Realistic Winning Choices of Orlando’s 22 Teams

There is only a month left for the restart of the 2020/21 season NBA in Orlando with 22 teams in action. Teams like Los Angeles Lakers The Milwaukee Bucks They are clear favorites to win the title, others like the Dallas Mavericks or Indiana Pacers are almost assured of their presence in the postseason and franchises like Phoenix Suns or Washington Wizards have little choice.

We analyze below the real possibilities of each of them in this expected return. From the favorites to the title to those who have almost no options to enter the playoffs:

Potential champions

– Los Angeles Lakers

– Milwaukee Bucks

– Los Angeles Clippers

Conference Potential Finalists

– Toronto Raptors

– Boston Celtics

– Denver Nuggets

– Houston Rockets

– Philadelphia 76ers

Potential playoff round winners (but not more)

– Dallas Mavericks

– Miami Heat

– Oklahoma City Thunder

– Indiana Pacers

– Utah Jazz

Playoff participants

– Memphis Grizzlies

– Brooklyn Nets

– New Orleans Pelicans

– Orlando Magic

– Portland Trail Blazers

– Sacramento Kings

Teams with no real options for absolutely nothing

– Phoenix Suns

– San Antonio Spurs

– Washington Wizards


Realistic Winning Choices of Orlando’s 22 Teams

There is only a month left for the restart of the 2020/21 season NBA in Orlando with 22 teams in action. Teams like Los Angeles Lakers The Milwaukee Bucks They are clear favorites to win the title, others like the Dallas Mavericks or Indiana Pacers are almost assured of their presence in the postseason and franchises like Phoenix Suns or Washington Wizards have little choice.

We analyze below the real possibilities of each of them in this expected return. From the favorites to the title to those who have almost no options to enter the playoffs:

Potential champions

– Los Angeles Lakers

– Milwaukee Bucks

– Los Angeles Clippers

Conference Potential Finalists

– Toronto Raptors

– Boston Celtics

– Denver Nuggets

– Houston Rockets

– Philadelphia 76ers

Potential playoff round winners (but not more)

– Dallas Mavericks

– Miami Heat

– Oklahoma City Thunder

– Indiana Pacers

– Utah Jazz

Playoff participants

– Memphis Grizzlies

– Brooklyn Nets

– New Orleans Pelicans

– Orlando Magic

– Portland Trail Blazers

– Sacramento Kings

Teams with no real options for absolutely nothing

– Phoenix Suns

– San Antonio Spurs

– Washington Wizards


Laimbeer claims LeBron is the best of all time

The Detroit Pistons’ expivot, Bill Laimbeer, assured that Lebron James -do not Michael Jordan– is the best player of all time.

Laimbeer, who won two consecutive scepters with the Pistons in 1989 and 1990, made the remarks on ESPN First Take.

“I’ve been pretty consistent on this and LeBron is the best player to ever play in the NBA,” said Laimbeer, who starred in multiple battles with those legendary Bulls and company.

“He is 6’8” (2.03 meters), weighs 285 pounds and plays like a small forward. The most important thing is that since he came to the league, he has always put his teammates to play. He knew how to involve the players to win. That was something Jordan had to learn for a long period, “he added.

Laimbeer is currently a Las Vegas Aces coach at the WNBA. He participated in four All-Star Games as a player.

“If you go for championships, obviously Jordan has more. But I think LeBron would be doing what he does today in any generation,” he said.


Jamal Murray’s sex tape apologizes for the sex tape

NBA stars found new ways to entertain themselves while they were quarantined during the coronavirus epidemic.

LeBron James has produced TikTok videos of choreographic dance choreography, Dwyane Wade has participated in shooting competitions with his children – and until yesterday Jamal Murray has surprised fans with the vision of him playing the piano.

But unfortunately for Nuggets’ guard a very different type of video was uploaded to his Instagram late Saturday night and he was forced to apologize.

The 23-year-old said he was the victim of an attack after a video of a man receiving oral sex from a woman was sent to his nearly half a million followers.

With most of America in lockdown, it is absolutely the worst time to make headlines for wrong reasons and Internet pranksters are tearing Murray to pieces today.

