Cody Taylor: Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum have been named the NBA Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for Week 23 of the 2021-22 season (March 21-27).
Finch currently has the Wolves sitting at 42-31 and in seventh place in the Western Conference, a half-game behind the Denver Nuggets and the coveted sixth spot in the standings, which means avoiding the play-in tournament and having several extra days to rest before starting the postseason. They are 1.5-point home underdogs against the West-leading Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, according to MaximBet.
“I haven’t really thought about it a lot, but my personal choice would be Taylor Jenkins of Memphis because of what they have done in terms of exceeding expectations,” Finch told Maxim.com in a phone interview. “The benchmark is pretty much where Vegas had you at preseason, and we’ve already accomplished that.”
The 2021-2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year race is a mess. The “short” list of candidates includes at least six players (listed alphabetically): Bam Adebayo, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marcus Smart, Robert Williams. Several others (Mikal Bridges, Joel Embiid, Draymond Green, Evan Mobley and Matisse Thybulle among others) should be considered as well. Why is the field so vast?
Individual defense is always hard to measure, whether via metrics or qualitative evaluation. Aside from rim-protection stats, numbers measuring individual defensive contributions can be a little rough. Additionally, with the complexity of modern defenses and length of the schedule, it is too much to ask of anyone to have watched enough of the candidates in sufficient detail to have more than a general idea of a player’s consistency of execution or his level of responsibility for his team’s level of defensive success. On top of these “every year” problems, this season has thrown up a few more wrinkles.
Some of Gobert’s defensive metrics are still quite robust. He’s sixth in defensive Estimated Plus Minus (dEPM) among players with at least 20 MPG. However, a closer look reveals that these metrics might be getting propped up via box-score inputs. Gobert is still blocking shots at a high clip and is leading the NBA in defensive rebounding percentage, stats which tend to cause some advanced plus/minus models to attribute the bulk of any success Utah has had defensively to Gobert.
However, a look at non-box score informed metrics like RAPM, suggests the possibility of some diminution in his impact. Gobert has finished in the top 20 in Luck Adjusted DRAPM (which attempts to rectify shooting variance by smoothing out variations in opposing free throw and 3-point shooting upon which teams, let alone individuals, generally don’t have much impact) in each of the seven seasons prior to this one, including five seasons in the top six. He sits 36th today. The result could plausibly be the result of variance or statistical noise, but it just as likely suggests he hasn’t been quite as good.
Boston has the NBA’s best defense, though which player should get sufficient credit to be recognized as the best defender in the league this year? Six of the Celtics’ top seven (Smart, Williams, White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford) players rate in the 84th percentile or higher in dEPM. Smart’s candidacy is hurt by the fact that it’s been so long since a guard won the award that I’m not sure we would recognize what DPOY-level guard play even looked like. As Smart himself put it, those are the rules…
Brad Townsend: Jokes Kidd when asked if he should be a Coach of Year candidate: “That award is dangerous because that award leads to getting fired the next year.” He’s basically right. A lot of COYs don’t stay much longer.
Cody Taylor: Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum have been named the NBA Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for Week 22 of the 2021-22 season (March 14 - 20).
Gerald Bourguet: “He should be the Defensive Player of the Year, number one.” - Monty Williams on Mikal Bridges, saying he’s guarding the toughest matchups in the league from the outside in while playing heavy minutes
As of right now, you'll be hard-pressed to find a consensus in the MVP conversation that doesn't favor Jokic winning for the second season in a row. Warriors coach Steve Kerr appears to have made up his mind. "We played against the reigning MVP, who probably should win it again," Kerr told reporters after the game. "I don't have a vote, but Jokic is just an unbelievable player and was spectacular tonight. He makes all of his teammates better. He makes defense so difficult because no matter what you do, he's got a counter for it. He's playing the game at such an easy pace and things look so smooth for him out there. With our defense already coming into this game struggling, he's a tough guy to face when you're not well-connected at that end of the floor."
Eric Walden: Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award for the third time in four seasons. He joins Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace, and Dwight Howard as the only players to win the award at least three times.
Gobert received 84 first-place votes and earned 464 points from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons finished in second place with 287 points (15 first-place votes). Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, the 2016-17 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, finished in third place with 76 points. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
Tim Reynolds: Jokic wins, Embiid 2nd, Curry 3rd. Derrick Rose got an MVP first-place vote. League source tells AP it was not from media; it was the consensus fan vote. And LeBron James' streak continues: 18 years with at least one MVP vote.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić is the recipient of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2020-21 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today. With the first Kia NBA MVP Award of his career, Jokić becomes the first player to earn the honor as a member of the Nuggets. He is also the first player from Serbia to be selected as the NBA MVP and joins Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) as MVP winners from Europe.
Jokić received 91 first-place votes and earned 971 total points from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters as well as the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award fan vote, making for 101 ballots. Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (586 points) finished in second place, followed by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (453 points) in third place, Milwaukee Bucks forward Antetokounmpo (348 points) in fourth place and Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (139 points) in fifth place.
Marc Stein: Denver's Nikola Jokic will be formally announced as the league's MVP on TNT tonight at 7:30 PM ET, sources say.
Nikola Jokic was named league MVP, a league source confirmed to The Denver Post, becoming the lowest draft pick to ever win the award and the first Nuggets player ever to do so. The former record-holders were Giannis Antetokounmpo and Steve Nash, both chosen No. 15 overall. The Nuggets selected Jokic with the No. 41 pick of the 2014 draft.
