NBA Talking Points: From LeBron's ongoing brilliance to Luka Doncic's emergence as a superstar

Tadhg Murphy looks at the major issues after the first half of the NBA season
NBA Talking Points: From LeBron's ongoing brilliance to Luka Doncic's emergence as a superstar

NBA superstars LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks to Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Picture: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

LEBRON James and Luka Doncic have headlined an NBA season full of controversy, broken records and breathtaking talent. 

Here are the main talking points so far as we head into 2023.

LeBron Shines Lakers Struggle:

DESPITE the difficulties the LA Lakers have endured, LeBron James draws closer to the 38,387-point milestone that may cement him as the greatest of all time.

The Lakers’ woes have been no secret this season. They’re sitting near bottom of the Western Conference with an abysmal 19-24 record.

LeBron clearly isn’t happy with the situation in LA: “I'm a winner, I want to win”. This has of course inspired speculation that he’ll leave the NBA’s blockbuster franchise to play with his son who will be eligible for the draft in 2024.

He previously voiced this desire: “I need to be on the floor with my boy, I got to be on the floor with Bronny.” 

Kareem Abdul Jabbar has held the NBA’s all-time scoring record since April 5, 1984, when he floated in a trademark sky hook to surpass Wilt Chamberlain. Lebron is set to make history this season by exceeding Kareem, who’s sat at the very top of the NBA’s scoring list for over 38 years. He is just 316 points away from the number one spot and is on course to collect the top perch in early February.

The real question is: Does this mean ‘The King’ is now ‘The Goat’? 

Dirk Nowitzki certainly seems to think so. Possibly the greatest European baller ever recently admitted “I always say that Michael Jordan is the GOAT — but if LeBron really passes Kareem in the scoring record, I’m running out of arguments for Michael…” 

The Greatest of All-Time debate will inevitably rage on but what’s certain is James is still playing some of the best basketball of his life at age 38, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

MVP Race:

The Most Valuable Player crown is hugely prestigious each season. There’s no shortage of talent contesting for the newly-named Michael Jordan trophy.

Perhaps the most underappreciated player in the game, Nikola Jokic is leading the Nuggets at the top of the West and notching triple-doubles almost every night.

The Serbian is aiming to be just the fourth player in history to snap up a third consecutive MVP award, which would be a monumental achievement.

Emerging superstar Jayson Tatum is leading Boston to a league-best 33-12 record, having picked up seven wins on the trot. The Celtics are poised to claim their first title in 15 years, behind Tatum’s brilliance.

Leading candidate and Dallas superstar Luka Doncic has reached dizzying heights this season, proving himself to be one of the best players in the world. 

The Slovenian’s complete offensive arsenal and 360 vision make him virtually unstoppable, and inspire Lebron-esque 30-point triple-doubles on a nightly basis.

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks drives to the basket. Picture: Tim Heitman/Getty Images
Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks drives to the basket. Picture: Tim Heitman/Getty Images

His 33.8 ppg leads the league and has him drawing comparisons to the greats of the game. Doncic already has more career 40-point games than Larry Bird, and he’s only 23 years old.

Luka’s absurd 60-point performance against the Knicks in late December was breathtaking, and a franchise record for the Dallas Mavericks.

Champs In Trouble:

The defending champs have some catching up to do.

They sit seventh in the West with an underwhelming 22-22 record, just six months after hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in the Celtics’ backyard, claiming their fourth title in eight years.

Steph Curry being out for a month with a shoulder injury hasn’t helped but Golden State has to learn how to win without him. Their defensive liabilities and inability to win on the road is inexcusable. They have the league’s second-worst road record at 5-17.

Opposition teams having their best game of the season against the Warriors is happening regularly and Golden State doesn’t have the same depth as last year, losing key pieces in Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr over the summer.

Curry is having one of the best seasons of his career, however, who like LeBron, must be incapable of aging. The 34-year-old vet is in his prime yet despite stellar displays, his teammates are struggling.

The recurring theme of superstars carrying teams on their shoulders has been an interesting dynamic in the league. 

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics, takes on the Charlotte Hornets. Picture: Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics, takes on the Charlotte Hornets. Picture: Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

So far, well-rounded teams like the Celtics and the Nuggets have held all the cards.

Let’s hope the second half of the season is as good as the first.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130

Echo WISA

Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more