Iguodala was frustrated in Philly, which somehow is news

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Somehow, the fact Andre Iguodala was never quite comfortable or happy in Philadelphia, especially the last couple years, has become a story. I’m not sure how this is news to anybody, but here we are.

Iguodala has a unique set of skills but he was always mismatched in the Sixers offense, and he was never a favorite of fans in Philly who thought he didn’t produce enough to warrant his contract. Iggy saw it differently, saying he was asked to facilitate on offense, not score.

That’s not at all where Matt Moore, writing for CBSSports.com, went with his interview with Iguodala, he talked mostly about a player whose contributions often are undervalued. But when Iguodala talked about that, he talked about his frustrations in Philly.

“I haven’t really enjoyed basketball a whole lot the last couple of years,” Iguodala said. “Last year was a big year for us, but it was just draining for the criticism to be there every single day….”

“Once again, you get that perception that you’re just a defender, you’re just an athlete, blah, blah, blah,” Iguodala said. “I think that’s what the perception was based on my last two years in Philly because I was the facilitator. They didn’t want me to go out there and get 20-25 (per game) because when I got that, they said we couldn’t win….”

“So in Doug Collins’ first year, I didn’t shoot threes because he was like, ‘I don’t want you shooting threes, I don’t want that shot.’ Last year, I said, ‘I’m shooting it.’ And what happened? Shot 38 percent from three, top-25 in the NBA from three and I’m supposed to be a non-shooter. You put so much work in, and then to be told, ‘Don’t do what you worked on all summer.'”

Of course, there are plenty in Philly who are not going to pass up another chance to take a swing at Iggy.

Fortunately for us, Doug Collins wasn’t one of them. He took the high road talking to CSNPhilly.com.

“My feeling is I had a wonderful two years with ‘Dre,” Collins said. “I look back and I think he made me a better coach….

“Our first year, we were plus-14 wins and he was second-team All-Defense. Our next year, we go to the seventh game of the conference semifinals, and he makes the All-Star team and wins a gold medal. So I feel great about our time together.”

I think the guy that may make the most sense is Evan Turner talking to CSNPhilly.com.

“I think ‘Dre, whether he was frustrated or not, he still came out and played every night. He played hurt. You can’t really knock his opinion. It is his opinion and I am not going to knock him for how he feels because that is a personal thing. At the end of the day, it is about what the team needs from you and what the coach asks you to do. In Andre’s defense, he always did both. Last year, he was an All-Star, won a gold medal and got us to the second round.”

Philly never ran an offense that really played to Iguodala’s strengths, Denver does. Fast tempo, lots of touches, lots of chances to turn defense into offense and a green light to shoot any open shot. Use him right, like Team USA did in the Olympics, and he can be a force. Iguodala is the most George Karl of players, and he could have a monster year in Denver.

And he seems happy. Which clearly he was not the past couple years. I’m not really sure how that’s a surprise.

Bill Russell to Shaq, Kareem during awards show: “I would kick your ass”

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Bill Russell is one of the greatest basketball players to have ever lived. His dominance for the Boston Celtics is unquestioned.

And, he apparently knows it.

Russell received a lifetime achievement award on Monday night during the 2017 NBA Awards. Joined on stage by NBA big men Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutumbo, Russell opened his acceptance speech of the award with a little joke.

Via Twitter:

Tell ’em, Bill

Russell Westbrook has to choke back tears during emotional MVP acceptance speech

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Russell Westbrook was a tornado on the court this past season, tearing fearlessly through the NBA, leading the Thunder to the playoffs, and eventually himself to winning the MVP Award on Monday night.

It was a different side of Westbrook we saw when he accepted the award, barely able to hold back the tears in thanking his parents, teammates, and everyone who helped him get to that point.

Russell Westbrook wins the 2017 NBA MVP Award

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Russell Westbrook or James Harden for the 2017 NBA MVP? We finally have our answer.

On Monday night Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder star, took home the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, earning him the right to be called the league’s most valuable player for the 2016-17 NBA season.

