• Dennis Dow

The 5 Most Exciting Players to Watch

Dec. 7, 2017 - Source: Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

The NBA is so much fun right now. The regular season has been great and there have been some really cool storylines. Some of the most intriguing things to the season has been the step up that some players have taken. There have also been some players that have just made it fun to watch them on a nightly basis. Taking some from both of these columns, here are the top 5 most exciting players to watch.

LeBron James

What else can you say about Lebron James? I think Kyle Korver summed it up when they asked him about it after a game against the Hawks. What Lebron James has been able to do has been nothing short of unbelievable this season. The most criticized player in the history of the NBA had critics coming for him as early as the off-season when they marveled at the players around him and said there was no way they should not win a title. Obviously, those people did not watch Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade play together and the Cavaliers had a rough start to the season.

Just as the vultures were circling their carcass, Lebron exploded and ran off a string of games that would’ve been the talk of the league had it not been for someone else on this list putting up amazing numbers. After 31 games, Lebron is averaging 27.8 points, 9.3 assists, and 8.5 rebounds. If only he could get another 0.7 assists and 1.5 rebounds, ESPN would talk about him all the time. All kidding aside, Lebron James has been spectacular and if you have not watched the Cavaliers play recently you need to do so immediately. The Cavaliers have won 18 of their last 19 games and are putting some pressure on the Boston Celtics, who looked like they would run away with the East.

Some of the games he has put up this season. The 57 points against Washington in November, the 17 assist game against the Hawks last week, the 15 assist game against Washington last Sunday, or the multitude of 30 point games. Say what you will about Lebron James, but he is still pretty great at basketball and I would not be shocked to see him continue for another few years on this type of run.

James Harden

The Rockets look like a team that could compete with the Warriors with the way that they have played. They have blown teams off the court and it starts and ends with James Harden. Harden is having one of the best offensive starts to a season in the history of the NBA. The history of the NBA. Harden has reached a new level and while critics will be quick to point out his playoff struggles, you cannot deny the amazing start that he has had in the context of team success. The Rockets have the best record in the NBA with Harden leading the way averaging 31 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds per game.

It is not just that the Rockets are a good offensive team, they are a juggernaut. They have won 18 games by 11 points or more. They have won 9 games by 20 points or more. Harden has had his own highlight games, including his 56 point blow-up against the Utah Jazz in November, a pair of 48 point games against the Blazers and Suns, and his own 17 assist game against the Pelicans last week.

If the Rockets can continue their dominance, Harden should win the MVP award. He is unquestionably the frontrunner in the eyes of many people that follow the league. He will continue to hear the playoff remarks until he actually wins in the playoffs, but to discount Harden’s season thus far would be a crime. This guy is an offensive genius and is unstoppable. You have to watch this guy play.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Greek Freak had a hellacious start to the season featuring some nasty dunks, some amazing blocks, and some unbelievable feats of wingspanning (I’m making this a word). Giannis has grown this season and has become a dominant scorer for a Milwaukee team that has struggled. Giannis’ ability to dominate inside the three point arc has to be appreciated. He is putting up almost 30 points per game without a reliable three point shot. How does he do that? Well, he shoots 47% of his shots at the rim and he is making over 76% of those shots. Once he gets there, you cannot stop him.

While he has had some tough moments this season, like threatening his coach, he has become must see TV for any NBA fan. He has three 40 point games already this season, when his previous high in a season was just one. He has had some amazing moments including his mid air clash with Aron Baynes, his amazing dunks in San Antonio, his ability to get to the rim in so few strides, and did I mention the amount of blocks that he has had this season? It is exciting to see Giannis able to do so much on the court. He is only 23 years old. Hopefully, he continues to dominate on the court and his team can put together some good basketball, it would be a shame for Giannis to miss the playoffs.

Victor Oladipo

This feels weird to type, but this guy has just been amazing this year. It’s been a great story. The Pacers trade away their star and the thinking is that they get nothing in return, but Victor Oladipo has turned into a superstar. He has had an amazing 30 games for a Pacers team that has exceeded expectations. They are currently 17-14 and look like a playoff team this early in the season.

Oladipo has been possessed, he is putting up some big numbers. He is scoring 25 per game, grabbing 5 rebounds, and dishing out 4 assists. He is still shooting almost 43% from three this season and he has been great at the end of games for the Pacers. He has 6 games of 30 points or more including a 47 point outburst against the Nuggets and a 33 point game to end Cleveland’s winning streak. It has been a great start to the season for Oladipo, let’s hope that it continues because this is a great story for the league.

Joel Embiid

The 76ers big man has been exciting to watch on the court for his play and also for some of his shenanigans that involve waving goodbye to players that foul out and staring down guys after he blocks their shot. He has also been more than willing to jaw with other players and let them know when he is taking it to them. Under all of the fluff and showboating there is a monster of a center with quickness and some great skills with the ball. Embiid really has been worth the Process and 76ers fans are so excited for every moment the big man is on the court.

He has appeared in 23 of the 76ers 29 games. In the games that they do not have him on the court, the Sixers are 1-5. They are currently 14-15 and have been slumping lately. With Embiid on the court, the Sixers will be a team’s worst nightmare in the playoffs, he has shown what he can do this season. He had the 46 point coming out party against the Lakers, the 34 point triple overtime thriller against the Thunder, and the 28 point eurostep game against the Timberwolves complete with Instagram trolling of Karl-Anthony Towns. In addition to those moments, you have the classic block of Donovan Mitchell with the staredown and flop, the feud with Lavar Ball, and the great back and forth with Hassan Whiteside. He has also been great with the media. This guy is great for the league and he seems very self-aware of what he is doing. This guy is great to watch.

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