NBA rumors: Luka Doncic the favorite to win MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks took home the trophy for the second consecutive year this season. Even with the confetti likely still being cleaned off the floor days after the final buzzer in Orlando, oddsmakers are already wagering on next season’s MVP. The Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic is favored to win the coveted regular season award in 2021. He is a 4-1 favorite, according to SportsBetting.com. Antetokoumpo comes in second with 9-2 odds followed by Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Curry has 5-1 odds as he makes his long awaited return to the game.

More on MVP Race

Justin Kubatko: Luka Doncic is the youngest player in NBA history to finish in the top four of the MVP voting. Older man LeBron James is the second-oldest player in NBA history to finish in the top two of the MVP voting (Karl Malone, 1998-99).
Ben Golliver: Lakers’ LeBron James w/ a long riff on awards voting after finishing second for 2020 MVP: “The voting scale is a little weird to me... I don’t know how much really we’re watching the game of basketball or are we just in the narration mode, the narrative.” pic.twitter.com/xJeQ1HLoMD
Tomer Azarly: LeBron gives more examples on questionable NBA Award voting and adds he’s not sure if voting has become more narrative based - “Did you see the votes that Devonte Graham got [for Most Improved]? He averaged 4 points last year compared to 17.5. If that’s not improving, what is?”
Eric Nehm: Giannis Antetokounmpo has won the 2019-20 NBA MVP award and he is accepting the award in Athens, Greece.

https://twitter.com/MarkG_Medina/status/1307017837266063363
StatMuse: Reminder that MVP is a regular season award. And Giannis averaged these numbers this regular season: 29.5 PPG 13.6 RPG 5.6 APG 55.3 FG% +682 +/- (leads NBA) in 30.4 MPG pic.twitter.com/z0dsNqxMtf
Rob Schaefer: 11 players have won back-to-back MVPs in NBA history: Russell, Wilt, Kareem (2x), Moses, Bird, Magic, Jordan, Duncan, Nash, LeBron (2x), Curry 2 have won MVP and DPOY in the same season: Jordan ('88) and Hakeem Olajuwon ('94) Giannis poised to officially join both lists today
Because Giannis Antetokounmpo has won MVP honors in 2020, he is now super max eligible to sign a contract with Milwaukee in the 2022 offseason. If Antetokounmpo bypasses an extension this offseason and signs a 1+1 contract (for 30% of the cap in Milwaukee) in 2021 with the Bucks, he would be eligible to sign a five-year super max contract (35% of the cap) with Milwaukee in 2022.

http://twitter.com/Giannis_An34/status/1305336270722347016
On Sirius XM Radio right before the bubble games began, Justin Termine, Frank Isola and Amin Elhassan all said Paul appeared on their NBA Most Valuable Player ballot. Termine has Paul as the No. 3 player on his ballot, behind Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo as MVP and Los Angeles Lakers forward/guard LeBron James at No. 2.
By the time it was over, Doncic had unleashed a couple of step-back 3s, orchestrated a beautiful two-man game with Kristaps Porzingis, and perhaps most jaw-dropping of all, dropped a between-the-legs pass to Max Kleber in traffic for an easy slam and one before polishing off the game with a contested runner in the lane. He finished with 36 points, 14 rebounds and 19 assists (a career-high), with only two turnovers. "He's one of the most talented guys I've ever played against," Antetokpounmpo said after the game. "He's making the whole team better, and he's going to keep getting better."
If you thought this vote was going to be close based on LeBron James‘ run before the league’s stoppage, think twice. Per our poll, Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the near-consensus MVP after improving his scoring, rebounding and three-point percentage numbers from a season ago. By securing back-to-back MVP awards, Antetokounmpo will join Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell as the only NBA players to do so.
Instead, basketball stopped. And with it, the momentum James had been building came to a halt. The NBA more or less made that distinction official last week when it announced postseason award voters should only base their ballots on what occurred prior to the shutdown. Just as LeBron was closing the gap. “I’m not disappointed because things happen,” James said Monday on a video conference from the league’s bubble in Orlando. “You control what you can control and I can’t control that. As far as the MVP race, I think that I’ve shown what I’m capable of doing. Not only individually but from a team’s perspective, us being No. 1 in the West.”
