This year’s MVP race has been without drama for months, as LeBron James seemed to stand head and shoulders above his competition. Now, even the illusion of uncertainty can be wiped away, as Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that LeBron will receive his second straight MVP award and will officially receive his trophy prior to Game 2 against the Boston Celtics.
James is the MVP by almost any criteria. His 31.1 PER this season is good for tops in the league and ninth in history. His adjusted +/- is second in the league, behind only Dwight Howard. He’s the only non-point guard in the top five in assist percentage (an estimated percentage of teammate field goals LeBron assisted while he was in the game), still managed to grab 7.3 rebounds per game, averaged an unreal 29.7 points per game, and led his team to an NBA-best 61 wins.
The scariest thing? LeBron’s getting better. He’s still learning, making huge strides with his defense, and even becoming a better scorer. Did you know this was the first season of LeBron’s career where he topped .500 in field goal percentage? Or that this was far and away his best season in terms of racking up assists? One of the most insanely efficient players in the game is still finding new ways to streamline his production, and that’s pretty horrifying.
Best player on the best team? Check. Greatest impact? Check. Best statistical resume? Super check. Best player in the league? You know it.
LeBron James is the rightful MVP, and it’s only a matter of time, a press conference, and a photo op away from it being official.
Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.
But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.
He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.
LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.
Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?
In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.
But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.
Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.
“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”
It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)
With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.
“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”
There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.
It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.
The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.
The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.
Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.
A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.