NBA Rumor: MVP Race
611 rumors in this storyline
“James, I don’t even know where to start,” Embiid said when asked about his co-star. “Since he’s been here — he won’t tell me that — but I think he kind of made his goal for me to be MVP. He has given up a lot. Obviously, I’ve always said it, he’s the best playmaker I’ve ever played with and he’s the best playmaker probably in the NBA. He’s been helping me as far as getting me easy opportunities, whether it’s to score or just be a better basketball player.”
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Harrison Wind: Michael Malone: “If you’re looking for a super athlete to win MVP, (Jokic) isn’t your candidate. If you’re looking for a great player that impacts winning in every possible way whose team is 1st place in the West, he’s your man. Frankly, I don’t give a damn what people think.”
Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle believes Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having an MVP type season (averaging 30.5 PPG/4.9 RPG/5.5 APG/1.7 SPG/1.1 BPG/50.1% FG/34.5% 3-PT/90.8% FT). (via Indiana Pacers): “He’s a great young player. I don’t know what else to say. I think he’s a legitimate MVP conversation guy because of the impact he has on their game and what he’s doing with his scoring. He may be the scoring champ before it’s all over. And defensively, he’s always had a high IQ. So he’s a really great young player that has tremendous impact on both sides of the ball. He’s a guy that any team in this league would covet.”
At 24.4 points, 11.0 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game, Jokić has an outside shot at averaging a triple-double for the season. Those of you suffering from Joker fatigue in the MVP vote will need to do some soul searching again this season. Jokić’s PER of 32.2 not only leads the league, but it also nearly matches last season’s career high. His 12.4. BPM leads the league by a wide margin … and it’s also higher than his first MVP season. His 68.5 percent true shooting? Well, it doesn’t lead the league, but it does for medium- to high-usage players (anyone over 20 percent) and it is easily the best mark of his career. Durant is choking on his dust back at 67.3. There’s a good reason for this: Jokić has cut back sharply on taking 3s after hitting 33.7 percent a year ago, flinging them barely half as often as last year to instead move to his comfort zone from midrange. (Fun stat: Jokić is shooting 61 percent this season on midrange shots, according to Cleaning the Glass. What?!?!)
StatMuse: KD this season: — 30/7/5 — 56/34/92% — Best FG% by a player with 30 PPG — 4th in the East — Leading league in PTS — Leading Nets in PTS and AST Building an MVP case. pic.twitter.com/6LIGMo4LYq
NBA GM's survey: Luka Doncic the favorite to win MVP award
Luka Doncic was a narrow, but clear, favorite to win this year’s MVP award, as the Slovenian superstar collected 48% of the vote, compared to 34% for Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, 14% for 76ers star Joel Embiid and a single vote for Warriors star Stephen Curry. It was Antetokounmpo, however, who finished ahead of Doncic in the category of player a GM would most want to build their team around, with Antetokounmpo getting 55% of the vote and Doncic 45%. No other player received a single vote.
David Hardisty: Patrick Beverley says James Harden should have won MVP “maybe three times” when he was with the #Rockets. “When I played with him, he was doing things I’ve never seen a basketball player ever do.”
Nikola Jokic on MVP: Individual awards are people picking who wins... a championship is something you win
Jorge Sierra: The eternally underrated Tim Duncan received MVP votes in 16 different NBA seasons. Only trails LeBron and Kareem. Duncan received votes in more seasons than Wilt Chamberlain and Anthony Davis combined. pic.twitter.com/7o8Vxp1NAV
Ohm Youngmisuk: Asked if he considers himself a long shot who won MVP, Jokic agreed while sitting in front of a horse and stable in the middle of the night: “If it’s not me, who is it. I’m coming from this city (Sombor)… from this stable basically.”
Jorge Sierra: LeBron James has received MVP votes in 19 different seasons. That’s two more than Kareem and six more than MJ. Just an FYI.
Nikola Jokic officially named MVP
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić has been named the 2021-22 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today. This is the second Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award for Jokić, who also earned the honor last season. He becomes the 13th player to win the award in consecutive seasons, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Stephen Curry, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Moses Malone, Steve Nash and Bill Russell.
