Miami Heat v Houston Rockets

LeBron James says neither he nor Wade will win MVP


LeBron James does not think he will win the MVP this season, nor will Dwyane Wade in the mind of the two-time defending Most Valuable Player. From ESPN:

“When we decided to come together our Most Valuable Player chances kind of went out the window,” James said before the Heat played the Golden State Warriors Saturday.

“I think they classify it as an individual award. They look at it like the less help you have, the more numbers you have then the better chance for you to win that award.”

via LeBron James says he doesn’t expect MVP for any Miami Heat player – ESPN.

Totally reasonable attitude from James. It’s true that you need to kind of be “the man” in order to win the award. It’s also true that being on a loaded team hurts your case with voters.

That said, MVP could have been well within James’ reach. The Heat just haven’t played well enough. James hasn’t played well enough. It’s not that James hasn’t played well, he’s been his usual brilliant self. But more was expected. Particularly, James’ assists should be much higher than they are. James is averaging 7.3 assists, which is second-best in his career behind last year’s 8.6. But that was in Cleveland with Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. He’s got Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade now.

What’s more, the Heat are the 8th worst team in percentage of field goals assisted. Granted the Heat were third worst last year, so they’ve gotten better, but you have to wonder if Erik Spoelstra’s offense has something to do with it. Regardless, James’ assists are down, and as a result, his numbers don’t pop off the page. And with the talent he’s surrounded by, the numbers should pop off the page.

It’s true that the MVP voting process is inconsistent and difficult, but it’s still within reach. James won’t win it, but it’s not because he plays beside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. It’s because playing next to those two hasn’t made him incredibly better.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.

Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay fine after scuffle (video)


Jimmy Butler and Mason Plumlee got into an altercation in the Bulls’ win over the Trail Blazers last night.

Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.

You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)

Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”

It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.

It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.

Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.

“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”

Is that, or Or is it Dookie?

These are important questions – at least if you’re trying to turn the conversation away from your dirty play and toward your colorful quotes.