“There was a lot of conversation about, ‘LeBron can do those things in the East, but if he ever came to the West, what could he do?’” said James, starting to chuckle. “I heard all of that. To be able to have our team at the top of the Western Conference and playing the way that we were playing at that time and the way I was playing, it’s definitely a good feeling.”
"Nobody impacts winning more than LeBron James. I do believe that he should be the MVP this year," Vogel said. "I believe he should be the MVP and I believe Anthony Davis should be the Defensive Player of the Year. I hope those awards go to our two players."
When the league told teams on Friday that the races for MVP and other regular-season individual awards are over -- ahead of the NBA restart in Orlando, Florida -- the decision came as news to Budenholzer. "I had no idea that that was the case, but it makes sense. I think it was 64, 65, 66 games for different teams, so that's certainly a significant body of work, and more importantly, certainly, Giannis, in our minds, has done more than enough to deserve a back-to-back MVP," Budenholzer said. "What he does for us on both ends of the court, what he does every night, the way he sets the bar for us, culture-wise, work ethic-wise, just as a teammate. He's an incredible teammate, plays unselfishly, does everything. And I think that's kind of what the MVP is, so we certainly feel like he's very deserving, and we'll be excited to support him."
Damian Lillard thinks so. He appeared on ESPN's Jalen and Jacoby Wednesday and cited a somewhat dubious reason for picking James. "This season I think it's LeBron," Lillard said. "They're the No. 1 team in the west, they've been consistent all year long, and for him to be at the age he's at with the amount of miles that he has on his body, how often he's talked about the pressure that they've put on him in every little thing that he does. At the level he's performing at, in my opinion, I think he's the MVP."
Damian Lillard thinks so. He appeared on ESPN's Jalen and Jacoby Wednesday and cited a somewhat dubious reason for picking James. "This season I think it's LeBron," Lillard said. "They're the No. 1 team in the west, they've been consistent all year long, and for him to be at the age he's at with the amount of miles that he has on his body, how often he's talked about the pressure that they've put on him in every little thing that he does. At the level he's performing at, in my opinion, I think he's the MVP."
“I do my homework and I do my research on things, and I just feel like I’m a guy who, in his media, I don’t ever want to mess up my credibility, so I just speak facts,” Perkins said. “I never want to be biased and I never try to sway one way or just be taking up for my homeboy.” Perkins pointed to, as an example of his avoiding bias, picking Giannis Antetokounmpo as his preseason pick for MVP, over his friend LeBron, with whom he spent a summer playing for the Oakland Soldiers, an AAU team, in high school. “I sent him a text and I said. ‘Look man, I’ve got Giannis ahead of you,’” Perkins said. “And that’s when he texted me back and said, ‘Oh don’t worry, I’m gonna reclaim my throne.’ And I was like, ‘OK, well then do it mothafucka.’ He’s like, ‘I am, mothafucka.’”
“I do my homework and I do my research on things, and I just feel like I’m a guy who, in his media, I don’t ever want to mess up my credibility, so I just speak facts,” Perkins said. “I never want to be biased and I never try to sway one way or just be taking up for my homeboy.” Perkins pointed to, as an example of his avoiding bias, picking Giannis Antetokounmpo as his preseason pick for MVP, over his friend LeBron, with whom he spent a summer playing for the Oakland Soldiers, an AAU team, in high school. “I sent him a text and I said. ‘Look man, I’ve got Giannis ahead of you,’” Perkins said. “And that’s when he texted me back and said, ‘Oh don’t worry, I’m gonna reclaim my throne.’ And I was like, ‘OK, well then do it mothafucka.’ He’s like, ‘I am, mothafucka.’”
