NBA

NBA League Pass Alert All-Stars: 10 players who are must-see TV

We all know the feeling.

You see the Twitter timeline heating up, someone is going off in the fourth quarter or putting on a highlight-reel performance and you stop doing what you're doing, push back your plans 20 minutes and fire up NBA League Pass to catch the show.

From record-breakers to ankle takers and the box office entertainers, this list isn't necessarily the best players in the league, but the ones you simply can't miss.

Damian Lillard

Has anyone put on more of a show this season than Dame D.O.L.L.A.?

From the monster scoring nights to the game-winning performances, when you see Lillard heating up, you know it's time to turn on the TV. His clutch numbers alone make him appointment viewing.

Lillard leads the NBA with 128 total points in clutch situation (games within five points in the final five minutes) and is doing so on ridiculous efficiency, shooting 58.7 percent from the field (37-of-63), 45.8 percent from 3-point range (16-of-33) and 100 percent at the free-throw line (38-of-38).

Then comes the long-range shooting. Alongside Stephen Curry, Lillard has made a habit out of making logo 3-pointers look like layups, as we saw in the All-Star Game as both stars let it fly from halfcourt with ease.

"Steph's the best shooter ever," Lillard said. "But when it comes to shooting from deep range, I feel like I can do that as deep as anybody."

Lillard takes most of his 3s from 25-29 feet, where he's shooting 41.1 percent (130-of-316). Even from 30-34 feet, he's knocking down at 31.9 percent.

Lillard has had his watch set to Dame Time all season.

Kyrie Irving

When it comes to Irving, in the words of Stephen A. Smith ... "The man is Box Office!"

The guard has missed 11 games for the Nets this season, but when in the lineup, he's been putting together one of his best NBA seasons to date.

Averaging 28.1 points on 52.0 percent shooting and 40.6 percent from the 3-point line (all career highs) in addition to 5.7 assists a game, Irving has relished the move to shooting guard, taking his scoring game to another level.

With three 40-point games this season, only Lillard, Joel Embiid, Bradley Beal, Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic have more than Irving.

From the mesmerising crossovers to the late-game takeovers and free-wheeling scoring, in terms of sheer entertainment factor, the 28-year-old is arguably the greatest showman in the NBA.

James Harden

Harden has overshadowed Irving this season on the Nets, with his record-breaking performances in just a short span with his new team.

In 29 games, he's averaging 25.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and a league-leading 11.3 assists per game, powering the Nets to 29-14 record, good for second in the Eastern Conference.

Just look at some of the records he's set in Brooklyn:

  • Second to Jason Kidd (61) in franchise history with 11 triple-doubles (in 28 games)
  • Most games in a single season with 30-plus points and 10-plus assists in franchise history (6)
  • Second player in Nets history alongside Vince Carter to record a 40-point triple-double

It feels like every other game Harden is re-writing the record books.

Stephen Curry

While the Warriors have struggled this season, sitting ninth in the Western Conference at 22-21, Curry continues to be one of the league's showstoppers, averaging MVP-level numbers of 29.0 points, 6.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game

Meanwhile, his shooting remains at a scorching level at 47.5 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from 3-point range on 11.4 attempts a night.

With the Warriors dealing with injuries, Curry is shouldering a huge offensive load and continues to deliver in the clutch for the young squad.

LaMelo Ball

The youngest player on the list, Ball has brought excitement back to Charlotte and made them a League Pass must-watch.

The alley-oop connections with Miles Bridges alone are worth tuning in for.

From the flashy crossovers to the no-look dimes, Ball creates a new highlight package every game.

"He's damn good to be his age," LeBron James said of Ball after their matchup last week. "His speed, his quickness, his ability to make shots and baskets in the paint ... and he's going to only get better. Every game is a learning experience for him. He's going to get better as the season goes on and his career goes on."

Unfortunately, it appears as though Ball will miss the remainder of the season with a fractured wrist.

LeBron James

While the Laker superstar is expected to be on the sidelines for a while after suffering a high ankle sprain, his level of play in Year 18 has been nothing short of spectacular.

At 36 years old, LeBron has been at the top of the MVP conversation all season. He recently became the oldest player with back-to-back triple-doubles and is the first player in NBA history with 10 triple-doubles after turning 35 years old.

It's always Showtime when LeBron takes the court.

Nikola Jokic

The betting favourite to win this season's MVP award, Jokic has the Nuggets firing on all cylinders once again, winning eight of their past 10 games.

The 26-year old has established himself as one of the best - if not the best - big man in the NBA, turning himself into a walking triple-double. Watching a player of his size pull off the seemingly impossible every night makes the Nuggets a League Pass darling, thanks largely to his combination of scoring, playmaking and wizard-like passing.

Averaging 27.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game, Jokic is tied for the second-most triple-doubles in the league this season with 11.

Luka Doncic

After a slow start to the season, Doncic has been on a tear of late.

The 22-year-old has the Mavericks back in the playoff race and is putting together a single-season mixtape like no other. Outside of Irving, has anyone delivered more ankle-breakers this season?

Ja Morant

Averaging 19.3 points and 7.5 assists per game (both career highs), Morant is enjoying a productive season for the Grizzlies and creating highlight after highlight along the way.

From 360 layups to game-winners and the threat to posterise anyone in the league, the Grizzlies are a fun team to watch, but Morant makes them must-watch TV.

Zion Williamson

The second-year Pelicans forward is bringing bully ball back to the NBA!

Williamson is one of the most unique players in the NBA, but it's not just the high-flying dunks. He's found a knack for playmaking, regularly running point for stretches, with plenty of success.

The Pelicans are one of the most entertaining teams to watch this season and the evolution of Williamson is a big reason why.

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