Go ahead and make your case for James Harden, it’s a good one. Russell Westbrook admits he wants to win the MVP this year and has played well enough the last couple months to be in consideration. If your criteria is the best player, it’s still LeBron James. Chris Paul has some staunch backers.
Oddsmakers care about none of it — they care about who is likely to win and who the bettors are putting their money on.
They have Stephen Curry far ahead as the MVP favorite. Here are the latest odds courtesy online gaming site Bovada:
Stephen Curry 1/4
James Harden 3/1
Russell Westbrook 5/1
LeBron James 25/1
It seems trendy to pick against Curry, dismissing the “best player on the best team” argument out of hand. But Curry is averaging 23.7 points a game shooting 43.4 percent from three, he’s dishing out 7.8 assists a game, plus he is the focal point of one of the NBA’s top two offenses. He has a PER of 28 (third in the league), and he’s second in win shares. If you want value to his team, the Warriors are 16.9 points worse per 100 possessions when he is off the court.
Curry is going to win this award. More than that, he’s earned it.
Old school Nets’ coach Lionel Hollins doesn’t believe in resting players
Hey, they didn’t rest players back when he played. Of course, they also wore shoes with little support, didn’t workout in the offseason, and if you suffered a knee injury that likely was your career.
Decidedly old-school Nets coach Lionel Hollins can’t afford to rest any of his players right now, they are in a fight just to make the playoffs. They need every win they can get — and they’ve won four in a row and eight out of 10.
But even if he could rest players, Lionel Hollins said he wouldn’t, reports Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
Lionel Hollins says he doesn't believe in resting players: "I don’t think managing your minutes lengthens your career by one minute."
Studies have shown that players perform better when rested, both during the season and into the playoffs. Which is why teams locked into the postseason are resting guys right now. Or you can take the anecdotal evidence of the well-rested San Antonio Spurs having been to two straight NBA Finals, winning one, because their coach took care of them during the season.
Of course, this was part of the issue back in Memphis — Hollins believed what he believed, evidence to the contrary be damned.
The resting of players has become a trend — or an epidemic, if you prefer — in the NBA. The only way to change it is to build more rest into the schedule. While we can all dream of seeing 72 or 66 games or whatever, we know that the billionaires and millionaires are not willing to sacrifice the dollars to make it happen. Which means the approach Adam Silver is taking as Commissioner is really the only smart one: Reduce the preseason, start the regular season a week or two earlier, and work to eliminate four games in five nights situations. Cut down on back-to-backs.
Do that, and there will be less rest of players. But the fact is this is part of the NBA now, just like better shoes and offseason workouts.
Blake Griffin dropped 40 on Golden State in loss (VIDEO)
Blake Griffin was the reason the Clippers led Golden State early and had a chance to win in the end — he was the best player on the floor Tuesday night.
Taking advantage of the face Draymond Green was out (Green give Griffin issues), Griffin dropped 40 points on 16-of-25 shooting, plus had 12 boards. Griffin had 12 of his points in the first quarter, when the Clippers took their lead. His 16 in the third quarter kept the Warriors from running away.
Down the stretch, I wouldn’t say he looked worn down, rather that he was just tired enough that he couldn’t sustain his earlier level of play and no one else on his team stepped up. The Clippers needed this win, and the Warriors got it. But that’s not on Griffin, it’s not even close without him.
Five Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: Golden State exposed Clippers’ defense
If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while…
1) In a game the Clippers needed more they couldn’t hold off Warriors, and it’s not a good sign. The showcase game on Tuesday started out kind of how we expected — the Clippers were playing with the desperation of a team fighting for its playoff seeding, the Warriors (without Draymond Greed) were playing like a team that wrapped up the top seed and really didn’t want to get hurt. The Clippers led by as many as 17 in the second quarter. Los Angeles had won seven in a row, and it looked like it would become eight.
However, the Clippers have a couple troubling flaws, and those were exposed in this game — and they are why the Clippers ended up losing 108-104. First is their often discussed lack of depth — Doc Rivers has to lean heavily on his starters, and they need Jamal Crawford back. You can say “come the playoffs that won’t matter much because of the time off” and you’re right in one sense. But that lack of depth limits the team’s flexibility — Golden State can attack you a lot of ways. The Clippers can’t.
But the bigger issue is this: The Clippers are not a great defensive team. They have been much better during the recent run of wins, but if you look at their last 10 games they are allowing 103,1 points per 100 possessions, 13th in the NBA. They are not in the Top 10 for the season. They are average or a little above. In this game the Warriors had an offensive rating of 111 (points per 100), and while Golden State has one of the top couple offenses in the league — and Klay Thompson went off in the second half — the Clippers could not get needed stops. The Warriors, on the other hand, could — Los Angeles shot 3-of-13 in the fourth quarter. If the Clippers get the Spurs in the first round, a real possibility, the depth and defense could be big trouble.
2) Are you going to guard Stephen Curry? Good luck. He’s a walking video game. Chris Paul is the best defensive point guard in the NBA and CP3 got dropped.
3) Blake Griffin had a monster game for Clippers. Blake Griffin could win an MVP one year, he is that good, that complete. Tuesday night he dropped 40 points on 16-of-25 shooting, plus had 12 boards. The Warriors were without Draymond Green, who usually gives Griffin trouble, and Griffin took advantage of the space.
4) We may have to watch the Nets in the playoffs. Lord help us all. The Nets have won four in a row, eight of 10, and now have moved back into the eight seed in the East. Tuesday night Brook Lopez went off for 24 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds, to help the Nets hold on for a 111-106 win over Indiana. The Nets led by 17 early in the second quarter, gave it all back, and had to scrap for the victory. Joe Johnson made key plays in the fourth quarter when they needed it. The Nets look like a team that will make the postseason. Somehow.
5) Kawhi Leonard is a stud, and the Spurs are rolling. It’s not so much that San Antonio flipped the switch as they just got healthy, but they look like the Spurs everyone should fear again. They manhandled Miami 91-75, and Leonard had 22 points on 13 shots, plus nine boards and a few assists. But what he really did is lock down the red-hot Dwyane Wade, who shot just 6-of-20 on the night. Fear this team come the playoffs.
Stephen Curry drops Chris Paul with behind-the-back move (VIDEO)
Chris Paul is the best defensive point guard in the NBA.
Stephen Curry just dropped him to the ground, then drained the shot.
That is as good a move as we’ve seen all season. Curry makes plays, but he does it with an entertaining flair — he’s maybe the second most popular player in the NBA right now for a reason. And when he starts making plays like this on the big stage of the playoffs, that popularity is only going to grow.