Bill Walton RumorsAll NBA Players
Take a regular, 82-game season. It’s widely accepted that a player should play in about 75% of games – at least 62 games – to be considered. Bill Walton won MVP with the fewest games played – just 58 of 82 games in 1977-78. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid has played in 45 of his team’s 64 games, and if he plays in the remaining eight games, he will have played in 73.6% of Sixers games. Embiid is an MVP favorite. But where does that leave Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James? His chances to win a fifth MVP have diminished, at least according to oddsmakers, because he missed 20 consecutive games due to injury. But James returned on Friday, and if he plays in every game the rest of the season, he will have played in 51 games – or 70% of his team’s games.
The impact of injuries is a key reason it’s dangerous to start to draw MVP conclusions too early in the season. Staying on the court is a key part of value within an individual regular season. Historically, 10 games missed has been about the cutoff for MVP consideration. The last player to miss more than 10 games in an MVP season was Allen Iverson in 2000-01 (11). Before that, you have to go back to Bill Walton in 1977-78 (an unprecedented 34) for the previous example. (No MVP between Walton and Iverson missed more than seven games.)
And Lillard knows that his own postseason pinnacle — reaching the 2019 Western Conference finals — pales in comparison to the accomplishments of those franchise titans. But if you dissect his answer, which was winding and nuanced, it gets right to the heart of why Lillard resonates so deeply with this fan base. Yeah, Walton and Drexler gave Portland the hardware. But did they give their heart? “I don’t think being here meant the same to them,” Lillard said.
Justin Kubatko: Nikola Jokic today: ✅ 47 PTS ✅ 11 REB ✅ 5 AST ✅ 2 STL ✅ 17-26 FG ✅ 4-4 3P ✅ 9-10 FT Jokic and Bill Walton (1976-77) are the only players since the ABA-NBA merger to open a season with 20 consecutive double-doubles. pic.twitter.com/38LjpVDP2Q
Justin Kubatko: The @Indiana Pacers Domantas Sabonis is the fifth player since the ABA-NBA merger to open a season with 15 consecutive double-doubles: ✅ Bill Walton, 1976-77 ✅ Moses Malone, 1981-82 ✅ Kevin Love, 2011-12 ✅ Giannis Antetokounmpo, 2019-20 ✅ Sabonis, 2020-21 pic.twitter.com/DhUrpZzYs1