Bradley Beal and the Wizards continue to toil in mediocrity with no clear path out. The 29-year-old is in the thick of his prime — maybe even on the back end — so there’s only so much time left for Beal to play meaningful basketball as a certifiable star.
The Chicago Bulls’ disastrous season has cast into doubt Zach LaVine’s future with the franchise. To make matters worse, the toll of multiple lower leg injuries has been quite evident. Even so, LaVine can still torch defenses with his silky-smooth jumper and zippy drives to the rim. He’s not the dominant No. 1 star of yesteryear, but he would still contribute amply to winning in the right situation.
Jamal Murray has worked his way back to stardom after missing all of last season. Equally dynamic with or without the basketball, Murray is the perfect co-star for a playmaking big like Nikola Jokic. His penchant for off-ball movement and connective passing allows him to be highly adaptable. He’s also a brilliant shot-maker who can simply put his head down and take over games off the dribble.
Klay Thompson is back, baby. His otherworldy 3-point shooting and rock-solid wing defense make him one of the league’s most impactful complementary stars. He doesn’t need to dribble to completely wreck a defense. His gravity is one of a kind.
The Point God is finally slowing down. But even still, the grizzled vet finds way to impact the game with genius-level basketball I.Q. and a singular eye for teammates. Paul can still pick apart defenses in the pick-and-roll, even if his trademark mid-range takeovers are fewer and further between.