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid finished in second place with 706 points (26 first-place votes). Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo finished in third place with 595 points (nine first-place votes), followed by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker in fourth place with 216 points and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić in fifth place with 146 points.
This is the first time that both the top three and four of the top five finishers in voting for the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award are international players, with Jokić (Serbia), Embiid (Cameroon) and Antetokounmpo (Greece) comprising the top three and Dončić (Slovenia) joining them in the top five.
Katy Winge: A Sombor Surprise 🥺 Josh Kroenke, Tim Connelly, Coach Malone, Felipe (head strength and conditioning coach), Oggy (director of player development), all made the trip to Sombor to deliver Nikola Jokic his MVP award. You could see it in the video, Joker was emotional.
Joel Embiid on MVP award: Congrats to Nikola Jokic, he deserved it
Gina Mizell: Joel Embiid on not winning MVP: “This is something that I knew weeks ago (referencing @Tim Bontemps’ straw poll)…I just knew it wasn’t gonna happen. Obviously, congrats to Nikola. He deserved it. He had an amazing season. There’s no right or wrong. There was a lot of candidates”
Rich Hoffman: Joel Embiid: Congrats to Nikola, he deserved it… There’s no right or wrong.” Then brought up Bill Simmons’ comments on Jalen Green and said that he didn’t like them, wondered about the media votes and said he won’t care about awards anymore.
Justin Grasso: Doc Rivers said he was “obviously disappointed” hearing that Joel Embiid is not expected to win MVP. “I don’t know if a guy could’ve done more than he did this year,” he added #Sixers
Rich Hoffman: Doc Rivers on the MVP race: “I do think this whole analytic-driven society, world is out of control at times with some of the measures that they use. Like, watch the dang game and decide is what I’ve always said.” Full quote below. pic.twitter.com/3gWVQBvmAA
In late March, in the back of a black sprinter van zipping through the streets of Los Angeles, I asked Joel Embiid about the importance of winning MVP. Embiid was in the final stages of his best NBA season, where he played more games (68), averaged more points (an NBA-best 30.6) and handed out more assists (4.2) than in any of his previous seasons. His answer: Winning matters more. “You can’t win this type of stuff if you don’t win,” Embiid told me. “So it doesn’t matter. Let’s say if I average 35 on a bad team, I can’t be the MVP of the league, because I’m not winning. So my whole thing, when you look at those awards, it all goes back to winning. So that’s always been my focus, winning, working hard to make my team better, offensively and defensively. Obviously winning a championship is the biggest thing. And I’ll be honest, I never thought I would be at this level.”
Mark Haynes: James Wiseman on centers Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid being 1 & 2 in MVP votes: “Yeah, it feels very good. It gives me a lot of inspiration as well. I look at them dudes as inspiration. I look at their film a lot, so I can add stuff to my game. I’m always a student of the game.”
Mike Singer: Was told yesterday that those around the Sixers knew the news was coming. Obviously, Joel wasn’t thrilled.
StatMuse: First 2000/1000/500 season ever. First to average 25/13/6 in a season ever (he’s averaging 27/14/8). First player in top 10 PPG, RPG, APG, FG% in last 50 seasons. Highest PER ever. A worthy MVP. pic.twitter.com/Me2ZLSoQuF
Nikola Jokic named NBA's MVP for second season in a row
Adrian Wojnarowski: Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has been voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for a second consecutive season, sources tell ESPN. A formal announcement is expected this week.
Ryan Blackburn: Nikola Jokić on the MVP award: “If I don’t get it, I’m not going to die.”
Michael Singer: DeMarcus Cousins asked about those who call Joker an “analytical MVP,” calls them “casuals.” “It’s a lot of experts on Twitter.”
James Harden on Joel Embiid: That's the MVP right there
Lauren Rosen: James Harden on Joel Embiid’s game-winner: “That’s the MVP of the league right there.”
