NBA Booming Ballers, on PredictionStrike

Happy New Year everybody! My name is Jalon Dixon, your friendly neighborhood NBA super fan and new Prediction Strike expert here with the weekly scoop on the biggest news across the association and how these things could influence Prediction Strike’s NBA Stock Market.

To kick things off, let’s take a look at how my top players to watch from last week are performing.

Denver Nuggets Center Nikola Jokic took a slight dip this week with a drop of -2.30% down to $25.34. Only a $0.60 decrease for the triple-double machine. He still has the 4th highest per share value in the NBA. Trae Young has also taken a slight dip of -3.87% down to $4.42. Young missed a game with a calf injury then came back and dropped 29 points against the Los Angeles Lakers. No worries needed for Ice Trae.

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All Aboard the Luka Magic Rollercoaster

The talk of the NBA town has been all about the boy wonder, Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic (30.12%, $25.81). Over the last week heading into the new year, Doncic has been playing like a man possessed and making history in the process. Here all the feats that Doncic has accomplished in just the last week:

  • Set a new highway single-game score in Dallas Mavericks history with 61 points in the victory over the New York Knicks.
  • In that same game he recorded a career-high 21 points en route to having the first 60-20-10 game in NBA history.
  • Had 51 points in the team’s most recent victory over the San Antonio Spurs making him the only player in NBA history to have three 50+-point performances over a five-game span.
  • Became the first player ever to record at least 225 points, 50 rebounds and 50 assists over a five-game span.
  • Became only the eight player in over 75 years of the NBA to have three or more 50-point games before turning 25 years old, joining the likes of Jordan, James, Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Nate Archibald and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Did I mention that the dude is 23-years-old? Doncic is clearly a superstar and an All-Time great in the making. But the video game stat lines are quite literally starting to get out of hand. He is one of those players that just leaves you asking: “What is he going to do next?”

On the back of Doncic's historic run, the Dallas Mavericks enter the New Year on a six-game winning streak and currently sit 4th in the west with a record of 21-16. Last week I asked you guys “Why couldn’t Nikola Jokic go for the 3-peat?” Well Luka Doncic is quickly becoming the biggest roadblock that stands in his way.

Durant, Nets Dominate December

Doncic may have dominated the final week of December, but Kevin Durant (-1.97%, $9.91) and the Brooklyn Nets were unstoppable for the entire month.

The Nets are riding into the New Year on an 11-game win streak and only lost one game in the month of December. That makes them 12-1 over their last 13 games with their sole loss coming to the Boston Celtics back on December 4th. Mind you the Celtics currently sit atop the Eastern Conference with the best record in basketball (26-11).

If you want to go back even further, they are 17-3 in their last 20 games dating back to around Thanksgiving. This hot streak vaulted them all the way up to 2nd place in the East and they are tied with the Denver Nuggets for the 2nd best record in the league at 24-12.

A lot of this transformation can be credited to new head coach Jacque Vaughn, who has brought real stability to the Nets’ locker room. But there are three guys in terms of on court production that have really carried Brooklyn to this point.

The first two are obviously Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (+1.47, $5.25). Of the top 20 scorers in the NBA this season, Durant and Kyrie are one of only two duos averaging 26 points or better. The only other duo is Jayson Tatum (+2.94%, $14.15) and Jaylen Brown (+6.27%, $12.99) in Boston. They also are both taking a combined 38.6 shots per game and Irving is shooting nearly 50% from the field at 49.1% and Durant is shorting 56.1%.

So in spite of the high shot volume and even higher degree of difficulty on those shots, they have been two of the most efficient jump shot oriented scorers in the league this season. Their track record is a given.

The third player may come as a surprise, but it’s Nicolas Claxton (+8.28%, $1.37). Claxton is having a career season across the board with career-highs in points (12.0), rebounds (8.4), assists (1.4), blocks (2.5) and field goal percentage at 74.7%.

His ability to be a threat especially on the defensive end has really allowed guys like Ben Simmons (-18.03%, $2.30) to be aggressive defensively on the perimeter. Claxton’s 2.5 blocks a game is 2nd in the league behind only Brook Lopez (2.6) (+0.22%, $2.07). This kind of rim protection has been the backbone of the Nets’ defense that currently is 7th best in points allowed (111.0)

Brooklyn is clicking on all cylinders and they are FINALLY starting to look like the championship caliber team that everyone has been anticipating since Durant and Irving’s arrival.

LeBron James on the Brink of History

To celebrate his 38th birthday, LeBron James (-0.38%, $19.14) took the Atlanta Hawks to town as he erupted for a season-high 47 points. He even told his fellow teammate Dennis Schroder (-4.23%, $0.87) prior to the game that he was going to deliver the 40-ball.

With eruption in December, averaging 31.2 points a game, James inches closer to the ultimate scoring goal of passing Kareem-Abdul Jabbar. James is now 528 points away from surpassing Abdul Jabbar’s 38,387. On the trajectory that he is on, it will take about 20 games to accomplish the feat meaning it will most likely happen on February 9th during the Lakers big matchup against Giannis Antetokounmpo (+13.59%, $16.80) and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Although the Lakers have struggled with injuries and stringing together victories, we all know that this accomplishment is easily the biggest consolation prize in NBA history. Maybe even in sports history. Players, fans and media alike will all remember where they were and what they were doing when the graphic goes up stating that James has taken the top spot.

And what’s even scarier is that he gets to keep adding to it! We’re coming down the home stretch. The countdown continues!

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