Berlin (SID) – Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
The crazy. At the European Championship, Slovenia only made it to the quarter-finals, although they put in some crazy performances, like the 47-point gala against France. If the 23-year-old wants to, which is sometimes a problem, he is hard to stop. He averages 28.4 points in the NBA, and he led Dallas to the conference finals in the playoffs last season, averaging 31.7 points. And “Luca Magic” hits from all positions. At 2.01m, the point guard also dominates the zone and lets threes rain down from the outside.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
The model athlete. Like a Greek god carved out of marble, the “Greek Freak” has reigned supreme in NBA basketball for years. The 27-year-old, six-foot-tall and 250 pounds, is nearly impossible to guard as he drives the basketball into the lane. Only three fall a little. But he’s always good for monster blocks on the defensive board. He led the Bucks to a title in 2021 after earning MVP honors in 2019 and 2020. In the European Championship, he fell a little short of expectations, Greece lost to Germany in the quarter-finals.
Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
MVP: The Nuggets aren’t even among the big title contenders, and yet everyone is afraid of the Joker. The Serbian recently won two straight regular season player of the year awards because watching him play is a feast for the eyes. The way the 27-year-old interprets the center role, the way he moves the ball forward and puts his teammates in the spotlight, is more reminiscent of a guard. Also, the 2.11m giant impressively hits the treble for the so-called Big Man. A threat at all levels, which could only be admired until the round of 16 due to the loss against Italy in the European Championship.
LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
King. Basketball’s walking monument turns 38 on Dec. 30, and it looks like James has accomplished everything. Four-time NBA MVP, four-time NBA Champion, four-time Finals MVP and 18-time Allstar, but someone like him can never get enough. He’s just too good for that. King James averaged 30.3 points last season, even as the Lakers missed the playoffs. However, with his team losing five of six Test games, there are reasonable doubts whether James can claim his second Lakers title after 2020.
Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors
The sniper. A look at the 2019/2020 season shows just how important Curry is to the Warriors. Since he broke his arm, he’s only played five games in that time. Also, teammate Klay Thompson was out, and Golden State missed the playoffs as the worst team in the league. After just two seasons, the Californians became champions again. With Curry as Finals MVP. They need the hands of the 34-year-old, whose triple (39.7 percent shooting rate in the 2021/2022 playoffs) is now iconic. It is not difficult for him to celebrate his fifth NBA title after 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2022.