LAST NIGHT IN THE ASSOCIATION: Thursday night featured a fun battle between the old school and the new school.
🦌 Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo posted another crazy stat line, going off for 24 points, 19 rebounds, (a career-high) 15 assists, three steals and one block in a 137-129 Milwaukee victory. In the process, Antetokounmpo became the first Bucks player ever to drop a 20-15-15 stat line, which is ridiculous considering stat-stuffers such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson are part of the team’s illustrious history.
We currently have Giannis at No. 1 in our MVP rankings, and if he continues to perform at the level he’s currently at, he won’t be dropping down our list anytime soon.
😮 Opposite Antetokounmpo stood future Hall-of-Famer Carmelo Anthony, who looked much better than he did in his first game for the Blazers. Anthony dropped 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Portland, nailing three of his five three-point attempts for the evening. Though the Blazers lost again, falling to 5-11 on the season, if Anthony can give Portland that type of production once Damian Lillard gets healthy (which projects to be Saturday), he might be able to help Portland get off the schneid.
ALL-STAR DOWN: Nikola Vucevic is going to miss at least a month of action due to a right ankle sprain.
FRINGE PLAYER SIGNED: The Jazz signed Juwan Morgan while waiving Stanton Kidd on Thursday.
NO NURK IN 2019: Jusuf Nurkic shot down a report that he could be return from his brutal leg injury soon, tweeting that he won’t be back until 2020.
PAU TO SPAIN? Barcelona really, really want to sign Pau Gasol ahead of his retirement after the 2020 Olympic Games. Could you imagine a starting frontcourt of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic playing in Spain?
SIMMONS TO SUIT UP FOR AUSTRALIA: Ben Simmons says if he’s healthy, he’ll be suiting up for Australia at next summer’s Olympics.
NO MAX OFFER: Zach Lowe reports that the Sixers did not offer Jimmy Butler a five-year max deal last summer, and it might have had to do with tension between the All-Star and the coaching staff.
ACCLIMATING NICELY: Speaking of Butler, The Athletic’s Michael Lee interviewed him recently about how he’s feeling in Miami, how he felt about leaving Philadelphia, and much more.
FIZDALE SAFE: Reportedly, one of the reasons Knicks head coach David Fizdale survived New York’s rough start this season was because the team didn’t feel comfortable promoting any of his assistants. Sorry, Keith Smart.
FEELINGS STILL THERE: Doc Rivers is happy to see his old club, the Celtics, doing well this year.
COURAGEOUS RETURN: Monty Williams on overcoming a terrible tragedy and becoming the Suns’ head coach.
AGING LIKE FINE WINE: These are the oldest players to receive MVP votes in NBA history. (Expect LeBron to join this list in due time.)
LAMELO-CENTRIC POD: Bleacher Report’s Mirin Fader joins Alex Kennedy to discuss the two weeks she spent with LaMelo Ball in Australia, including an interesting tidbit about his deteriorating relationship with his brother Lonzo.
LOVE NOT HATE: Danny Ainge doesn’t want Celtics fans to boo Kyrie Irving during his return next Wednesday.
MAJOR SNEAKER DEAL: Dwyane Wade has announced that Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell will be the new face of Lil-Ning’s Way of Wade sneaker brand.
R.I.P.: Reports came out on Thursday that Wataru “Wat” Misaka, the first Asian/non-white person to play professional basketball, passed away at the age of 95. Misaka appeared in three games for the New York Knicks in the 1947-48 season.
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