Jayson Tatum Says LeBron is MVP 👀 The Celtics star also gives out other NBA awards and talks about the G League vs. the NCAA during an interview with @TaylorRooks

http://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1251263355186274304
Using that rubric, Antetokounmpo led the way with 670 of a possible 700 points, as he was listed in second place behind James on the 10 ballots where he wasn't listed first. James, meanwhile, was second with 514 points, and was either first or second on 68 of the 70 submitted ballots, finishing third on one and fourth on another.
Leonard came in fifth with 118 points, having been named on 40 ballots, with a huge gap existing between him and crosstown rival Anthony Davis (61 points, 25 ballots) in sixth. Six other players -- Chris Paul (28 points, 10 ballots), Nikola Jokic (18 points, eight ballots), Pascal Siakam (12 points, six ballots) Damian Lillard (four points, four ballots), Jayson Tatum (three points, one ballot) and Bradley Beal (one point, one ballot) -- rounded out the voting.
Using that rubric, Antetokounmpo led the way with 670 of a possible 700 points, as he was listed in second place behind James on the 10 ballots where he wasn't listed first. James, meanwhile, was second with 514 points, and was either first or second on 68 of the 70 submitted ballots, finishing third on one and fourth on another.
Leonard came in fifth with 118 points, having been named on 40 ballots, with a huge gap existing between him and crosstown rival Anthony Davis (61 points, 25 ballots) in sixth. Six other players -- Chris Paul (28 points, 10 ballots), Nikola Jokic (18 points, eight ballots), Pascal Siakam (12 points, six ballots) Damian Lillard (four points, four ballots), Jayson Tatum (three points, one ballot) and Bradley Beal (one point, one ballot) -- rounded out the voting.
Jared Dudley: Both teams at Full strength ✔️ Every game at Staples is a home game ✔️ MVP talk Weekend 👑 ✔️ AD is a different animal ✔️ I said what I said ✔️
Amid all the tumult that has defined the 2019-20 season so far, there remains at least one constant: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Last season's Most Valuable Player is the early favorite to win the award for a second straight year. ESPN asked 101 media members to participate in an informal straw poll of where the league's MVP race stands as the season moves into its second quarter. It was Antetokounmpo who stood above the rest. The Milwaukee Bucks forward received 48 first-place votes and was the only player to appear on all 101 ballots.
He calls the attention on his future “disrespectful.” Heck, he doesn’t even mind the immature social-media shots from the Houston Rockets and James Harden about him winning MVP last year. Harden had a banner year, a historic year offensively and again carried the Rockets into contention. “That's their opinion. They're gonna have James' back,” Antetokounmpo said. “I'm never gonna say I'm better than James.”
But it doesn’t mean he’ll relinquish the award or apologize for it. “The trophy’s in my house,” he said.
You spoke to a radio station in Houston recently about the MVP race, and how you feel like the media usually goes into the season with an MVP candidate in mind, a narrative, that helps them win that award. Do you think a narrative has already taken form for 2019-2020? James Harden: Nah, it hasn’t happened yet, it’s too early. Wait until the preseason and when the regular season starts up again. But they [the media] for sure got some teams they locked in on. We all know. That’s just what it is. You can’t tell me that a guy whose team was a 14-seed at one point last year, and ended up a four-seed with everything that was going on—so many injuries—and who went on a 32-game 30-point streak, eight 50-point games, two 60-point games in one season…and all the talk was about [Giannis Antetokounmpo]? There’s no way.
James Harden performed remarkably well last season after a slow start, scoring 36.1 points per game. That's the highest-scoring season in a long time, but it wasn't enough to win MVP. Instead, that title went to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had an equally monstrous season. During a recent interview on 97.9 The Box, Harden shared his thoughts on why he lost out to Giannis. When it was suggested that "politics" played a part, Harden agreed.
"I think once the media, they create a narrative about somebody from the beginning of the year, I think they just take that narrative and run with it the entire year," Harden explains at the six-minute mark of the interview. "I don’t want to get into details. But all I can do is control what I can do, and I went out there and did what I was supposed to do at a high level. You know what I’m saying?"
