Nominees for first ever NBPA “Players Awards” are out

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Michele Roberts is giving the players what they want as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association  (the NBA players’ union). She knows she needs their loyalty during the looming 2017 lockout, so she’s trying to build up good will now. She’s doing the little things that resonate with players. Like questioning why there are media in the locker rooms before games. Or pushing back against the owners on the age limit.

Or giving the players their own chance to vote on the big NBA awards (most postseason awards, such as MVP or Rookie of the Year, are voted on by the media).

The first ever “Players’ Awards” will take place July 19 at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas (and be broadcast on BET July 21). Every NBA player was given the opportunity to vote in a variety of categories, and Thursday the list of nominees was released.

Here they are:

Best Rookie
Jordan Clarkson
Zach LaVine
Elfrid Payton
Andrew Wiggins

Best Defender
Tony Allen
Jimmy Butler
Anthony Davis
DeAndre Jordan

Global Impact Player
Pau Gasol
Kyrie Irving
Dirk Nowitzki
Tony Parker

Clutch Performer:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Coach You Most Want to Play For
Mike Budenholzer
Rick Carlisle
Steve Kerr
Greg Popovich

Hardest to Guard
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Best Home Court Advantage
AT&T Center (San Antonio)
Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City)
Moda Center (Portland)
Oracle Arena (Golden State)

Player You Secretly Wish was On Your Team:
Stephen Curry
Anthony Davis
Tim Duncan
LeBron James

Most Valuable Player:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

That list looks pretty similar to the media awards, upon first glance. Save for no Kawhi Leonard or Draymond Green as best defenders. Also, no LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the category naming the players with the greatest global impact?

Whether you think these awards are more fair or accurate than the traditional media ones largely will depend on whether your guy wins in his category. For example, don’t be shocked if James Harden wins the Players Award MVP, so if you were a Harden guy you will think the players got it right after the media screwed it up.

I’ll just say this: Don’t think they are less biased than the media. Players have a lot of agendas — they will vote for guys with the same agent, AAU buddies, their friends, and on down the line. There is plenty of bias to go around.

There’s a mural in L.A. of Alex Caruso dunking over Harden, Leonard, Doncic

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It’s hard to overstate how popular Alex Caruso is in Los Angeles. Seriously. This isn’t just cult status popular, when he enters the game off the bench Staples Center explodes in cheers like LeBron James just fed Anthony Davis for an alley-oop.

Now Caruso has his own mural in Los Angeles.

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This is legit, it’s on the side of SportieLA, a clothing/apparel store on Melrose Ave. in the trendy heart of Los Angeles. Artist Gustavo Zermeño Jr. has done murals in the past for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and other Los Angeles sports icons such as Vin Scully.

This one plays off a huge Caruso dunk from earlier this month when Dallas’ Maxi Kleber was the victim.

It’s good to be Alex Caruso in Los Angeles right now.

Kawhi Leonard just destroyed Boston’s Daniel Theis on dunk

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Daniel Theis‘ play as a rim protector is one of the reasons Boston has a top-10 defense this season. He has anchored the Celtics’ defense in the paint.

Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP, and if he wants to go to the rim nobody is stopping him. Theis found out the hard way.

After the game, Leonard was asked about the dunk and he responded in about the most Kawhi way possible.

This was the first game Leonard and Paul George played together and they combined for 42 points, and they both made key play down the stretch of a 107-104 overtime win.

It took Luka Doncic 25 minutes to put together 35-point triple-double (VIDEO)

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DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 33 of his 35 points in the first half and had yet another triple-double to help the Dallas Mavericks rout the short-handed Golden State Warriors 142-94 on Wednesday night.

Doncic fell a point short of matching Dirk Nowitzki’s team record set Nov. 3, 2009, against Utah. In just 17 minutes, Doncic was 10 for 11 from the floor, making 6 of 7 3-pointers, and hit 7 of 8 free throws.

The second-year star from Slovenia had 22 points, five assists and five rebounds in the first quarter alone. He played only 25 minutes total, but still managed 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Doncic was coming off a 40-point triple-double Monday night against San Antonio, and has an NBA-best seven triple-doubles in 14 games this season.

The Mavericks never trailed and tied a franchise record with 22 3-pointers while sending Golden State to its worst loss since a 1973 playoff game.

The Warriors, who ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Memphis on Tuesday night, are an NBA-worst 3-13. Their five-year run of at the top of the NBA has collapsed under a weight of injuries, with Draymond Green out Wednesday because of right heel soreness.

With Green out, Golden State dressed only eight players, none of whom suited up for the team last season when it made the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year.

Eric Paschall led the Warriors with 22 points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 for Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth-straight double-double.

 

Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr out 2 weeks with bone bruise in foot

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say forward Otto Porter Jr. has a bone bruise in his left foot and will be reassessed in two weeks.

The Bulls say a second MRI on Tuesday revealed the bruise, something “not apparent” on the first MRI.

“He had a second scan, and something showed up that didn’t show up on the first scan,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen told NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s tough, tough for him, feel bad for him. But we’ll treat him and move on.”

Chandler Hutchison had been filling in Porter’s spot in the rotation, but he is out indefinitely now with sore shins.

Porter, averaging 11.2 points in nine games, has been sidelined since he sprained his left foot at Atlanta on Nov. 6.

The Bulls were 4-10 with three straight losses heading into Wednesday’s game against Detroit.