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NBA Who’s Hot and Who’s Not: George, Markkanen Lighting Up the West; Randle Rebounds for Knicks

We’re nearly one month into what is shaping to be a very exciting NBA season, as some players are putting up remarkable numbers, and certain teams are surprising us early on. As always, there are sports bets to be had in this thrilling sport.

In order to guide you a bit as you bet online this holiday weekend, here is the latest edition of Who’s Hot and Who’s Not.

Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks shoots the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden on March 20, 2022
Julius Randle - sarah stier / getty images north america / getty images via afp

Let’s check the latest NBA picks, stats, injury reports, and NBA predictions. We’ve plenty of NBA expert picks for you to consider.

Eastern Conference Who’s Hot

  • Julius Randle – We had Randle in our Who’s Not section last week, so we feel it’s only right to recognize the fine week he’s had since then. In four games beginning last Friday night, Randle averaged 25.3 points and 9.5 rebounds to help the New York Knicks to a 2-2 mark. He also made 16 of 33 3-pointers in that span, including 8 of 13 in Monday’s win at Minnesota.
  • Franz Wagner – Somewhat of an overlooked figure while toiling for a losing Orlando Magic team with a No. 1 pick drawing all the attention, Wagner is a solid scorer who stepped it up in the past week. Like Randle, he averaged 25.3 points since the last filing of this piece, all while shooting over 60%. Wagner also had 6.7 assists in those three games and showed signs of overcoming an early 3-point shooting slump by making 3 of 4 against Houston on Monday.
  • Sam Hauser – The Boston Celtics have a new rotation piece, and he’s making the most of his increased minutes. The undrafted second-year pro first erupted for 17 points while making five of Boston’s franchise-record 27 3-pointers at Madison Square Garden last Saturday. Then, after a quiet contribution in a win at Memphis, he went off again for a career-high 24 points (6-for-12 from 3-point range) against Detroit. The 24-year-old entered Friday fifth in the NBA in 3-point percentage (53.3).

Western Conference Who’s Hot

  • Paul George – The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week didn’t slow down after receiving the honor. In four games beginning last Friday, he’s averaging 30.3 points per game and shooting 50 percent or better in six straight. The seven-time All-Star also has 11 steals and four blocks in that six-game span as he’s helped the Los Angeles Clippers turn around a sluggish start.
  • Lauri Markkanen – Perhaps the biggest reason the Utah Jazz are wildly outplaying expectations is Markkanen. He leads the Jazz with 22.7 points per game and has stepped it up a notch in the past week, averaging 25.0 points on 56% shooting over a four-game span. Facing an Atlanta Hawks team that entered with the top 3-point defense in the league on Wednesday, Markkanen made 6 of 8 triples en route to a season-high 32 points as Utah won its fourth straight.
  • Zion Williamson – Although the wins haven’t piled up yet, the New Orleans Pelicans are a sneaky-good underdog choice on the NBA playoff odds sheet. Once they put it together, they’ll be one of the best teams in the West, and one of their stars seems to have gotten into a groove. Williamson is averaging 25.8 points on 60% shooting over the last four games, even stepping out to make three of his five 3-point tries.

Eastern Conference Who’s Not

  • Tyrese Maxey – Like Randle, Maxey is switching places this week, going from a Who’s Hot entry to our lead Who’s Not in the East. With defenses keying in on him a bit more, he shot 19-for-64 (29.7%) in his last three games. One of those games resulted in 31 points, but it came in another of Philadelphia’s close losses, and Maxey missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
  • Deni Avdija – A solid piece for the Washington Wizards who played in all 82 games last season, Avdija is struggling to find his stroke. He is 1-for-15 from long-range over a five-game span. He finally got into double figures with 12 points against Dallas on Wednesday but needed a season-high 32 minutes to get there.
  • Evan Fournier – A starter with Orlando and the New York Knicks for almost all of his previous eight seasons, Fournier was demoted to the Knicks bench early in this season. In four games since he began his new role, the streaky scorer is averaging 3.3 points on 33.3% shooting.

Western Conference Who’s Not

  • Jordan Poole – Many eyes were on Poole after he signed a big extension this offseason, but the shots aren’t falling at a $140 million rate. Poole is averaging 10.5 points over his last four games while shooting a woeful 13-for-44. He had just two points – his lowest total since April 9, 2021 – in Monday’s win over Sacramento. Entering Friday, only three players – two of them with Houston – have a worse plus-minus rating than Poole (minus-97).
  • Kendrick Nunn – One of the culprits (there are many) in the Los Angeles Lakers’ slow start is Nunn, who is struggling to get his game back after missing all last season due to injury. The talented 27-year-old had one big game in the past week in which he broke out for 18 points on 7-for-11 from the floor. He put up these shooting efforts in the three other games since last week: 0-for-2, 0-for-5, and 0-for-4. Nunn is 5-for-26 from long range since making 3 of 6 in the season opener.
  • Reggie Bullock – Bullock isn’t relied upon to be a scorer, but he does chuck up a good amount of 3-pointers, and if he’s making them, it takes a little pressure off of Luke Doncic, who is leading the NBA in usage percentage. Unfortunately, Bullock isn’t making them, and it led to back-to-back outings this week in which he went without a point in 48 minutes of action. Prior to hitting a couple of 3’s at Washington on Thursday, he had gone 0-for-12 over a three-game span.

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