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> Monday, February 6th, 2012 > Sports > NBA Watch: Short season, big men
NBA Watch: Short season, big men
Click here to read more Interrobang articles written by Victor Kaisar
Published: Monday, February 6th, 2012
Last week I looked into the teams that are favourites to run away with the NBA title. This week I thought it best to look at the individual players who are tipped to shine during the current NBA season:
LeBron James: Miami's James is always a favourite to shine year after year. This year he's showing how he plays without Dwyane Wade, who many predict will also have a big year. James is averaging almost 30 points a game this season and with his presence on the court, more and more people are taking notice each day.
Kevin Durant: Let's be honest here, I don't know what to write about Durant. The 23 year old is in his fifth season and he's only getting better each day. Durant played a lot of basketball during the recent NBA lockout and it shows. He looks a lot tougher than ever before and has added a lot of moves to his arsenal. Durant has started every game of his NBA career and he's averaging 26.3 points this year; he's the best all-round player in the league after James.
Derrick Rose: The Chicago Bulls finally have a good team; their last championship winning side featured Michael Jordan. Rose looks to be the focal point of the Bulls' side and on his day, the reigning league MVP can destroy any defence in the league. Chicago will be looking to continue last year's exquisite run and I will not be surprised if Rose is battling it out for another MVP trophy.
Dwyane Wade: It's often been taken for granted that a great NBA team has three big-name players as their focal point. In Miami's case, part two of their 'big three' features Dwyane Wade. James and Wade can put on a show that you won't get to see elsewhere. Wade is averaging 20 points this season and Miami fans will be hoping he keeps this form.
Russell Westbrook: The Oklahoma City point guard is a player you'd love to hate. Westbrook is lighting up the league. He's averaging more points per game than Wade, and along with Durant, these two young athletes are the reason why Oklahoma City could be the team that challenges Miami right to the very end. His teammate Kendrick Perkins sees Westbrook as a scoring point guard and he's not selfish, though many fans deem him to be so.
LaMarcus Aldridge: Brandon Roy has retired. Greg Oden is out injured. It seemed to be a lot of gloom for the Portland Trailblazers. Aldridge was the only one standing from Portland's 'big three,' and he has stepped up to the plate. Aldridge is averaging 22.6 points per game, which is the highest he's managed in his career so far. Portland could be on its way to another playoff campaign, and Aldridge will have a huge part to play.
Kobe Bryant: The Los Angeles Lakers guard is another perennial favourite to have a big season. The one thing I have noticed is that he always seems to have an injured hand and yet he has 40 point nights. Bryant is averaging 30.2 points a night yet the Lakers sit eighth in their conference (at the time of writing). I had this huge discussion with a friend of mine who's a self proclaimed "NBA Guru" and he cites Bryant as "a very lucky player," because of the fact that many of Bryant's bad shots are still converted. Whatever happens, Bryant and his Lakers will be challenging once again.
Blake Griffin: Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers is my dark horse for this NBA season. He's got this mean swagger when he plays and his dunk on Kendrick Perkins, which went viral on YouTube, is an example that proves this statement. Griffin has the promise to be the next big star in the league. The Clippers have added Chris Paul to the roster and the man from Oklahoma is on his way to becoming a top NBA player.
It is hard to compile a definitive list of players to watch out for in the NBA every season. There are top players that I've left out that will have good seasons but personally I feel not as good as the players I've listed above.