Congrats to the new MVP, but we respectfully disagree. 📝 @JHarden13 ⤵️ ✔️ Finished Top 2 in MVP voting 4 out of the last 5 seasons ✔ 1st player in NBA history to avg at least 35.0ppg & 7.0apg in a single season ✔ Scored 40+ pts 28 times this season, 50+ 9 times & 60+ twice

http://twitter.com/HoustonRockets/status/1143358248277499905
D’Antoni is thrilled James Harden was a unanimous selection for All-NBA First Team. “He deserves it,” D’Antoni said. “There’s no one that had a better year than James, in the last three or four years. We had some serious injuries for a long time and he was able to carry the team on his back. To do more than what he’s done is impossible. Just another unbelievable MVP-type year.”
Reigning NBA MVP James Harden of the Houston Rockets is one of three finalists for the award for the 2018-19 season, the league announced Friday. Joining Harden, who led the league in scoring with 36.1 points per game, in the top three are Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
John Wall doesn’t have a vote for MVP. If the Washington Wizards’ injured point guard did, though, his justification for picking Giannis Antetokounmpo over James Harden is one that would no doubt be shared by many of his fellow voters. In a sit down with Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, Wall explained that Antetokounmpo’s status as the best player on the league’s best team makes him the most worthy choice for the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, especially considering precedent set by Harden’s most recent finishes in the MVP race. “To me, I mean, James is my guy, but I’ll go Giannis just because he has the best record in the league,” he said. “I just feel like not last year, but the year before, everyone thinks James should have won it then, but he didn’t win enough. Last year, he got first in the West, overall best record in the league — that’s why he finally cracked that safe to get [MVP]. “The numbers he’s put up this year have been historic,” Wall continued. “Never seen it before since, what, Jordan averaging 37 was the last time we’ve seen it? Those numbers and all that speak for itself. He’s like unguardable — you can’t do nothing with it. But I’m just like if you’re going off wins, I’ll go Giannis.”
1. Who’s the MVP? (122 votes): James Harden (44.3%), Giannis Antetokounmpo (38.9%), Paul George (12.7%), Joel Embiid (1.7%),Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard (1%)
But for the bulk of the players B/R spoke with, that person is Harden. Not only for what he is, but for what Antetokounmpo isn't quite yet. It's not that Antetokounmpo isn't a formidable opponent. His speed, length, hops and handle make him capable of maneuvering over or around almost anyone, often culminating with a ferocious dunk. All of that, combined with his work ethic, makes him a defensive riddle to solve as well. But players know defense requires a team effort to succeed, and offensive proficiency can be as much of a reflection of a team's system. They place the most value on the ability to score whenever and however a team needs to win. For all of Antetokounmpo's talent, that's where they see him falling short. "Late game, Giannis doesn't have the ball in his hands to win," Magic guard Evan Fournier said. "For an MVP, that's kind of hard."
Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins and Blazers guard and Steph's brother, Seth Curry, made the lone cases for Antetokounmpo, but they did it in the abstract way more often heard from fans or media members. Cousins valued Antetokounmpo's consistency over Harden being great "in spurts." "[Harden]'s been on one hell of a spurt of late, but if we start giving it based on spurts..."
Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari was quick to give the nod to Harden. Again, it was Harden's ability to get a basket whenever needed that mattered most. "They're different players," Gallinari said. "James is an amazing scorer. He can score in every way imaginable. He doesn't have weaknesses. To have the Rockets doing so well in the West, I would vote for him."
Detroit Pistons big man Jon Leuer didn't see a tiebreaker as necessary, either. Harden's heroics, surrounded by a roster churned both by the acquisition and then release of 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony as well as a slew of injuries, was enough. Nor did he discount Harden's league-leading point production because head coach Mike D'Antoni gives him the greenest of lights to shoot. "To me, it's Harden," Leuer said. "People say his numbers are inflated because of D'Antoni's system, and he dribbles the air out of the ball, but carrying his team every night no matter who is out there, you can't go against that. The team thing does factor in, which is why Giannis has to be considered. But the knock was the Rockets were a lower seed, and now they're one of the top four in the West. I just don't see how it's not James."