Patrick Williams on Giannis Antetokounmpo: He is good but he's not God
Julia Poe: Ahead of Game 2 in Milwaukee, Patrick Williams says the key to guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo is to not feel scared of the assignment. “He is good. But he’s not God.” pic.twitter.com/py2ha3VWMJ
Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo the finalists for MVP
Gerald Bourguet: Devin Booker misses out on being an MVP finalist behind Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo. He could still be in the top-5, but he’s not one of the 3 finalists
Draymond Green on Nikola Jokic: He's going to try and give me 40, 15 and 15 next game
Harrison Wind: Draymond Green on Nikola Jokic: “I feel like he’s going to try and come out and give me 40, 15 and 15 next game…He’s pissed off and he’s coming back with vengeance tomorrow.”
Lauren Rosen: Tobias Harris (@Tobias Harris) on @Joel Embiid’s historic season: “The things that he does on the floor, as a big man, the dominance – I believe he’s the MVP... Honestly, I hope he gets both of them. By both I mean MVP of the regular season, and MVP of the championship.”
NBA Central: NBA.Com’s final MVP Ladder: 1. Nikola Jokic 2. Joel Embiid 3. Giannis Antetokounmpo 4. Devin Booker 5. Luka Doncic 6. Jayson Tatum 7. Kevin Durant 8. DeMar DeRozan 9. Ja Morant 10. Chris Paul
Mike Singer: Asked Nikola Jokic about winning another MVP: “If it happens, yeah. great.” Where do you keep your first MVP award? “I don’t know where it is right now, to be honest.” Said he’s in the middle of moving, and his wife is the caretaker.
Georges Niang on Joel Embiid: He's going to show you why he should have won MVP
Kyle Neubeck: Niang on Joel Embiid and the MVP battle: “If he doesn’t win it, he’s going to show you why he should have won it”
We have to put you on the spot here. Who’s your pick for MVP between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid? Roy Rana: Probably the best thing that we can do is, you know, it’s been done before. So I think let’s get co-MVPs.
Kevin Durant endorses Joel Embiid for MVP
Nick Friedell: KD said his pick for MVP would be Joel Embiid. As for the narrative aspect of the MVP race — as it pertains to votes, Durant knows it’s out of Embiid’s control. “In Joel’s case, more people like Giannis and Jokic. It’s as simple as that.”
Nikola Jokic on Joel Embiid: 'There's not even a little bit bad blood between us'
In that way, and in dozens of others, Jokic is a basketball anomaly. He’s a center with a point guard’s proclivities and a superstar with a benchwarmer’s ego. He’s also the odds-on favorite to become only the fifth center in NBA history to win back-to-back MVPs. Asked that same weekend about his designs on another MVP, Jokic said he’d be happy as long as a big man won the award. “There’s not even a little bit bad blood between us,” Jokic said of Embid. “I think (he’s) a great player.”
Kendra Andrews: Draymond Green says that Ja Morant should not be MIP. He’s in the MVP conversation. Jordan Poole, Green says, is the definition of the guy who has improved the most this season.
Michael Singer: Asked Vlatko about Nikola: “You always think about players like Kobe, LeBron, being so intimidating. Joker’s like the complete opposite, but once he goes on the court, it’s like, ‘Man, this guy is a tough mother******.” Does he care about MVP? “No, he only cares about winning.”
Michael Singer: Nikola Jokic on MVP/his status: “To be honest, I think there is a lot of guys that are playing at an extremely high level. … I’m just trying to be humble, to stay on the ground. … I don’t think about that to be honest, am I one of the best? I’m just trying to win the game.”
Monty Williams on Devin Booker: 'How many guys with his numbers and our record weren’t the MVP?'
Mark Medina: Suns coach Monty Williams on Devin Booker not getting enough MVP consideration: “How many guys with his numbers and our record weren’t the MVP? I’ve heard in Book’s case it’s because he plays with Chris. That’s kind of silly because Harden won one playing with Chris.”
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Joel Embiid is the NBA’s MVP because he carried Philly through all of the Ben Simmons Drama according to @KendrickPerkins while on @BovadaOfficial ’s IG Live.
Draymond Green tabs Devin Booker as his MVP pick
The MVP race is heating up as the 2021-22 NBA regular season begins to wind down, and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green has made it abundantly clear who his pick for MVP is. Green recently spoke about the MVP race and explained why he believes Phoenix Suns superstar guard Devin Booker deserves the award. “My MVP is Devin Booker,” he said. “I think Book has been consistent all year.”