Murray’s fiancée Harper Hempel, whom he has been dating since they attended college in Kentucky, canceled his Instagram in the wake of the scandal.


Five things I like and dislike about the NBA, including LeBron’s “narrative” James-Giannis Antetokounmpo MVP

Full disclosure: I didn’t really want to do this column. I was not feeling well. Normal is not feeling well. But my editors encouraged me, saying maybe people might want some normal. We’ll see. I have exchanged a “dislike” for networks because nobody needs negativity right now.

In the end, I saw no harm in trying. If it seems wrong, we won’t do it again. If the tone is turned off, maybe we will pause until the games start again, whenever it is.

Above all, be safe, everyone.

1. Too “narrative”

“Fiction” has become a maddening word in sports talk because it can mean (at least) two very different things. It can be used as a shortcut to a narrative arc: LeBron as an immortal demigod eventually succumbs to age and injury, only to raise doubts about a lion race in winter at the fifth Most Valuable Player award. This is an archetypal literary narrative.

“Fiction” is also sometimes used as a synonym for “wrong line of thinking”: There is a narrative out there (around 2011) that LeBron crumbles in the clutch. What do you think of the narrative that Dirk Nowitzki is soft? Before 2008, there was a narrative in which Kevin Garnett was shaking in the big games.

We should simply miss many of those ideas instead of instilling them with ambiguity by enhancing them as “narratives”. In cases where there is ambiguity – perhaps Garnett’s post-autumn pre-Boston record – too many accept “fiction” as armored black and white without bothering to research the complex underlying truth. (See what KG did in the 2004 playoffs, for example.)

The first use – narration as a narrative arc – is part of the reason why we look at sport. It must be something deeper than a team throwing a round ball into a hole more times than the other team because team 2 played the night before and lost an hour in transit. We need a touch of mythology – heroes and villains, setbacks and triumphs. Even the coldest analytical types admit that these things are part of the sport. Players truly conquer fears and reach themselves deeply for the strength and courage they didn’t know they had.

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Of course, we could give those stories a little more importance than they really do in explaining why a team wins. This is human nature. We need a human agency. Plus, it’s fun.

Like Jalen Rose noticed 10 days ago – and holy hell seems 10 months ago – the danger comes in letting the good-hearted enthusiasm that feeds a literary-style narrative outweigh the facts.

If you think LeBron James is the MVP of the 2019-20 season, however that season ends, then have your discussion using the facts. The word “precious” almost indicates facts that are difficult (and sometimes impossible) to quantify or touch: the impact of a player on the wider culture of his team; his ability to lead a team in turmoil; any role he could have played in bringing up a list assaulted by an injury. All the right game.

But LeBron shouldn’t win the MVP because you like the story of his 2019-20 season better than that of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Both guys were fantastic in very different circumstances. I suspect that part of the support for LeBron’s construction comes from the idea that his game will do it and will result in the postseason in a cleaner way than Antetokounmpo’s, and I don’t think it’s crazy to consider that feeling in your decision – consciously or unconsciously.

But it’s a regular season prize, and the winner should be the best and most valuable guy – and those things are almost the same, but not entirely – in this regular season, not the guy whose story makes you feel warmer and more brazen.

Antetokoumpo’s knee injury opened the race just before COVID-19 abruptly ended the season.

2. Jonas Valanciunas does his job

Valanciunas arrived in Toronto – after the Cavs passed him in the draft because he had planned to play another year in Europe – like a fish out of water. He spoke broken English, so he fought to call for defensive coverages; the Raptors couldn’t play sophisticated zone patterns with him on the floor, coaches recall.

He had a specific type of game – slow, direct, based on back-to-the-basketball brutality – that was about to approach extinction. Kyle Lowry was not shy in pointing out his mistakes.

“Jonas sometimes said, ‘What can I do to get him to stop screaming at me?'” Says Aaron Gray, who has acted in three seasons with the Raptors.

The Toronto guards found it frustrating that Valanciunas, although an eager and aggressive dive man on pick-and-roll, wasn’t explosive enough to jump for lobs, coaches say.

“We are a family, and sometimes the family is hard on each other,” once Valanciunas told me about those early years. Lowry made sure to balance nitpicking with support.

