Tasmania will have a team in the NBL for the first time in 25 years after the league finalised its agreement with the state government for its participation licence in the 2021-22 season.
There’ve been so many superstars this NBA season, with some breaking through as new superstars.
But here’s what I think is the best team of the season so far (including three bench players).
PG: Luka Doncic
In only his second season in the NBA, the former Real Madrid star has gone up a level after a superb rookie year. He’s averaging 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game (first in rebounds for guards, fourth in assists, sixth in scoring).
He also has the most triple-doubles this season with 14. That’s a whole lot higher than his 21.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 6.0 apg and eight triple-doubles last year (despite only being a rookie). The question is though, can he sustain it through the rest of the season and into the playoffs?
SG: James Harden
Now, this was a hard one considering how good a season Bradley Beal is having, but Harden continues to be dominant offensively against nearly every team. Despite his numbers being lower than last season’s, he’s still averaging 34.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, as well as 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks (an increase from 0.7 last year) per game.
The big questions now is can he beat Giannis Antetokounmpo, Doncic and LeBron James this year to the MVP award once the season comes back and get Houston to the finals for the first time this century?
SF: LeBron James
After having missed the playoffs for the first time since his second year and the finals for the first time since 2011, LBJ has bounced back strongly this year with an MVP-esque season. Despite only scoring around 25.7 points per game at 49.8 per cent from the field, he has the most assists in the NBA at 10.6 per game, as well as 7.9 rebounds per game.
He also has the second-most triple-doubles this year with 13, the most he’s had since his miraculous 2017-18 season. But can he manage to get the Lakers to the finals for the first time in ten years?
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
This man just keeps getting better and better every season. And he hasn’t even hit his prime yet. He just keeps adding to his game and is now averaging a career-high 29.6 points (54.7 per cent from the field), 13.7 rebounds (third in the NBA), 5.8 assists, a steal and a block per game (with the latter three being lower than last season).
He’s also averaging 30.6 per cent from three, with all of this only in 31 minutes per game. If he can keep this up, he can go all the way again. But can he get Milwaukee to the finals this year and win an NBA championship?
C: Anthony Davis
In his first season at the Staples Center, Davis has been super impressive in the purple and gold. Improving from a decent last season, he’s averaging 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.4 blocks (equal second in the NBA), 1.5 steals (second among PFs/Cs), 3.1 assists, and is shooting 51.1 per cent from the field as well as 33. 5per cent from three.
He’s also shooting a career-high 84.5 per cent from the free-throw line, including a historic 26/27 from the line against Memphis back in October. But can he finally get into the finals and also win an NBA championship?
Bench: Bradley Beal
Another player that keeps on improving every year, Beal has shone this season without the presence of John Wall and continues to add more to his game. He’s averaging 30.5 points (second-best in the NBA), 4.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game, with points and assists a career-high as well for him.
He’s also shooting at 45.5 per cent from the field, as well as 35.3 per cent from deep. But, as with Doncic, can he still sustain it when Wall comes back from his torn Achilles?
Bench: Trae Young
Young is another one who’s had an impressive second year, dramatically improving from last year. He’s equal third in scoring, averaging 29.6 points per game, and is second in assists, averaging 9.3 assists per game as well as 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. He’s also shooting 43.7 per cent from the field and 36.1 per cent from deep.
His rookie season’s averages were 19.1 ppg, 8.1 apg, 3.7 rpg, 41.8 per cent from the field and 32.4 per cent from three. The only way is up for Young, but can he, along with Doncic and Beal, continue to endure more pressure when the season comes back?
Bench: Ben Simmons
It could’ve been Karl-Anthony Towns or teammate Joel Embiid here, but fellow Australian Simmons has again been impressive in his third season, further pushing his case he’s a future MVP. He’s averaging 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.2 assists (career-high), 2.1 steals (career-high), and is shooting 58.5 per cent from the field.
He also has the fifth-most triple-doubles this season with six as well as a career-high 35.7 minutes per game. But can he, along with Embiid, help the 76ers with a late-season push and into the finals?