reach the level shown in Charlotte. While he’s picked up his production recently, and I understand the Celtics have had a lot of casualties this season, Walker’s lack of consistency is one of the main reasons Boston has been a disappointment.

Making 40 percent of doubles and 33 percent of triples for a player of his caliber is simply inexcusable.

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