Sixers legend Julius Erving has Nikola Jokic ahead of Joel Embiid in MVP race
Joel Embiid if he loses MVP: 'I'll feel like they hate me'
Embiid has 11 games with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds this season; only Russell Westbrook (12) and Moses Malone (12) have had more in a single season since the 1976-77 merger. Both players won MVPs in those seasons. “If it happens, great,” Embiid said of winning his first MVP. “If it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than everyone else.”
Doc Rivers believes Joel Embiid should be MVP
Lauren Rosen: Doc Rivers on Joel Embiid: “I really believe he should be MVP.”
NBA reporter Chris Mannix, during the NBC Sports Boston broadcast Sunday with the Celtics hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves, shared a story about a recent phone call between Tatum and Embiid. “Let me in part a quick story about how much it means for Jayson Tatum to be MVP,” Mannix said during the broadcast. “I was speaking to Drew Hanlen, Tatum’s longtime trainer, the other day. He said he was with Joel Embiid when Tatum called him and before they got off the call Tatum said to Embiid, ‘You better win the MVP this year because I’m gonna get it next year.’ “
Khris Middleton on Giannis Antetokounmpo game-winning block: It shocked the s--- out of me
At this point, Khris Middleton has seen it all. For nine seasons, aside from the moments they’ve been sidelined because of injuries, he has seen every practice and every game of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s NBA career. And yet, Tuesday night, he still couldn’t believe what Antetokounmpo did on the Bucks’ final defensive possession against the 76ers. “It shocked the s— out of me,” Middleton said.
“The shot went up,” Middleton explained. “Me and Jrue (Holiday), we kind of let Embiid slide past us, and we thought we gave up the potential game-tying layup. Next thing we know, we see this hand hit the ball to the backboard. It was this quick, much-needed block. It was one of the best ones I’ve seen, but not the best, obviously.”
With the Nuggets’ playoff hopes on his shoulders, Jokic will not start burdening himself with MVP talk now. He has others to campaign for him. “We always call him it, because he is the MVP. Whether he wins it or not, we believe he is,” said Rivers. “But he doesn’t like talking about it. I don’t even think he cares whether he wins it or not. He really doesn’t. I believe that, honestly.”
NBA poll: Nikola Jokic now the leading candidate to win MVP
As the 2021-22 regular season winds down, it appears Jokic has the inside track to repeat. After Jokic finished just behind Embiid in the previous edition in mid-February, the four-time All-Star claimed 62 of 100 first-place votes in the third and final iteration of ESPN’s MVP straw poll, giving Jokic a clear — though narrow — lead over Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks forward and most recent back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Jokic finished ahead of the pack with those 62 first-place votes and a total of 860 points, followed by Embiid, who had 29 first-place votes and 719 total points, and Antetokounmpo, who had nine first-place votes and 593 total points. They were the only players to be named to all 100 ballots and the only ones to receive a first-place vote.
“For the second straight year, Joel has played at an elite, MVP-level,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. “He continues to put up Wilt Chamberlain-like numbers and has emerged as one of the most versatile big men this league has ever seen. He impacts the game on both ends of the floor like few in this game can. To me, there’s no doubt he is the 2021-22 NBA MVP.”
Frank Vogel: LeBron James deserves MVP consideration
Patrick Beverley says Luka Doncic the hardest player he's had to defend in his career
Landon Thomas: Patrick Beverley on the toughest player he’s had to defend in his career: “Easy, so far it’s been Luka Doncic.”
Ja Morant questions why Devin Booker not included in MVP race
Ja Morant: still no devin booker?