Well, let’s talk then. So I always love it when we have a story that changes so drastically within the context of a season, when we think one thing in November and December and then it’s completely different by the end. It’s insane how you guys have turned this around. Mike D'Antoni: "It was teetering. It was teetering. I mean you’re 11-14 (on Dec. 8), and at 25 games everybody usually says you can tell what kind of team you have – and we’re 11-14. And we hadn’t sustained Clint (Capela) missing 15 (games from mid-January to mid-February) and CP missing (17 from mid-December to late January) after that, so for me – and you can write it – that’s why James is the MVP. I’m telling you, he took that, and without CP, without Clint, with us changing almost half the roster, and took us where we have a chance to be third. Nobody else could do that. I’m telling you right now. Nobody."
Do you think (the MVP race) is close at all? Mike D'Antoni: "No, I don’t. I don’t." It’s a two-man race… Mike D'Antoni: "And I’ve got to tell you, (Giannis) is really good – reaaallyy good. And they’ve got the best record in the league, and that’s all good. So I’m not knocking him. I’m making the case for my guy, but take that and put it away. Your (Rockets) record is not quite as good as (the Bucks’, but) we’re right there. And (Harden) has done it with a complete change of roster. And again, his other carrying partner (Paul) was hurt for (17) games. Clint, his other guy, was out for 15 games. I don’t know. And he played every night. It’s hard for him to miss a game. He’s playing (36.4) minutes a game. He’s doing it all. I don’t know, I just don’t see the other argument. I do because of the record, and I do because of how good he is – and he’s really good."
It also should be noted that while Antetokonmpo has improved in some statistical categories from last season, he has slipped in several as well. He’s shooting an anemic 24 percent from 3-point range, down from 30 percent a season ago; his free throw percentage is 72, down from 76, and his turnovers are up, 3.9 a game this season compared to 3.0 last season. Yet, nobody questions whether Antetokounmpo is a certifiable MP candidate. He and Harden are clearly in a two-player race for the coveted award. “It’s either Giannis or Harden,’’ said a longtime NBA scout, who has seen both players perform up close on numerous occasions this season. “I hate Harden’s game; I just hate it. But, as much as I don’t want to say this, Harden deserves to be MVP again. He’s just had one hell of a season.’’
Giannis​ Antetokounmpo doesn’t​ like​ it.​ He​ doesn’t want to talk about it.​ Unfortunately, for​ him,​ it’s the​ only​ thing​​ people want to discuss with him at the moment. Who is the 2018-19 NBA Most Valuable Player? Is it him? Or is it Houston Rockets guard and 2017-18 MVP James Harden? For months, Antetokounmpo has stressed that he tries not to think about the award and has repeatedly declined the opportunity to discuss it, but he wanted to make a few things clear in a recent chat with The Athletic.
“I’m not going to say it doesn’t mean anything to me,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s one of my goals as a player to one day be the MVP of this league, but I’m not going to go into the discussions. ‘Giannis said this. James said that. Paul George said whatever. (Nikola) Jokic said this.’ I’m not going to go in a back-and-forth discussion. I don’t want to say anything.”
As Antetokounmpo has argued the entire season, if he does his job — playing his best basketball and leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the league’s best record, something he’s currently doing — it’s going to take care of itself. “Obviously, we have eight games left. We have 55 wins. We might be able to finish the season with 63 wins, if we play the right way,” Antetokounmpo said. “Because OK, the regular season’s over. Even though I’m the MVP or I’m not the MVP or whatever, I don’t care, there’s going to be playoffs.” “I want to get out of the first round. I want to go to the Eastern Conference Finals. I want to go to the Finals. There’s more to this than just the MVP.”
Matt Velazquez: More Alvin Gentry on Giannis: "The hunger that he has to play & the force that he plays with is 2nd to none in the league, really. Everybody talks about the MVP voting; he’s the best player on the best team. ... To me it would be hard not to vote for him for MVP.”
Lakers Nation: Luke Walton was asked today if he has an opinion on the MVP race between Giannis and Harden. "No I don't. I've seen a lot more of Harden, but really diving into tape of Milwaukee yesterday, Giannis is having a pretty good season, too. They're a really good team."
