1. PATRICK MCCAW (Raptors): Terrific day in Miami with his first start with his new team. He gets after it defensively, passes the ball decisively and has an excellent feel for the game. His confidence in his shot is growing. Really good pickup of a guy who learned the right way to do business as a pro in Golden State.
2. DWYANE WADE (Heat): It’s Funny … each time I watch him play this season I ask the same question: Why is he retiring? He’s still better than more than half of the players in the league, easily. He still has it. I totally respect that he knows that he’s no longer a star, but watching him in person today in Miami, I’m super impressed with his ability to take over a game.
3. JULIUS RANDLE (Pelicans): In a season of frustration in New Orleans, he has been a major bright spot. He plays with great force and intensity on both ends, which has translated into him averaging 21 and 9 on 55 per cent shooting. Randle is a load to deal with. He’s crafty in the post, can face up and has excellent pursuit on the glass.
4. LAKERS INJURIES: Brandon Ingram & Lonzo Ball. The hits keep on coming. It’s been a very frustrating year in Tinseltown. I’m sure LeBron James never expected this. It will be quieter playoffs without the King, yet, it will allow some other cool NBA stories to finally grow and develop.
5. VINCE CARTER (Hawks): I know he’s only averaging 7 points per game and he’s 41 years old, but for a guy who is in his 21st season to be shooting close to 40 per cent from 3-point range, you got to say that he’d still be a valuable piece for some team next year. You shoot it like that in a league that values that skill, you’ll deservedly have employment. It’s pretty remarkable how the man has reinvented himself.