Devin Booker on if he should be named in the MVP conversation: 'Yes'
Duane Rankin: “Yeah.” Devin Booker when asked if his name should be in the #NBA MVP conversation. #Suns. pic.twitter.com/ZPIHGjbsve
Kyrie Irving: MVP: @Devin Booker 👑👑👑
Suns coach Monty Williams does everything he can to avoid the MVP discussion. He knows himself too well. On the few times he’s delved into the Internet muck, he’s come back upset. After he checked the NBA app on his phone and found Phoenix superstar Devin Booker in ninth place in the MVP race, he effectively threw his hands into the air. “What’s the criteria?” Williams said before the scorching Suns took on the Nuggets on Thursday night at Ball Arena. “The criteria seems to be a moving target every year.”
James Harden would like to think he knows an MVP when he sees one, having won the award himself in 2018 and played alongside two others in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. And in Harden’s book, his new teammate, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, “deserves” to win the award this season. “He deserves it, man,” Harden told ESPN. “I’ve only been here for a few weeks, but I already see his mindset. He wants to win. Some guys just want numbers, but he has both. He has the mentality of winning, and he scores the ball at a high level. I think he’s prepared himself, especially coming off last year, for this year to be one of his best years.”
Harden said that, in his mind, an MVP should be “dominant” on the court and “impactful in terms of winning,” which gives Embiid and the Sixers (45-27), who are 1½ games back of first place in the Eastern Conference, an edge over his chief rival for the award, Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets (43-31), who are sixth in the West. “Most of the games he’s played this year, we’ve been fighting for the No. 1 seed,” Harden said of Embiid. “And he’s not only top 2, top 3 in scoring, but he’s impactful to our team winning.” Jokic and Embiid finished 1-2 in last season’s voting and are expected to be two of the top three candidates — along with the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo — for the award this season.
Devin Booker addresses being snubbed in MVP talk
Isiah Thomas: Let it be known @DevinBook @Suns @nba league #MVP conversation best record leading scorer has always been part of the #criteria. Devin Booker: Appreciate that IT but the “#criteria” changes depending on players name.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is not worried about MVP Race
Are you focused at all on the MVP award? Giannis Antetokounmpo: Oh, hell no. I’ve done it. I’ve done it. I’m OK. I’m OK with myself. You know, I don’t have social media on my phone. Like I cannot follow it.
So why isn’t that applying to the MVP race? Giannis Antetokounmpo: Nah, I want another championship. You know, like, the joy that I felt when I won the MVP was unbelievable. I was with my family. I wish my (late) Dad was there. That was an unbelievable feeling. Grateful. But the joy that I felt when I won a championship, there’s no comparing. There’s no comparing (an MVP) to the joy of being on the bus and seeing 200,000 people celebrating — White, Black, Hispanic, or whatever the case may be. Everybody was celebrating, and you’re giving everybody that joy. There were people that had never seen a championship for 50 years. (They’d say), ‘The last time I saw the championship, I was two years old.’ You know? That’s a different type of joy. It’s not just me being able to win the award. The whole city won an award. That’s what I want, you know? And hopefully, God can bless me and give me that. I’ll do whatever I can do to do it.
Dave Early: Is KD frustrated he won’t win MVP cause of his knee injury? “No it’s not frustrating. I’ve experienced what it’s like to win MVP and that doesn’t validate me as a hum- player…. It’s always great to get some…some hometown love… but I understand the type of player that I am.” pic.twitter.com/kRwOFWTzDw
Dave Early: “Joel Embiid, DeMar DeRozan, Ja Morant for me, those are my top three [for MVP] and I’ll probably go Joel. Jokic, you can throw throw Jokic in there. But I’ll probably go Joel.” -Sounds like Kevin Durant gives his vote for MVP to Joel Embiid. pic.twitter.com/755IgFVoMG
Matisse Thybulle on Luka Doncic: He moves at a snail's pace
Gina Mizell: Matisse Thybulle on defending Luka Doncic: “You really don’t slow him down, because he moves at a snail’s pace. It’s just being physical with him, because he’s such a big guard. The small movements he does is all he really needs to create advantages.”
Michael Malone on similarities between Nikola Jokic, Kristaps Porzingis: Other than being big and foreign, that's where similarities stop
Ryan Blackburn: Michael Malone on if there are any similarities between Porzingis and Jokić and how they’re being utilized: “Not really. Other than being big and foreign, I think that’s where the similarities stop.”
