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Malgré son statut de MVP en titre, Nikola Jokic admet volontiers qu'un joueur en particulier l'a vu plus que quiconque en NBA...
The Golden State Warriors have to do without Kelly Oubre Jr. for the second year in a row.
The Golden State Warriors have to do without Kelly Oubre Jr. for the second year in a row.
The Golden Knights face the Blues in St. Louis on Wednesday night looking for their second straight win.
. . The NBA may become the super team league again once the dust settles on the free agency in 2021, but right now there are an unusually large number of teams with routes to competition. Over the next three days, we'll break down the reasons to believe in these competitors - and the reasons to doubt them. We have already examined the four true competitors of the league and the second stage of the Eastern Conference. Today we look at the second tier of hope in the West. Denver Nuggets Reasons to Believe: As long as Nikola Jokic is healthy (which he always is), the Nuggets will have an elite offense. Jokic is quite simply the most unguarded big man in the league, with a combination of post-scoring and passing ability that offers opponents a loss-loss suggestion of either playing him twice or taking their chances in a single coverage. Denver averages 1. 11 points per possession last season when Jokic either shot or went straight to a shooter off the post, according to Synergy. What added to the ceiling of the nuggets in the bladder was Jamal Murray joining Jokic on the superstar shift that Bejeezus shot out of the ball, tightening his grip and manipulating the defense with his increasingly deceptive pass. Murray already had balletic chemistry with Jokic, but his six-week goal fire helped the two achieve new levels of symbiosis. The threat Murray posed as a pull-up shooter resulted in more transfers from defense in hopes of losing his daylight, which in turn gave Jokic more opportunities to work against smaller defenders. If Murray can transmit and maintain something close to his postseason level, and Michael Porter Jr. . can build on his own eye-opening bubble burst, and Gary Harris can rediscover his shooting stroke. This has the potential to be the best offense in the league. The nuggets can be a headache on even the strongest and most match-up secured defenses - including those of the Clippers and Lakers, the teams they almost certainly have to go through to win the West. Garrett Ellwood / NBA / Getty Images Reasons to Doubt: This team just has too many defensive holes. By and large, the Nuggets likely took a hiatus when Jerami Grant decided to take on the Pistons' three-year $ 60 million offer instead of returning to Denver for the same money, but if it comes to their hopes, this season to fight and lose Grant was a hard blow. His defense against Kawhi Leonard was key to their comeback against the Clippers, and their hopes of upset the Lakers depended on his ability to passably defend Anthony Davis or LeBron James. The Nuggets also lost defensive specialist Torrey Craig, who, despite all his offensive limitations, was a handy ace in the hole. These two exits leave them few opportunities to throw opposing power wings, as is common in Los Angeles. Harris is probably the best option, but at just 6-foot-4, he's going to make a lot of height to the likes of James, Leonard, and Paul George. Will Barton offers a bit more height but weighs only 180 pounds. The forecourt will present its own challenges. Porter's development numbers are priority, but due to his disastrous defense, he has been knocked off the floor at various points in the playoffs. And Paul Millsap, arguably the top team defender in Denver for the past three years, is entering his 36-year season after seeing a step and a half in the bladder. All in all, there isn't a lot of force field around Jokic who isn't a fringe deterrent and needs all the protection he can get. The Nuggets managed to put together a league-average defense last season that still wasn't good enough. It will be even more difficult this year. - WolfondDallas Maverick's Reasons to Believe: Luka Doncic is the real deal. An MVP-caliber superstar is the NBA's greatest equalizer, and Doncic is one of the few Mavericks players capable of playing at this level. He was 28 on average. 8 points, 9. 4 rebounds and 8. 8 templates on 58. 5% real shooting as a 20 year old student. After his first taste of playoff basketball, what could be in store a few months ago? Kristaps Porzingis was in shape and played one of the best basketball players of his career before dropping out averaging 27 and 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks in his last 21 games in August with another knee injury. For the season, he shot more than 35% from depth in more than seven attempts per game and was one of the most effective rim protectors in the league. The Mavs have expressed confidence in Porzingis' recovery and are expecting him as early as January. If he can finally stay healthy and find the same shape as the season progresses, Dallas will have a pretty devastating one-two punch and the lethality of Doncic's pick and roll game will only increase. Meanwhile, Dwight Powell's return means Dallas can survive better without Porzingis. Losing Seth Curry will hurt, but the Mavs already had the most efficient offensive ever last season, and the Josh Richardson acquisition gives them a more balanced roster. Richardson is a career 36% 3 point shooter with some playing skills that can protect the best perimeter players on the opposing team. Tim Hardaway Jr. . has proven himself to be a dependable role-player, while Maxi Kleber, Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Boban Marjanovic, Willie Cauley-Stein, Wes Iwundu and Trey Burke - who revived his careers in the bubble - complete a roster that's roughly 12 deep is. Kevin C. . Cox / NBA / Getty Images Reasons to Doubt: If relying on Porzingis to stay healthy is a key component of your championship formula, you could be in trouble with the big man having surgeries on