Yani's Column: Doncic could reach legendary status
ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 23: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks drives to the basket against the LA Clippers during Round One, Game Four of the NBA Playoffs on August 23, 2020 at the AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

VAVEL Basketball's primary aim is to provide consistent coverage to the British Basketball League scene, but with the NBA season already in the business end of the season, we asked presenter, podcaster and social media personality Yani Ourabah to give his verdicts on the week across the pond in the NBA:

Clippers in trouble, Paul George slump

A lot of people would have had the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Doncic as their surprise picks at the start of the season, but I don't think anyone thought they could give the LA Clippers any real issues.

Yet, we are sitting here with the series tied at 2-2 and the possibility of Kristaps Porzingis coming in for Game 5 which could put the Clippers in a lot more trouble than they already are in.

The Clippers though in my opinion would not be in this kind of trouble right now, if Paul George was not missing so many shots!

Players have slumps, same goes for Khris Middleton, but Middleton may have recovered from his period of inconsistency, but as a number one or two seed, you cannot have your second star falling into a slump, particularly in the Play-Offs.

If Paul George doesn't go through to the next round in the play-offs, he's gonna have to turn his phone off because the timeline is going to kill him!

Fundamentally, the Clippers are in trouble, more than they would like to admit, even if they say they are just going to get Paul George going again.

Am I being to reactionary? I guess we will have to wait and see how this round unfolds.

Luka magic

Do I really need to say anything about Luka?

He is on the trajectory where he could end up being involved in the GOAT conversation.

Doncic dominates in the NBA like how certain guys dominate in the playground, so strong at 6'7" and impressing in the way he finishes. 

He has the ability to accelerate and decelerate, this geeza is shooting 38% as well from three in the bubble - if he nails down this ability to score three's consistently it's game over! 

Luka is the best 21-year-old in the league, he is the best 21-year-old in the league we have ever seen and he is the best 21-year-old in the league we will ever see, so the Mavs have a huge chance!

I do think the Clippers will go through, but who am I to say that the Mavs don't have a huge chance, especially with Luka in the form that he is in.

LeBron and AD destined duo for the finals

If I'm honest, the Lakers have shot poorly from the field over this period in the bubble and people began to worry how they would do win the play-offs, but I struggle to look past LeBron James - LeBron is a guaranteed ticket.

LeBron put away the Portland Trail Blazers last time out, and he is not finished yet; as I keep saying, everyone needs to chill out because he is LeBron and he gets to finals!

We consider Anthony Davis as that flair guy, all the fancy stuff, but over the last couple of games he has proven that he is a dog, but in the good way!

He is all up in your face, he gets the blocks, he does the proper dirty work and so AD and LeBron are just a match made in heaven for the finals.

Trail Blazers in need of change

I don't think Damian Lillard needs to leave Portland just yet, what I think should and will happen is the Trail Blazers moving on CJ McCollum.

The Trail Blazers have tried this for a real long time and I do really like CJ - possibly the best player in the NBA to have never made an All-Star appearance.

The popular narrative, however, remains that the Trail Blazers will be better if they move on CJ to make room for a dominant wing - I've floated the idea of Malcolm Brogdon personally to be a potential replacement.

Donovan Mitchell disrespected by NBA fans

I think Donovan Mitchell is so disrespected which may come down to him playing at Utah obviously, one of the most slept on teams because they're not seen as glitz and glamour. 

The Utah Jazz franchise typically wouldn't fill you with excitement - their star Rudy Gobert is a 2x defensive player of the year but that doesn't make them pop off the screen in the same way as the Trail Blazers or Mavs.

But Donovan Mitchell, who just joined Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson as just the third player in NBA history to have multiple 50-point games in one playoff series match, is so disrespected and underrated.

This guy has shown he can take a team and lead them into the play-offs and past teams in the play-offs.

This 6'3" baller is built like a line-backer, scores on all three levels, and has improved as a playmaker every single year in the NBA and will continue to grow as a player.

Fair play to the Jazz as a team to get past the Denver Nuggets and they have to now be recognised as one of the better sides in the NBA.

Rockets are the dark horses

I'll happily drum this narrative - the Houston Rockets have two players who believe they are two of the best in the league if not the best in James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

The Rockets are currently tied 2-2 with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the Rockets can catch fire, they can pick it up especially as how incredible they have been of late. 

The reason they are tied 2-2, is because they missed a ton of threes, you live by the three die by the three and the Rockets need to improve their three point shooting, but I believe they will and I think they are huge dark horses to win the play-offs.

Who am I to say no to the Mavs though too, they certainly are dark horses, I just don't see them beating teams like the Clippers and then the Jazz and then the Rockets and then the Bucks etc.

Bucks the favourites

The Milwaukee Bucks are just a dominant force and if you had a gun to me right now and asked me to pick an NBA team to win the play-offs, it has to be the Bucks.

Giannis and Khris have been exceptional, I haven't seen a team dominate like the Bucks do particularly with that duo and if Khris begins firing again like he has been all season, the Bucks have a huge chance.

He needs to figure it out, as someone who has been so consistent as a three level scorer but the Bucks will be up against the Heat and Jimmy Butler who can cause them trouble if Khris is not on form.

The title is going to the East though I still believe, despite all the Lakers narratives like everything that has happened this year and the similarities to the Last Dance documentary.

If the Bucks win the championship, all the narratives against them go out the window, Giannis can't clutch narrative is gone, Khris Middleton is not good enough narrative is gone, the teams from the Eastern Conference aren't good enough, gone too.

London Lions key for British Basketball

I am so excited for the British Basketball League this year, but I really hope there is good social coverage of it this year as they are doing so much cool stuff in a time where so many people are getting into basketball.

I really hope the London Lions do well in the Champions League, my god will it be tough though.

But with new players with NBA experience in DeAndre Liggins, Kervin Bristol etc and players like Kevin Ware who have carried a lot of publicity before, the league is going in the right direction and it's spearheaded by the Lions.

I'm buzzing for the league this year though!

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