Shams Charania: Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has won the 2020-21 NBA MVP award, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson has won the 2020-21 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award for his contributions in a reserve role, the NBA announced today. This is the first Sixth Man honor for Clarkson, who becomes the first player to win the annual award with the Jazz.
Clarkson received 65 first-place votes and earned 407 total points from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Utah forward Joe Ingles finished in second place with 272 points (34 first-place votes), making this the first time that teammates hold the top two spots in voting for the Kia NBA Sixth Man Award. New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose finished in third place with 77 points (one first-place vote).
StatMuse: Most All-NBA selections in NBA history: 16 — LeBron James 15 — Kobe Bryant 15 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 15 — Tim Duncan pic.twitter.com/f3mYcLShwT
Shams Charania: 2019-20 All-NBA teams: First: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Anthony Davis, James Harden Second: Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic, Chris Paul, Pascal Siakam Third: Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Rudy Gobert, Russell Westbrook
Mike Vorkunov: Knicks center Mitchell Robinson did not receive any votes for the All-Defense team at center, though Hassan Whiteside and Andre Drummond did. pic.twitter.com/kw9E0wKOZQ
Shams Charania: 2019-2020 NBA All-Defensive teams: First team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, Marcus Smart, Ben Simmons. Second team: Bam Adebayo, Patrick Beverley, Eric Bledsoe, Kawhi Leonard, Brook Lopez.
Ben Anderson: Rudy Gobert came in third in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award voting. Giannis Antetokounmpo named DPOY. pic.twitter.com/Gc4jZGXL1b
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Antetokounmpo is the anchor of a Bucks unit that had the top defensive rating (103.36) in the league. He’s one of the few players in the NBA capable of guarding all five positions.
Antetokounmpo is also the favorite to win Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season. The 25-year-old superstar has the opportunity to join Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only two players to win both awards in the same season.
Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, four-time winner LeBron James and 2018 MVP James Harden headline the list of finalists for the NBA's six major individual awards, all of which were announced Saturday afternoon. Antetokounmpo, James and Harden were the three finalists for MVP, with the finalists for each of the six awards -- MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year -- being determined based off voting results from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters from across the globe.
Three first-time All-Stars this season -- Bam Adebayo, Luka Doncic and Brandon Ingram -- were all named finalists for the league's Most Improved Player award, while the top two picks in last year's NBA Draft -- New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant -- were named as two of the three finalists for Rookie of the Year, along with undrafted guard Kendrick Nunn from the Miami Heat.
Last year's selection for Coach of the Year, Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks, also was nominated again, as was Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse and Thunder coach Billy Donovan. Budenholzer would tie Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich and Don Nelson as the only coaches to have won the award three different times with another victory.
Shams Charania: The NBA’s annual performance awards (MVP, Rookie of Year, Sixth Man, Defensive Player, Coach of Year, etc.) will be based upon regular season through March 11, when the season suspended, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA has informed teams: "The decision to exclude seeding games from awards voting ensures a fair process in which players and coaches from all 30 teams will have the same opportunity to be honored..." League will soon announce voting process and plan to announce winners.
Jorge Sierra: Most times No. 2 in the MVP vote Four: Larry Bird, Jerry West Three: Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, JAMES HARDEN That's some nice company for The Beard.
David Locke: The subtle story to @Rudy Gobert back to back #DPOY awards is the Jazz coaches asked him to defend differently than he did a year ago. Tell the DPOY to change and his willingness to do it is what makes Rudy great. Completely committed to winning. Congratulations Rudy!!!
Eric Woodyard: Rudy Gobert on winning #DPOY for 2nd time: "This is all my teammates. I say this all the time, but it's a team game and when you have guys that bring it every night and come every day with the same focus and compete like we do it's inspirational."
ESPN Stats & Info: Lou Williams is the 2nd player to win 6th man of the year 3 times, joining Jamal Crawford. Williams joins Kevin McHale and Detlef Schrempf as the only players to win the 6th Man of the Year in consecutive seasons.
July 1, 2022 | 10:15 pm EDT Update
In his first national team appearance in six years, and first game in his hometown since high school, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 of his 32 points in a dominant third quarter, leading Canada to a 95-75 victory over the Dominican Republic in World Cup qualifying.
Nick Nurse started his four NBA players Friday: Gilgeous-Alexander, who received loud applause from his hometown crowd at what used to be Copps Coliseum, Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Utah Jazz), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks), and Olynyk (Detroit Pistons), plus national team mainstay Melvin Ejim.
July 1, 2022 | 8:21 pm EDT Update
The Jazz sent Rudy Gobert to Minnesota in a deal that netted Utah four future first-round picks and 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler, per ESPN. Reports from The Athletic and ESPN stated that Utah has no plans to trade Mitchell and would retool its roster around Donovan Mitchell. But there is some skepticism about Utah’s long-term plans in the wake of the Gobert trade. Several teams still view Mitchell as attainable for the right return.
People in touch with the Knicks prior to the draft said the club was wary of trading the combination of picks and players that it would take to land a player like Mitchell. The thinking, according to people in touch with the club at the time, was that there wouldn’t be enough left on the roster to field a contending team.
If Utah decides to trade Mitchell, Miami is certainly a team to watch. The Heat’s situation is complicated by the club’s pursuit of Kevin Durant (according to a source, several people were lobbying Durant on behalf of Miami on Thursday and Friday in the wake of his trade request out of Brooklyn).