1. FRED VANVLEET (Raptors): What a nice luxury for coach Nick Nurse to have with Kyle Lowry banged up of late. Play this guy extended minutes and he gives you good effort and productivity on both ends. He’s scored in double figures his last six games while averaging 4 assists per game in that span. He’s a winning, dependable player.
2. JUSTISE WINSLOW (Heat): He’s an intriguing guy who is playing more with the ball at point guard. Nice game versus Toronto Wednesday night with 21 points and four assists while making 3-of-6 from distance. Winslow is big and strong for that position. He can surely guard and his size is tough to handle at that spot. Trying him there is an interesting experiment by Miami. Winslow has some solid tools.
3. LUKA DONCIC (Mavericks): Another fun performance by him in a win over Pelicans, just missing a triple-double with 21 points, 10 assists and nine boards. Every time I watch him I just marvel at his maturity and stage presence. He’s confident, skilled, smart and, most importantly, really good.
4. SPENCER DINWIDDIE (Nets): If he keeps playing like this (37 points and 11 assists in a double-overtime win over Hornets) his recent contract extension will be a bargain signing for Brooklyn GM Sean Marks. Love his relentless energy and ability to attack the rim. Dinwiddie is a hard guy to contain and his confidence is booming. You can clearly see it in his body language. Nice development.
5. DERRICK ROSE (Timberwolves): It was great to see him have a big night in his hometown and where it all started for him against the Bulls. Wonderful how Chicago fans gave him lots of love with the MVP chants during a performance that saw him put up 24 points and eight assists performance. He’s had a really nice year and is efficient, averaging 18.7 points and 4.7 assists while shooting an excellent 48.9 per cent from the field, 45.5 per cent from three and 84.4 per cent from the free-throw line. He’s not all the way back to his MVP form of days gone by but he’s still a good player who seems to be having lots of fun again. Rose is a great story.