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.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.