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Last week: 2Another week, another ice-cold game-winner from Trae Young ... ho hum. Young was brilliant on Tuesday, putting up 33 points and 12 assists in a win over the Pelicans, but one of the lasting images from his rookie season came on Saturday, when Young buried a full-strength 76ers squad with a buzzer-beating floater between Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid, then hit the raucous Atlanta crowd with LeBron's signature celebration.
The shot helped earn Young Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors, the first rookie this season to win the award in either conference. With so much attention paid to his 3-point shooting and passing, Young's floater game may be a bit overlooked. He's scoring 0.996 points per possession on runners/floaters according to Synergy Sports Technology, which puts him among the most efficient in the league.
Stats this week: 32.5 points, 11.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds
"It's something that I worked on a lot in the offseason," Young said of his floater, "and I'm going to continue to work on it coming up (this summer). You have definitely have got to have it to be a high-level point guard."
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Last week: 3This isn't the first week that Luka's basically averaged a 20-point triple-double and still been kept out of the top spot -- that's just how good Young was in his two games. Doncic's efficiency wasn't great this week (40 percent field goals, 24 percent 3-pointers), but he put on quite a show in a stunning 35-point win for the Mavs over the Warriors at Oracle Arena, notching 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in just 27 minutes. Doncic has been absolutely brutal from 3-point distance over the past month, shooting 22 percent in March, and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle chalked some of that up to fatigue. But after his last game at Oracle, Dirk Nowitzki sang Doncic's praises once again:
Stats this week: 23.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 9.7 assists
"He makes smart decisions, he scores, he gets his teammates involved," Nowitzki said. "He gets to the foul line -- he's really smart there -- he has a knack of getting fouled. I say it all year -- for a 19-20 year old, his overall aura and game is really impressive."
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Last week: 1After holding down the No. 1 spot for two straight weeks, Sexton drops in the rankings -- but that doesn't mean he's been bad. His shooting fell off a bit from his scorching hot streak, but it was still impressive at 51 percent from the field and 38 percent on 3-pointers in four Cleveland losses this week. Sexton led all rookies in minutes this week at over 35 per game, yet still generated just two assists per contest. It's great that his scoring has evolved the way it has, but he'll need to improve the facilitating to eventually become a dominant NBA point guard. This is a pretty darn good start, though.
Stats this week: 21.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists
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Last week: 5As the Suns continue to lose, Ayton continues to produce. The big man shot 53 percent from the field this week, which is actually quite the down-tick from his 58 percent mark for the season. He struggled against Rudy Gobert and the stout Jazz defense (nine points, seven rebounds), but put up double-doubles in both of the Suns' other games this week. Ayton has now blocked at least one shot in nine straight games, tying the longest such streak of his career thus far.
Stats this week: 14.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks
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Last week: 4The Kings played four games in six nights this week, and Bagley seemed to suffer a bit in the final two games, perhaps a bit fatigued still working his way back from injury. He alarmingly only had two rebounds in Tuesday's win over Dallas, his lowest total since January, and he followed that up with a 4-for-12 shooting night and just 10 points in a loss to the Pelicans. That being said, Bagley still nearly averaged a double-double for the week, and had a brilliant 25-point, 11-rebound game in 36 minutes against the Lakers on Sunday.
Stats this week: 16.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals
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Last week: UnrankedThe Hornets are surging toward a playoff berth, and Bridges was a huge part of a 3-0 week for Charlotte. The rookie had his best week as a pro, scoring a career-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in a comeback win over the Celtics. More encouraging for the Hornets brass, however, is that Bridges shot 7-of-14 from the 3-point line this week, and is now shooting 36 percent since joining the starting lineup in late February, up from 32 percent on the season. With his athleticism and defensive versatility, Bridges is going to be a dangerous player if he starts making 3s consistently.
Stats this week: 15.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.7 steals
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Last week: 10Jackson missed Thursday's win over the Kings with a concussion, but before that he was solid in two games for the Pelicans this week. He made five of his 12 3-point attempts and dished out a career-high six assists in Sunday's loss to the Rockets. He also tied a career high with nine free throw attempts against the Hawks. Given his athleticism and explosiveness, Jackson should aim for these kinds of nights more often by drawing contact in the lane.
Stats this week: 19.5 points, 3.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds
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Last week: 6Gilgeous-Alexander saw a drop in his scoring efficiency this week (45 percent from the field, 25 percent 3-pointers), but he kept up his assists and, more importantly, helped keep the Clippers winning. He played nearly 34 minutes per game in a 3-1 week, with the only loss coming on Thursday in Milwaukee without Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams. Gilgeous-Alexander also celebrated with his team after they clinched a playoff berth earlier this week, much to the surprise of many NBA fans and experts. SGA is poised and polished enough to have a solid impact on a playoff series, so he could open the eyes of some folks who haven't watched the Clippers much this season.
Stats this week: 14.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals
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Last week: UnrankedRobinson's per-minute stats are off the charts, doing all his damage this week in just over 22 minutes per game. That's partly due to his inability to stay out of foul trouble, but when Mitchell does get big minutes he's capable of producing some monster stat lines. Take Thursday for instance, when Robinson set career highs with 19 points and 21 rebounds, adding a steal and, of course, two blocks, in a loss to the Raptors. The big man now has multiple blocked shots in nine straight games, and it will be interesting to see if the Knicks try to get him in the 25-30 minute range in the final weeks of the season, just to see what happens.
Stats this week: 12.3 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks
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Last week: 9Brunson continues to be as steady as they come at point guard for the Mavs, putting up solid production with limited turnovers (1.3 per game this week) in heavy minutes. He's got a knack for scoring around the basket, particularly with floaters, but his 3-point stroke has been surprisingly sweet this season. He made 6-of-13 this week from deep and is shooting 38 percent since taking over as the full-time starter in February.
Stats this week: 13.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds