Now That James Harden Has Been Traded And We Can Focus On The Games, Who Are The Three NBA Players That Have Our Attention After Week One?

James Harden was finally traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal that saw P.J. Tucker and Filip Petrusev join Harden in LA.

Heading to Philadelphia are Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, KJ Martin, a 2028 unprotected first-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 pick swap and an additional first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Now that James Harden has been traded, Tyrese Maxey is the lead guard. Maxey, along with Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic and Pistons youngster Jalen Duren, has already made an impact early in the season.

We’ve now been through the first week of the NBA season, and most teams have played at least three games. It’s a small sample size, but these players have our attention.

1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

It’s so unfair to pick the world’s best player, but here we are. Jokic has picked up where he left off in last year’s playoffs, where he led the Nuggets to their first title and was named Finals MVP.

Through three games the Nuggets are 3-0 and Jokic is averaging 26 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists per game.

2. Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

Now that James Harden has been traded, Tyrese Maxey is the lead guard. Maxey, along with Joel Embiid, have led the Sixers to a 2-1 record. At 22 years old, Maxey is nowhere near his peak, and he’s already very good. He’s already had four 30-point playoff games in his young career.

This season he’s averaging 30 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey acquired a number of defensive-minded players as a part the Harden trade. They will pair well with Maxey; you can see the vision.

3. Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons

The second-year big man is looking like he’ll be the Pistons’ starting center for the next decade plus. Imagine Duren and Cade Cunningham in the pick and roll for years!

Through three games, the Pistons are 2-1 and Duren is averaging 18 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two blocks per game. He’s shooting an astounding 80 percent from the field. Now, that’s mostly off dunks, lobs and put-backs. But still. Those shooting numbers will not last, but what if he’s 63 or 65 percent from the field for the season?

Duren and the Pistons, under new head coach Monty Williams, are looking to be better on both ends of the floor. But they also want a defensive identity, something they can depend on when the offense struggles.

“A lot of these veteran teams, it’s going to be harder to win with that amount of turnovers and mishaps on the offensive end,” Duren said last week. “We can’t rely on that, but the defensive end helps us. It keeps the game close. Being able to get three, four or five stops in a row and then capitalize on those stops is everything. That’s something we can build our foundation off of.”

If Williams gets these young guys to buy in defensively this team will be competing for a play-in spot and the playoffs before too long.

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