NEW YORK—Last season, Kevin Durant won his first NBA MVP award. This year, he was selected as a Western Conference All-Star despite missing more than half of the Thunder’s games. He’s clearly one of the most widely respected players around the league, and deservedly so. He’s arguably the second-best player in the world.
Now, Durant wants to change the way the end-of-season awards are given out. He wants to take it out of the hands of the media and put it into the hands of players.
“They have too much power,” Durant said at All-Star Media Day in Manhattan on Friday. “The players know each other inside and out. The media isn’t in the film room and goes for sexy names.”
It’s certainly an interesting argument to make. Players have a unique perspective about which of their peers are most valuable to a team. It would likely cause a change in the way the voting shakes out, with some more under-the-radar names getting attention.
But there really isn’t a lot wrong with the current system. By and large, the most deserving players win the awards. At least the big ones. There’s no arguing that Durant was the clear deserving MVP last year, or that LeBron James was the two seasons previously. Rookie of the Year is also an easy one to get right. It’s the smaller awards, like Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year, which require more nuanced understanding of team chemistry and often go to smaller names, that could be impacted if the NBA were to hypothetically adopt Durant’s suggestion.
It’s a nice thought and a good conversation starter. But it’s highly unlikely that the league makes this change unless there’s a groundswell of support that hasn’t been there.
Luka Doncic is having a “we’ve got to talk about this guy as a possible MVP” kind of season so far.
The latest addition to the resume: A 42 point, 11 rebounds, 12 assist triple-double to lead the Mavericks past the Spurs. That includes sticking the dagger in the Spurs late.
Dallas won 117-110 and improves to 8-5 on the season.
The 42 points is a career-high for Doncic, and he is the first player in Dallas history to record a 40-point triple-double. This is Doncic’s sixth triple-double of the season.
And he’s still just 20 years old.
Here’s the full list of NBA players who have had 40-point triple-doubles at the age of 20 or younger:
That’s it — and that’s some impressive company for Doncic.
This was a $25,000 celebration by Buddy Hield.
Sacramento led by one in the final seconds against Boston Sunday, but the Celtics had a final shot and Marcus Smart‘s attempt at a game-winning floater hung on the rim seemingly forever… then fell off. The ball was tipped out to mid-court and — as you can see in this video — Heild kicks the ball into the stands as part of the celebration.
Kicking or throwing the ball into the stands is a standing $25,000 fine, and the league came down with that on Hield on Monday. It was not a surprise.
Hield was the reason Sacramento won the game, scoring 35 points to lead the Kings, including going 7-of-12 from three. He’d likely make that trade for the win again.
This isn’t load management. This is a bruised knee.
The first Clipper game with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sharing the court will have to wait as Leonard is going to miss his third straight game with a knee contusion Monday night against the Thunder. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the news.
The Clippers are going to be cautious with bringing Leonard back from this, thinking long term with his health, as they should. Los Angeles is playing for games in May and June, not games in November.
This means tonight the Clippers will be the Paul George show again — in two games he has scored 70 points in 44 minutes. This will be George’s first game against the Thunder since he demanded a trade out of the city last summer, landing him on the Clippers with Leonard.
Cleveland Cavaliers GM said he has no interest in trading Kevin Love.
You can count the number of people around the league who believe him on one hand. There’s a good chance Love is still on the Cavaliers at the end of this season, but that’s more about him being in the first year of a four-year, $120 million contract extension than it is Cleveland’s willingness to trade him (or interest from other teams, if money was not an issue). The Cavaliers are rebuilding, and if they can get young players and picks for Love, they have to consider it.
With Portland off to a slow start, and Love growing up in the Pacific Northwest, that rumor has floated around. There are others. Love is just trying to ignore them and play ball, he told Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times.
“I know there’s talk about me possibly being the missing piece somewhere,” Love said. “There’s been constant chatter since I signed that I could be traded. It’s one of those things where I’m going to keep doing right by the team, by Cleveland and by the organization. If my number is called, so be it, but I’m going to stay true to my commitment and let the chips fall where they may.”
Love, who has been open in recent years about his struggles with anxiety and mental health, said dealing with the trade rumors that constantly swirl around him can be a challenge on that front.
“A big aspect of mental health is just staying in the present but it’s so hard,” he said. “You have to try to not get too far ahead of yourself or get worked up. You can get that anxious feeling or fear for the future, but you have to try to stay focused on getting better and let things work out the way they should.”
Kevin Love has played well to start the season, averaging 18.3 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, shooting a respectable 34.7 percent from three. He could help a lot of teams, particularly ones in the West who want to be in the mix for a ring but who look at the Lakers and Clippers and think, “we have to get better fast.”
The rumors around Love are just going to get louder the closer and closer we get to the trade deadline. Love will have to do a lot of work to tune all that out.