A dominant rim protector who provides an easy lob target for his ball-handlers, Jarrett Allen continues to produce at an All-Star level for the upstart Cavs. His bonkers athleticism is a natural deterrent for opposing guards who wish to drive the lane. On the boards, few can compete with Allen’s length, leaping ability, and competitive fire.
Evan Mobley’s defensive flexibility as a 7-footer is virtually unheard of. He’s completely comfortable shadowing guards on the perimeter, switching screens, or roaming Giannis-style to create chaos off the ball. He’s showing more and more on the offensive end too: his body control on drives to the rim is special stuff. He’s a dominant two-way star in the making.
Mikal Bridges is ascending fast with his new team. Still an all-world perimeter defender and elite 3-point shooter, Bridges has now been empowered to attack defenders off the dribble. The results, so far, suggest a remarkably confident mid-range sniper who can also attack the lane with long strides and impressive finesse.
DeMar DeRozan has transitioned gracefully into the latter stage of his stardom. While Chicago has failed to surround him and Zach LaVine with a contending group, it’s hard to deny the sheer volume of offensive production from DeRozan. He’s still an expert tough shot-maker who has diversified his approach impressively since he left Toronto years ago.
Julius Randle can power his way to points with the best of ’em. Not many players combine raw strength, speed, and skill like Randle. He’s a walking mismatch. This season, he’s taking fewer contested jumpers, leaning more on his playmaking acumen, and finding easier scoring opportunities next to Jalen Brunson.