If the 100-some media members who vote share the same view as the executives, coaches and scouts I contacted, though, this year promises to be no different. More than a half-dozen players have been mentioned as being worthy of the award — Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, DeMar DeRozan and Jayson Tatum — but there was a clear-cut first choice among the majority of my panel: Philadelphia 76ers’ center Embiid.
Magic Johnson: Karl-Anthony Towns in the mix for MVP
Magic Johnson: By scoring 60 points last night, superstar Karl Anthony-Towns put himself in the running for the NBA’s MVP!
Kyle Neubeck: Embiid with nothing but praise for Nikola Jokic after the game, repeating his comments from last week calling him a “monster.” When asked if outscoring him tonight showed if he’s the best big in the league or not, Embiid pointed out that they lost and that it’s not for him to say
Being with the Charlotte Hornets over the last week and a half has provided Isaiah Thomas with the opportunity to watch LaMelo Ball up close. Let’s just say he’s impressed with the trajectory.
Kevin Durant goes off for 53 points vs. Knicks
StatMuse: KD carried the Nets today: 53 PTS 6 REB 9 AST 19-37 FG Hey @Kevin Durant do you regret not coming to the Kniiiiiiiicks? pic.twitter.com/HLNYuqH4IO
StatMuse: Players with multiple 50-point games this season: Jayson Tatum LeBron James Kevin Durant pic.twitter.com/PK232lzzK9
Alvin Gentry: It's hard to believe Nikola Jokic won't be MVP again
Luka Doncic finishes first, Ja Morant second in poll of league personnel for best young point guard
Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies have taken the NBA by storm this season. After flirting with the playoffs his rookie season, and making them by knocking off the Golden State Warriors — in San Francisco — in the play-in tournament in his second season, Morant has taken the full leap to superstardom in 2021-22, becoming an All-Star starter and first-team All-NBA candidate while leading the Grizzlies to a top-three seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. But is that enough to make Morant, whose Grizzlies face the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night, the most desirable point guard on a rookie contract in the NBA?
To answer that question, ESPN reached out to 15 league scouts and executives and asked them to rank six star point guards who are still on their rookie deals — the Charlotte Hornets’ LaMelo Ball, Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Darius Garland, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young and Morant — in terms of who they’d want moving forward. It was a question that engendered plenty of debate, and a lot of hemming and hawing over how people would ultimately decide to rank them. And while Morant received four of the 15 first-place votes, it was Doncic who got the other 11 and took home the top spot in the survey.
Luka Doncic finished first, Ja Morant finised second, Trae Young third, LaMelo Ball fourth, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander fifth and Darius Garland sixth.
Doncic was the only player who didn’t receive a lower vote than second among the six players. Morant, meanwhile, had eight second-place votes, two thirds and a fourth to settle in at a comfortable second-place finish. After the top two is where things got interesting. While Young was the only other player to receive a second-place vote — he got three of them — he also received eight third-place votes, placing him a clear third. Young also picked up fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place votes.
The fact he wasn’t a unanimous choice, however, is a credit to the way Morant has captivated not just fans but those inside the league as well. “Ja has shown the ability to take a team to the next level,” a Western Conference scout said. “He’s shown great leadership, plus his jump, as far as development, has been pretty remarkable.” It also, in the eyes of some, was a knock on Doncic’s slow start this season before working his way back into first-team All-NBA consideration. “I would probably put Luka ahead of Ja big picture, but I’ll put Ja ahead because of Luka’s conditioning [worries] every offseason,” an Eastern Conference scout said. “Luka’s more talented, but I like Ja’s approach more.”
Nikola Jokic on a second MVP award: It doesn't mean anything special, I'm just trying to win games
Malone’s mic-drop moment ended the entertaining news conference and concluded the latest stump speech for Jokic’s second MVP campaign. The funniest part, though, is that Jokic remained indifferent to what another award would mean to him. “I don’t know,” he said. “It doesn’t mean anything special. I’m just trying to compete, to win games.”
Steve Kerr: Nikola Jokic probably should win MVP again
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.”