both knees for the past three years would have. In a stacked vest, the Mavs can't afford to have their second best player always catching up. While the Mavs are deep into rotary caliber talent, if you take Porzingis out of the equation, Doncic's fall-off to the rest of the roster is far more dramatic than is usually the case with legitimate competitors. There is also the subject of defense. Richardson is an obvious upgrade over Curry, but will he really make the difference between a Rank 18 defense and a defense strong enough to power a title contender? Not to mention that neither Richardson nor Finney-Smith are big enough to protect players like LeBron or Kawhi, which could be the fatal blow in any playoff series against the Lakers or Clippers. - CasciaroPortland Trail Blazers Reasons to Believe: Damian Lillard is practically an elite offense on his own terms. He's the league's most prolific pick-and-roll goalscorer, defense-warping pull-up shooter, and elite playmaker who adds new folds to his game every year. He and CJ McCollum - one of the game's top secondary ball handlers and self-creators - are role models for longevity. And this year, this high-scoring backcourt will be complemented by the best supporting cast there has ever been. The Blazers can count on positive health regression after one hell of a season of injuries. Having Jusuf Nurkic in action from day one will be a great boon to her offensive dynamic, internal defense and rebound. (Portland rose from first place in the league in rebound rate in 2018-19 to Jan.. Place last season without Nurkic. ) After his 16 month absence, he struggled to defend himself in space in the bubble, but the rest of his game seemed to have barely missed a hit and is believed to have moved a little better after an off-season. With Nurkic in the middle, Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. . Arriving to prop up front points and looming threat of the ball Gary Trent Jr. . Portland, which will play a bigger role after the bubble erupts, appears to have finally struck the right balance between offense and defense. Your wing situation is as good as at any point in the Lillard era. Covington in particular will completely change the shape of this team. He's the kind of defender who can cover Lillard and McCollum and give Jusuf Nurkic some cover on pick and roll. There may not be a better player in the league blowing up drives and rollers when pinched from the wing. Add in his effectiveness and willingness as a spot-up 3 point shooter and he'll fit like a glove. He and Jones also give the blazers the kind of lineup and schematic flexibility they lacked during the Lillard era. If Portland can combine its presumably elitist offensive with a slightly above-average defense, then you should be careful. Jesse D. . Garrabrant / NBA / Getty Images Reasons to Doubt: As much as the Blazer's defenses have improved, it's still a long climb from disaster to 28th last year. And like most teams in the west, they don't really have any good options for protecting the L. A. Teams. As disruptive and diverse as Covington and Jones are as team defenders, so little is the elite on the ball. Trent is probably the team's best lone stopper, but his size makes him better for defending guards than strikers. In general, it is really difficult to build a legitimate competitor around a backcourt as small and defensively flawed as Lillard-McCollum. Despite all of the memorable playoff moments he's posted and all of the improvements he's made in handling tough pitfalls, Lillard's overall productivity drops consistently in the postseason. Bottom line: Most of the league's elite teams will have an easier time slowing Portland's offensive than the other way around. - WolfondPhoenix Sun's Reasons to Believe: If you think jumping from a 10-year playoff drought to a title contender is too optimistic a prediction for the Suns, let me remind you that Chris Paul’s teams are in every Game have won at least 60% of their games in the past nine years. The Point God joins Devin Booker in what could immediately be the best backcourt in the league. The collective scoring, playing, and shooting skills of Paul and Booker - and the fact that they can both thrive from the comfort of the ball - are a match made in couple heaven. Additionally, Paul's game management, basketball ingenuity, and defensive skills should accelerate Booker's path to a more complete star and help Phoenix come out on the winning side of close games. Deandre Ayton's offense gets easier now that he can finish off the pick and rolls orchestrated by Paul, but it's his defensive potential that really unlocks Phoenix's advantage. The jogging big man has made massive strides on that end over the past season, and if he can prove to be a capable anchor behind defensive problem solvers like Paul, Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges, the Suns might be able to come up with a surprisingly strong defense to combine what should be an elite offense. Mike Ehrmann / NBA / Getty Images reasons to doubt: Before Paul played 70 of the 72 games in Oklahoma City last season, he missed 69 games due to a large number of injuries in the last three seasons, with his overall impact 2018/19 decreased. If last year's shelf life turns out to be a slip up rather than the new norm attributed to his vegan diet, and Paul misses a quarter of the season or recedes, the suns will look more ordinary. Expecting Ayton to anchor a competitive defense in the meantime might just be too much, too soon, considering where he was on the defensive a few years ago. While a bank made up of Cam Johnson, Jevon Carter, E'Twaun Moore, Dario Saric, and Cam Payne seem solid enough behind a stellar starting XI, they aren't exactly surefire way. The depth of the back space in particular becomes an issue when Paul or Booker miss the time. Instead of arguing, the Suns could somehow find a way to extend their decade-long playoff drought. - Casciaro Utah Jazz Reasons to Believe: After Utah focused its defense on strong regular times for years but fell short in the playoffs due to a lack of offensive artillery, Utah tipped its roster in the opposite direction last season. In a way, it worked. Jazz took ninth place in offensive efficiency, the highest place in eight years. They carried that over to the playoffs where they scored a crazy 120. 