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NBA Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Zion Hitting Stride in New Orleans

It’s time for another glance at the hottest and coldest players in the NBA. As always, we don’t always rush to the Stephs and LeBrons and Lukas of the bunch but try to focus on some of the supporting cast members who can make all the difference for their teams and your NBA picks ATS.

Eastern Conference Who’s Hot

  • Franz Wagner – There’s a few Orlando Magic players to choose from. We like Wagner, who has back-to-back 30-point games and is averaging 20.2 overall for the red-hot Magic, who are having a blast out there. He is 22-for-29 from the floor in those two 30-point efforts, including 6-for-9 from the arc. After a slow start to the season for the third-year forward, Wagner is becoming a star.
  • Cameron Johnson – Another guy who had a slow start (injuries were the reason), Johnson is settling in as a nice second or third scorer for the Nets, depending on the night. He’s averaging 17.5 points over his last four contests while making 58% of his shots, helping Brooklyn to a 3-1 mark in that span. Not huge numbers, but very efficient. Oh, and the Nets are among the best bets in NBA tonight against Charlotte at home.
  • Patrick Williams – Since we’ve buried him in the Who’s Not section twice already, let’s give some love to a guy who’s trying to emerge from a horrific early-season slump. Williams has started three of his last four games. In those four games he’s averaging 14.0 points on 56% shooting. Like Johnson, these aren’t otherworldly numbers, but considering that Williams averaged 5.6 points and shot 31.0% over his first 14 games, they stand out. The Bulls are atrocious right now, so they might as well see if Williams can truly break out.

NBA Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Zion Hitting Stride in New Orleans
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans / Carmen Mandato / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Western Conference Who’s Hot

  • Zion Williamson – He needs the occasional night off (always on a back-to-back), but when he’s out there, Williamson is perhaps the most dominant player in the league. He was 11-for-12 from the floor in a season-high 33-point effort against the Joel Embiid-less 76ers in Wednesday’s win and is averaging 28.0 points on 64% shooting over his last five games. He’s handed out 5.8 assists in that span, a sign of a maturing player who is hard to stop right now.
  • Derrick Rose – Some props for an old-timer, who has stepped up for the injury-ravaged Grizzlies of late. The former MVP made his first start in nearly two years on Wednesday against Utah, helping Memphis to its first home win of the season with nine assists. Rose is averaging 14.3 points on 63% shooting over his last three games.
  • Jerami Grant – Portland has been playing some better basketball of late, sandwiching wins over Utah and Indiana (on the road) around a close loss at Milwaukee. Grant is a big reason why as he is averaging 28.0 points over his last four games. The veteran out of Syracuse has made 16 of 23 3-pointers in that stretch, including all three of his attempts in a 34-point effort during that big win at the Pacers.

Eastern Conference Who’s Not

  • Dejounte Murray – It must be maddening to be a Hawks fan. About 10 times a year they have a two- or three-game stretch where Trae Young is on fire and everyone around him follows suit, and they look like contenders. But it never lasts, the defense almost always stinks and they’ll be fighting for a play-in spot in a handful of months. Murray has been one of the culprits in the team’s recent struggles, averaging 12.5 points on 27% shooting over his last four games.
  • RJ Barrett – That grumbling sound you hear? That’s the 200 Level of Madison Square Garden reacting to another brick from Barrett, who’s shooting 33.3% over his last five games. Hopefully they give this guy a break, though. He was playing really well early on before being forced to miss three games due to migraine headaches. Then came the slump, so you have to wonder how he’s doing physically.
  • Tobias Harris – Just a little bit of a slowdown for this steady vet, who is 1-for-14 from the arc over his last four games. He also had a season-high five turnovers in Wednesday’s loss to New Orleans. Nothing to worry about, but maybe wait for Harris to snap out of it before including him on your NBA bet slip at the sportsbook.

Western Conference Who’s Not

  • Desmond Bane – He was so hot early on and he’ll get hot again. This is just a blip as Memphis goes through a really incredible run of injuries. Bane, who averaged 25.6 points through his first 14 games, has been held to an average of 12.0 over his last three while making 6 of 25 3-pointers.
  • Dyson Daniels – This 20-year-old cracked into the Pelicans’ starting lineup earlier this month with his 3-and-D stuff working well. He’s still getting some steals here and there, but the Australian’s minutes keep falling amid a brutal shooting slump. He came off the bench vs Philadelphia on Wednesday and missed his only long-range attempt, dropping him to 3-for-26 over his last eight games.
  • Talen Horton-Tucker – After a strong finish to the 2022-23 campaign, Horton-Tucker was looking to take another step forward as Utah’s starting point guard. It hasn’t exactly worked out for the 23-year-old, who is coming off the bench and not making many shots. Since an out-of-nowhere 25-point showing vs Phoenix earlier this month, he’s averaged 5.2 points while making just 8 of 40 shots in a five-game span.

Questions of the Day

How to bet on NBA games?

Find a spread or player prop you like at our NBA lines page and fire away. If a team is -4, for example, that means they have to win by more than four for a bet on them to come to fruition.

Which teams will be in the NBA Playoffs?

The top six teams in both conferences get in. The next four in each conference play in a set of play-in games to determine the seventh and eighth seeds. Just 5½ games separate first and 11th in both conferences, so it’s anyone’s guess what that field will look like.

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