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NBA Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Jalen Brunson Soars in MVP Race

Here it is, the last weekend of the regular season in the NBA and our final edition of Who’s Hot, Who’s Not, a weekly roundup of the best and worst of the previous week. It’s a great tool to include with your NBA bet tips, so read on before placing a wager.


NBA Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Jalen Brunson Soars in MVP Race
Jalen Brunson #11 Of The New York Knicks / Sarah Stier / Getty Images North America / Getty Images Via Afp

Eastern Conference Who’s Hot

  • Jalen Brunson, Knicks: It might be too late to change enough minds, but we are seeing some more MVP chatter around this guy. He’s carried the Knicks through ups, downs, and major injury situations, and instead of slowing down he seems to be gaining steam. Brunson has scored at least 35 points in five straight games, topping 40 in two of them. The most impressive of the lot might’ve been at Boston on Thursday when he scored 39 points in only three quarters before sitting out the fourth in a big win for the Knicks. Brunson is among the best NBA prop bets today, tomorrow, and the next day (well, every day that he plays).
  • Obi Toppin, Pacers: He’s been a huge addition to the Pacers, bolstering their bench with efficient play and never missing a game. Among the leaders in field-goal percentage all season, he’s been even more on target lately. In Toppin’s last nine games, he’s hit on 69% of his shots – 53% from the arc. He’s also averaging 15.8 points in only 20.2 minutes over the last five. Now that’s making use of your minutes.
  • Javonte Green, Chicago: We love giving praise to some under-the-radar guys, and Green fits the bill. He didn’t debut for the Bulls until March 27 but is now in the starting lineup due to injuries and filling the gap pretty well. Green is averaging 15.0 points and 10.3 rebounds on 68% shooting over his last four games.

Western Conference Who’s Hot

  • Bradley Beal, Suns: We had Beal’s teammate, Devin Booker, in this spot last week. Beal has earned the honor with a strong four-game run in which he’s averaging 23.0 PPG on 59% shooting. He made 7 of 8 3-pointers in one of those games and notched a career-high five blocked shots in another. Beal has had another season with a boatload of missed games, but if he stays hot for the next few weeks the Suns’ NBA playoff odds will become that much better.
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Timberwolves: This guy’s been a bit of an unsung hero for the Timberwolves. He’s played all 80 games, starting in 20, while providing occasional scoring bursts. Prior to a five-point showing at Denver the other night, Alexander-Walker had a four-game run in which he averaged 16.3 PPG in 25.0 minutes. He’s also 15-for-28 (53.6%) from the arc since the start of April.
  • CJ McCollum, Pelicans: We had McCollum in this spot a few weeks ago. He then had a bit of a slump but has roared back with some phenomenal 3-point shooting for the dangerous Pelicans. The veteran sharpshooter made 9 of 12 triples in a huge win at Sacramento on Thursday, averaging 31.6 points over his last five games.

Eastern Conference Who’s Not

  • Derrick White, Celtics: A defensive standout, White also helps the Celtics spread the floor when he’s making his shots. He seems to have hit a bit of a wall as Boston plays some relatively meaningless games, shooting 33% (8-for-26 on 3’s), over the last four games. White tied his season low with two points in the loss to the Knicks.
  • Paolo Banchero, Magic: There are still some big numbers here and there (25.8 PPG over the last five), but more shots are finding iron as he finishes a season in which he’s missed just two games. Banchero is shooting 40% over the last 10 games while making a paltry 11 of 57 3-pointers, good for 19.3%. He’ll hope to get some life in those tired legs before the playoffs start.
  • Malik Beasley, Bucks: We’ve picked on Beasley a couple of times this season as he’s prone to some slumps. The Bucks hope he snaps out of this one before the playoffs, as the veteran wing is just 13-for-50 from the arc since March 30. Milwaukee remains a tough bet online at the sportsbook, as it enters Friday with a 35-45 record against the spread.

Western Conference Who’s Not

  • Jalen Green, Rockets: A few weeks ago he was fueling the Rockets’ incredible surge toward a potential play-in spot. That dream was dashed with a recent five-game losing streak and Green looks like he’s about ready to call it a day. He had a season-low three points in Thursday’s loss to Utah, averaging 14.4 points on 33.3% shooting over his last five.
  • Harrison Barnes, Kings: He may have snapped out of his funk with a 22-point effort vs New Orleans on Thursday. Before that, Barnes endured a brutal five-game stretch, averaging 5.6 points on 23.3% shooting. That included his second scoreless game of the season.
  • Grayson Allen, Suns: This is only as it relates to his 3-point shooting, as Allen is in danger of falling out of the top spot that just a few weeks ago looked like a cinch. He is shooting 27.8% from long range over an eight-game span, including a season-worst 0-for-8 in a loss to the Clippers on Tuesday. He enters Friday at 45.6% for the season, with Luke Kennard (45.0%) and Garrison Mathews (44.9%) lurking.



Questions of the Day

Which of these NBA players should be on the radar for Friday night?

It’s an absolutely loaded slate of games, so you’ll find almost everyone in action. We’ll be interested to see what Brunson does in the second half of a back-to-back against Brooklyn, as the Knicks are still hoping for a shot at the No. 2 seed.

What else is new in the NBA news cycle?

The Warriors have moved ahead of the Lakers for homecourt in their potential 9 vs 10 play-in game, although they both have the same record as Sacramento at 45-35. There could be plenty of shuffling in that race over the next few days.

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