Westbrook had 68 first-place votes, runner-up James Harden had 22, however, Harden had so many second place votes that this was the closest race in a decade (although it wasn’t that close). Kawhi Leonard finished third, LeBron James fourth, and Isaiah Thomas fifth.

The MVP debate raged on the entire regular season, but the Oklahoma City Thunder star hit new heights in 2016-17, averaging a triple-double for the entire season, a feat not seen since 1962 when Oscar Robertson did it. That pushed him over impressive numbers by Houston Rockets star Harden, who was incredible as he moved to play the point guard position full-time for NBA Coach of the Year Mike D’Antoni.

Whether you picked Westbrook or Harden, I’m not so sure that there was a wrong answer. Granted, the Rockets were a much better team and in fact gave some of the best squads in the Western Conference a run for their money. Harden and D’Antoni seemed like a natural pairing, and his move to the point guard position was inspired. Houston finished third in the Western Conference last season, a mark that most of us did not expect them to achieve without the likes of Dwight Howard.

In comparison, the Thunder were only in playoff contention because of Westbrook and even then, they scraped by the entire season. Oklahoma City had just three players with a positive VORP For the season, in stark contrast to the Rockets. While basketball purists might rightly point out that Westbrook’s contribution to his team was still centered around himself, the debate will have to rage on with the trophy now firmly in the Thunder star’s grasp.

Plus, if you ever watched the guy it would be hard not to point to him as MVP. Westbrook was just flat out ridiculous.

It is difficult to understate just how significant Westbrook’s statistical achievement is for the season. He averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game. The ability of a player to achieve that record with modern defenses in the NBA being what they are is impressive, even if you want to argue that many teams allowed Westbrook to operate while concentrating on his lesser teammates.

In the age of advanced statistics, when an analyst with both a spreadsheet and a pair of working eyes may slide to the side of Harden, it is still an astonishing thought to think Westbrook dominated so wholly against his opponents statistically. Indeed, if you ask me who had a genuine impact and who was more impressive, the answer would have to be split between the two.

So here we are, at the end of the year and everything is as we thought it would be. Russell Westbrook is the individual season champ as a player, the best of the best. The Golden State Warriors are the team champions of 2016-17. You could argue against either of them, but I don’t think it would do you any good. Westbrooks season is a statistical anomaly we are unlikely to see again. NBA MVP voters have got it wrong a lot of the time over the years, but this isn’t one of them.

Russell Westbrook is your NBA MVP.

Draymond Green wins 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year

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There were a lot of incredible candidates for the 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, but make no bones about it: Golden state Warriors forward Draymond Green was the most deserving.

Monday night Green was announced as the Defensive Player of the Year during the NBA’s Awards Ceremony.

In a year in which the Warriors were coming off a 73-9 season, and after an offseason where they added Kevin Durant, Green’s importance to the team was never overstated. His tenacity on defense and switchability allowed the Warriors to continue to be one of the best defensive squads in the NBA. Golden State finished second in the NBA in defensive efficiency in 2016-17, and part of that was due to Green acting as they lynchpin.

A unique defensive player, Green was able to take some of the pressure off of Durant as well as boost his impact on defense. A player who at times had to guard all five positions, Green led his team in defensive win shares.

To take home his DPOY award, Green got 73 out of a possible 100 first place votes (from select media members), comfortably beating out Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert, who was second, and San Antonio Spurs MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, who was third. Robert Covington of the Philadelphia 76ers was fourth, followed by LeBron James fifth.

Much like the MVP award this season, a real argument could be made for either Leonard or Gobert’s candidacy for DPOY. However, With yet another 60+ when season under his belt, it made sense that Green was seen as the key by voters for the Golden State defensive attack.

Green finished with 73 first place votes, while Gobert trailed with 16 and Leonard with 11. Green finished with 434 total points. Gobert was second with 169.

Durant was the 2017 NBA Finals MVP, and voting for DOPY closed before the playoffs began. But if anyone watched the great playoff run by the Warriors — one where they only lost one game — Green’s importance is easily understood.