3 points per 100 possessions in the first round against the Nuggets and within half a punch from Mike Conley, who beat the eventual Western Conference finalists despite playing without Bojan Bogdanovic. The problem was that taking a more offensive approach came at the cost of their defense, who moved to 12th place after three straight top three finishes. Place slipped. So Utah made a point of restoring its defensive identity this off-season by recapturing old friend Derrick Favors and signing Shaq Harrison. Harrison will help streamline things at the point of attack. Favors will go to Rudy Gobert, but jazz also has the option of playing the two together in certain matchups. Despite all of their offensive problems, this has been a reliably dominant defensive forecourt over the years. The offense, meanwhile, should remain very good. Donovan Mitchell appears poised for another jump after a red-hot playoff performance, and Conley looked infinitely more comfortable at the end of his first season in Utah than he did at the beginning. It's pretty difficult to defend a spread pick and roll with Gobert Diving, one of Mitchell or Conley Handling, and Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles (who shot 42). 6% and 44. 2% on catch-and-shoot threes in the last year). Bench scoring won't be as much of an issue as it will be most other seasons, either, as jazz microwave man Jordan Clarkson has signed on. In short, this team will be a handful on both ends. Garrett Ellwood / NBA / Getty Images Reasons to Doubt: The Jazz are a high-floor team that are said to have a slew of regular season wins, but it's still tough to buy into the playoffs. They are evenly balanced and well trained and can do a little bit of anything, but when it comes to top talent, they run a deficit compared to their competitors. Much of this is thanks to Gobert, whose influence in the playoffs has historically been weakened. Any team that does not rely heavily on the indoor standings and has the versatility to drive five can reduce their rim protection. Gobert restricted Nikola Jokic to the post in her first-round showdown, but Jokic responded by slamming him to death. Gobert's lack of offensive skills and an inability to take advantage of mismatches in the mail also make Utah vulnerable to a switch of defense. The jazz has a decent amount of secondary play, but they're still a bit easy to create, which leaves a bit too much on Mitchell's shoulders. Mitchell, for his part, has a penchant for taking on all of Utah's crime. (His outrageous 37. A last postseason usage rate of 5% might have disheveled some feathers if it hadn't been paired with one . 529 /. 516 /. 948 line of fire. ) And that doesn't mean anything about Mitchell and Gobert's troubled relationship and how Gobert's impending free plot could further strain the team's fragile chemistry. After three consecutive years at the playoff cap, that core could almost run out of time. - WolfondGolden State Warriors Reasons to Believe: Losing Klay Thompson to another injury at the end of the season before training camp was obviously devastating, but have people forgotten how good Steph Curry is? He's a two-time MVP just two years off his average of 27. 3 points when shooting 47-44-92, and its very presence can completely distort an opposing defense. His absence from injury last season was due only to a hand problem and while he is 32 years old, it's not that his game aims to be the sportiest player on the ground. There's little reason to doubt that Curry will be back in Superstar production this season, and as we've repeated in this series of previews, that kind of talent is the backbone of the contest. Nor is it that Thompson's injury leaves Curry on an island. A rested Draymond Green with something to play should affect the rest of the league. Kelly Oubre is a great 3-and-D fit. Andrew Wiggins is a perennial enigma, but it's not outrageous to imagine he settled in The Bay as a solid second or third option. Eric Paschall was a revelation last season. James Wiseman's rim-to-rim play fits this roster like a glove. When Curry comes close to his best, the warriors have talent enough to fight. Noah Graham / NBA / Getty Images Reasons to Doubt: It's possible five direct trips to the finals broke the Warriors in ways that even a year and a half of low-impact ball couldn't fix. When Curry is no longer able to use his transcendent gifts consistently, or when Green has simply lost a step he will never regain, the benefit of this team is far less exciting. In this scenario, Wiggins remains a volume scorer in terms of overwhelming efficiency without doing enough of anything else. Wiseman reminds us that expecting positive value from rookie bigs is a no-brainer, and the Warriors look more like the team that played Curry's five games last season than the Dynasty of yesterday. - Casciaro
World news - FR - Mike Malone: ​​"Avec Nikola Jokic et Jamal Murray, nous avons deux superstars" - La superbe performance de Jamal Murray cet été en séries éliminatoires le met à égalité avec Nikola Jokic dans la hiérarchie de Denver CAMEROON MAGAZINE - CAMEROON INFO - CAMEROON ACTU "Avec Nikola Jokic et Jamal Murray, BasketUSA, Denver Nuggets, FR, Jamal Murray, LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Michael Malone, NBA Playoffs, Nikola Jokić, nous avons deux superstars", World news - FR - Mike Malone , Actualités du monde - FR - Mike Malone: ​​"Avec Nikola Jokic et Jamal Murray
La superbe performance de Jamal Murray cet été en séries éliminatoires le met à égalité avec Nikola Jokic dans la hiérarchie de Denver
Les Nuggets ont résisté au retour des Lakers lors du troisième match et devront toujours compter sur un grand Jamal Murray pour pouvoir égaler 2-2 ce soir.

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