One thing is clear: Houston will only go as far as Harden takes them. When asked what he expects from Harden in the upcoming season, Beverley told Basketball Insiders: “MVP and leading us to the Finals. Simple.”
But the odds of James reaching that number aren't as high as they could be, at least according to online sportsbook Bovada. In the odds released Monday, a little more than one month before Cleveland's first practice, James is listed as third most likely to take home the prestigious award, at 5/1. The reigning NBA Finals MVP trails Oklahoma City point guard -- and favorite -- Russell Westbrook (2/1) as well as Golden State's back-to-back recipient Stephen Curry, who is listed at 4/1 despite the arrival of free agent Kevin Durant this off-season, which will likely lead to a decrease in production.
Marc Stein: Warriors guard Stephen Curry will this week be named NBA Most Valuable Player for a second successive season, ESPN has learned.
With 17.4 seconds left of a closer-than-expected game against the Brooklyn Nets, Damian Lillard stepped to the free throw line at the Moda Center to put the finishing touches on a Trail Blazers victory. But as he went through a free throw shooting ritual he's done countless times, an unfamiliar chant began to echo around the arena. "M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!"
But Leonard's evolution as a player is so obvious — he started for the West in the All-Star game — that it is becoming impossible for him to go unnoticed as he emerges as perhaps the best two-way player in the NBA. "The guy is in the running for MVP and he's probably the best defensive player out of all of them," his San Antonio teammate Boris Diaw said. "So, yeah, he's the best two-way player in the league if you ask me."
Candace Buckner: Last question in conf. call, Paul George asked if that given his season stats should he be in the MVP conversation? Essentially, PG said no
Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is “well on his way to earning his second MVP.” Malone was the Warriors’ lead assistant from 2011-13, and he noted Curry’s dedication and work ethic even back then. “It’s not surprising at all, because of the kind of young man that Steph is and his dedication to the game,” Malone said before Sunday’s game between the Nuggets and Warriors. “You go back a long time ago to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, and they always came back as improved players. They always added something to their games.
TV analyst and former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy said earlier this week that Blake Griffin should be considered for Most Valuable Player honors this season. Rivers didn’t disagree. “Well, I think Jeff is brilliant. I hope he’s right. I think he’s right. … I think just winning and getting better will put you into that category and when you’re that talented and you’re winning, then you have to be thrown into that category.”
Blake Griffin has already done so much in the league, and he’s only 26. Where do you think his game goes from here? Redick: "He’s a very unique player, in terms of his ability to get to the rim, make midrange shots, handle the ball, pass out of double-teams, pass in transition and make reads on the fly. It seems like he’s taken a step forward in his game every year, so where he’s going to go? I have no idea. He’s a top-5 player, MVP level? Yeah, probably at some point in his career he’ll win an MVP and he’ll go down as one of the greatest power forwards ever. And if he wins, that certainly will happen."
Curry didn’t so much as revisit the topic as search for reasons why Harden did. “I don’t know,” Curry said. “Different guys find different ways of motivating themselves. I’ve never been one to just . . . I’m obviously confident in what I do, and I know he’s confident in what he does. It might come out in a different way. “I try not to do a lot of talking, especially (regarding) things that have passed. Obviously, you’ve got to motivate yourself and I’m sure he’s motivated this year to do some special things. I’m the same way.”
The beard mostly covers up the defiant grin that practically dares you to tell him he's already scraping at the ceiling. "I am the best player in the league. I believe that," he said. "I thought I was last year, too."
John Wall: “I want to be in the MVP conversation and give myself a shot at being the MVP. That means I need to play well, help my teammates play well, get those guys shots and lead my team to wins. I definitely want to be an All-Star starter again. I want to be All-NBA First Team. I want to be on the All-Defensive First Team; I was All-Defensive Second Team last year. I think I was snubbed from the All-NBA Third Team last year, but I just use that as motivation for this year to try to get better. Another individual goal is definitely leading the league in assists this year. There are a lot of things I want to do, but those are some of the main ones.”
August 10, 2022 | 4:15 pm EDT Update
A jersey worn by basketball star Michael Jordan during one of the most famous seasons in his NBA career is expected to reach up to $5 million at auction. Jordan wore the Chicago Bulls jersey in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals, and it will be one of only two of his jerseys worn in a finals game to ever appear at auction, according to Sotheby’s.
An estimate of $3 million-$5 million is the highest ever for a Jordan jersey, or any piece of Jordan memorabilia, the auction house said. The 1997-1998 season is known as “The Last Dance,” and was the subject of a 2020 ESPN/Netflix documentary series by the same name.
Dave Joerger shared a personal update… “Things are really good for the Sixers, and for me as well. As far as personally, things that have gone on with recovering from cancer treatment. It is a process. You never feel like you’re fully healed or done with it. It’s always going to be part of your story and part of what you’re going to go through physically and mentally going forward. And your family has to live with it as well, but we feel very positive about it because of getting to it early. Identifying what the problem was early and then going to the treatment immediately. So we feel very positive going forward, to be and live a full life.”
“It’s pretty crazy. Things go fast,” Joerger said. “Before you even get to the [roster] changes, I think you get to the fact that James Harden, Joel Embiid, and other guys did not have a lot of time together. Our core has had two years together – Tyrese [Maxey], Tobias [Harris] – and Joel and Tobias have been together for a number of years, we get that. But to add a guy who has the ball as much as James does, especially with Joel, that’s only going to get better as more time is spent together.”
“I think what they’re expressing is ‘part of me wants to be like this, but I need somebody to go first.’ I think that’s what P.J. Tucker is going to really [do]. You’re going to see guys now come a little bit out of their shell with their personality – not outside of themselves, but that part of it can come out a little bit more as somebody is kind of out there in front. Now we have a catalyst for that and a leader in that area, and I think you’ll see guys’ toughness come out a little bit more than it has in the past.”