Curry’s 28.6 points per game and 44 percent shooting from 3-point range are his highest marks since his unanimous MVP campaign in 2016. “Everybody can come up with certain narratives,” he says on the topic of the MVP award. “It’s clear who the best guys in the league are, who’s helping the team win. Comparing numbers and styles … beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t know why I can’t [win again], but I feel confident in knowing what type of player I am. I’m sure KD would say the same thing.”
While players acknowledge Harden's mastery, some are put off by the style: both the way the Rockets play and the way Harden expertly uses the current rules to his advantage. The enforcement of freedom of movement rules and the relaxing of travel calls on his step-back -- and to be clear, most of the time he executes the devastating move within the rules -- have helped supercharge Harden's season in a way that can irritate his opponents. "Guys can say he gets away with travels on the step-back or he flings his body into people to get fouls, but honestly, a lot of us get away with stuff like that," said one All-Star who didn't want his name used because he wasn't trying to court controversy. "Just speaking for myself, and I don't know how others feel, but what he does isn't always team basketball. If you look at how Giannis plays, that's more the way I was raised in the game. Just my opinion," he said.
Based on admittedly unscientific conversations, there are many players who agree. Earlier this season, Harden scored 304 consecutive points that were unassisted. That streak was tracked with awe by fans and media. For some players, though, it created eye-rolling as it was the opposite of team play.
One year after sweeping four games with the Thunder, the Blazers this season have lost the first three to Oklahoma City, the latest 120-111 on Monday at Chesapeake Arena in a game in which George had 47 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals. “Everybody in the whole arena can see that,” Lillard said of George’s play being the difference. “He’s at a different level. I mean, after watching him over the last 10 games or so — I catch a lot of their games — and seeing him tonight … that dude, he MVP. If they keep this up, he MVP.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 329 more rumors
More HoopsHype Rumors
November 27, 2020 | 9:15 am EST Update
The entire NBA should be on notice. The Hawks sneakily have the contracts, young talent and all of their future first-round picks to make a splash for a superstar on the trade market. “One of the things I really like about where we are is with the veteran guys we have (combined) with the younger guys we have — we have a lot of guys on our roster that other teams value, so we always want to keep ourselves in position if there is a star player that comes available — we’re in position to go and try acquire them,” Schlenk said this week. “We’re in a nice situation there because we do have a lot of young talent that people value, and now we have good veterans that we can use to match salary. We’re going to continue to look to be aggressive as we build this team out.”
November 27, 2020 | 6:18 am EST Update

Real Madrid's Gabriel Deck leaving for the NBA?

Real Madrid lost star guard Facu Campazzo to the NBA (the Denver Nuggets to be specific) and there is a reported possibility that this may also happen with another player of the team. According to Marca, Real Madrid forward Gabriel Deck will be using the exit clause on his contract with “Blancos” and sign with an NBA club even next week if his team doesn’t present him with an extension offer really soon. There are some NBA teams that have “shown an interest” for the Argentinian player and he’s ready to make the jump, unless something changes with his contract situation with Real.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 7 more rumors
One longtime league executive said the past week was the most hectic of his career. In addition to the draft and free agency crammed together in an abbreviated offseason, there are so many other less-publicized tasks that teams are trying to sort through, from COVID-19 protocols to fans possibly attending games to scheduling. It’s wild to think that regular-season games are scheduled to tip off in less than a month.
For example, every day at 5 a.m., inside room 950 in the Gran Destino (where all the top-seeded teams stayed), Masai Ujiri would wake up, read his book, hop on the Peloton, and work out before heading down for breakfast. He thought nothing of his daily ritual until one morning, several weeks into the bubble, when he got a text from another former player of his: “Morning boss, you good up there?” The text was from Kawhi Leonard—Finals MVP with the Raptors, now a star on the Clippers—who was staying in room 850, directly below his old boss. Ujiri had been waking Kawhi up with his noisy workouts for weeks, but Kawhi was reluctant to say anything.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Home