Luka Doncic had many nice words for his fellow European stars during the All-Star Weekend and he also gave the praise to Giannis Antetokounmpo for both his on and off the court qualities. “You know what I’m gonna say. He’s an amazing player but what amazes me the most is his personality, a great guy just to talk to. He was the MVP twice, I think he’ll be maybe five times more. A great player,” Luka said and stayed humble when asked if it’s his time to grab the MVP honors. “I don’t know, I just want to win a championship. That’s it.”
DeMar DeRozan expected to be named East Player of the Month
Chris Haynes: Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is expected to be named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February, league sources tell @YahooSports.
Luka Doncic, DeMar DeRozan officially named Players of the Month
Al Horford: Jayson Tatum has taken a huge step forward as a leader
After watching the shot fall through the net, Tatum turned toward Horford and issued a Hulk-like flex-and-roar, which only motivated Horford even more. Tatum hasn’t always been viewed as an overly vocal leader, but Horford insists that the soon-to-be 24-year-old has turned into one of the greatest motivators on the team.
Ja Morant: I'm must-see TV
He has been the talk of the NBA for two straight days. But the Grizzlies guard had no idea that during the team’s practice, the NBA had announced his catch-and-release shot to beat the buzzer at the end of the first half against the Spurs had become the most-viewed Instagram video the league had ever posted. Once he heard the news, all he could do was shrug. “Sheesh,” Morant said. “I’m must-see TV. Me and my teammates. That’s why I got 30 million.”
Except the number was actually higher. It has more than 42 million views. “It went up?” he asked. “See, there you go. That proves my point even more. We are must-see TV. Every time we step on the floor, something special happens.”
TMac Thinks He should’ve won MVP in 2003…Shaq Disagrees | The Big Podcast
Luka Doncic on Ja Morant's play this season: MVP level
Q: Did you see Ja Morant’s 50-point game last night and what do you think about what he’s been doing with Memphis? Luka Doncic: “I saw the dunk and the last-second buzzer beater. Amazing. He’s been playing amazing this season, MVP level. Everybody saw this season what he is, and he’s an unbelievable player, unbelievable skills and so fun to watch.”
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May 31, 2023 | 6:51 pm EDT Update
Max Strus on playing with Jimmy Butler: 'He has one of the most highest basketball IQs I've ever been a part of'
Clutch Points: “Me being from Chicago growing up watching [Jimmy Butler], It’s kind of crazy that I’m on his team trying to help him win a championship now… He has one of the most highest basketball IQs I’ve ever been a part of and been around.” —Max Strus pic.twitter.com/cMbAHmVYEm
Ball Don’t Lie: “I knew him before I actually met him.” Nikola Jokic vs. Nikola Jovic Miami rookie Jovic has yet to finish his senior year of high school in Serbia, now he’ll play against Denver star Jokic 🙌 pic.twitter.com/L959UGObIh
Ball Don’t Lie: “He was just as hyped as my family was.” J. Cole congratulated Caleb Martin immediately after the Heat advanced to the NBA Finals 🙌 pic.twitter.com/hSlnXRpBaL
Clutch Points: “That’s my guy, my brother forever. I miss him so much. I used to spend so much time here with him watching him be great. He motivated me because his story was really really incredible.” Jimmy Butler on former Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas 🙏🏽 (via @TomerAzarly) pic.twitter.com/zb9dG1DWze
Jason Anderson: According to a league source, the Sacramento Kings hosted pre-draft workouts today featuring Penn State SG/SF Seth Lundy (6-6/220) and Sac State G Zach Chappell (6-3/195).
May 31, 2023 | 5:48 pm EDT Update
Caleb Martin: Our game plan is always to force Jaylen Brown to dribble to his left
Dan LeBatard Show: “Once Jayson Tatum was injured, was the entire game plan to send Jaylen Brown to his left?” – Dan “That’s always the game plan.” – Caleb Martin
Caleb Martin: Getting waived by the Hornets was the biggest slap in the face
Dan LeBatard Show: “Getting waived by The Hornets was definitely the biggest slap in the face…at that point I’m thinking I’m going overseas.” – Eastern Conference Champion, Caleb Martin speaks on the ups and downs within his journey as he prepares for the NBA Finals. #HEATCulture