The young Valanciunas ate badly – soda, sauces at will. David Gale, a former Raptors assistant, remembers having dined in a steakhouse in Toronto with a voracious young Valanciunas, and having looked surprised while Valanciunas phoned the pizzeria a few doors down to order two pizzas he could take on the way home – a second dinner.

“It was like Andre the Giant,” says Gale.

Even then, Valanciunas loved work. He devoured the film. He asked questions about opponents’ tendencies. When Tim Duncan baffled him with the counters on top of the pole counters, Valanciunas slipped on the bench and said to Gray, “I don’t know how this guy can be stopped,” recalls Gray.

At each training in the next two weeks, Valanciunas asked Gray and Ed Davis, another great veteran, to play one on one against him – with Valanciunas playing only after the defense, says Gray.

“Everything we’ve worked on has embraced it 100%,” says Bill Bayno, a former Raptors assistant – now with the Pacers – who worked closely with Valanciunas in Toronto.

Except for the occasional ultra-slow-motion 3-pointer, Valanciunas has never evolved into a modern center. Instead, it became the best version of his true self.

That player has thrived in Memphis this season: 15 points per game (in just 26 minutes!) With 59% of the best career shots and the most fat rebounds of his NBA life. Valanciunas ranks 11th in the offensive rebound rate and 6th in defense. In part this is due to positioning; Taylor Jenkins planted Valanciunas deep into the paint. Valanciunas is on average closer to the basket when an opponent’s shot increases than any other player in the league, according to Second Spectrum tracking data.

Valanciunas combines this territorial advantage with some of the league’s baddest boxouts.

Valanciunas does not offer much schematic defense flexibility. He won’t take Damian Lillard’s guys over the arch on the pick-and-roll; Grizzlies depend on whether their guards stand side by side with such players around choices.

But Valanciunas has learned to play his style quite well. He is more intelligent at reading angles and moving his feet. Use its length well around the edge.

He is in much better condition than when he was twenty. This process began in the summer of 2014, when Masai Ujiri, president of Toronto’s basketball operations, challenged Valanciunas to get back in shape. He spent the summer training twice a day with Gale in Los Angeles. He gave up junk food.

Gale and Valanciunas remember having celebrated a summer spent in Nobu. Sitting outside at sunset, Valanciunas declared that he wanted edamame. Valanciunas decided to treat himself: he would order a beer with every order of edamame. “I think we had five orders of edamame,” says Gale, laughing. Remember that the bill was around $ 600.

Valanciunas had earned it. He maintained a healthy diet and work ethic. On the right night, he can keep the offense of Memphis afloat. It is not super efficient against behemoths that can almost match its size. It is still below average as a passerby when help arrives, although it has improved.

But if you start an undersized center against him, Valanciunas can beast. Pass and blush the kids. He can use his left hand after working almost with one hand in the early part of his career.

It was easy to forget Valanciunas after Toronto swapped him after last season’s deadline. The Raptors, with Marc Gasol in place of Valanciunas, won the title. Valanciunas made a mistake in a reconstruction team in a small market.

It did fit anyway. The pairings between great men with Valanciunas with one of Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke or Solomon Hill have all proved feasible. The Valanciunas / Clarke duo was a big winner.

Memphis was one of the happiest stories in the league before this horrible virus stopped the league. Most of the attention was rightly paid to their young stars, especially the brave and charismatic Ja Morant. But Valanciunas was part of it. His old coaches and teammates watched and smiled.

“He’s like a son to me,” Bayno once told me.

3. Cavs get big and funky

It seemed like a stroke of luck when a triple lineup of Larry Nance Jr., Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson led the Cavaliers to a massive fourth quarter return against Miami on February 24th. JB Bickerstaff tried something crazy before the waste time, and stumbled on a win. We would never see him again.

The NBA announced that due to the current coronavirus pandemic, the 2019-20 season would be suspended on March 12th.

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Mistaken! Bickerstaff went on busting with injured Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. It worked! The Nance / Love / Thompson and Nance / Love / Andre Drummond trios are a combined plus-44 of over 70 minutes total!

Nance is the nominal little striker and is fast enough to defend some wings; oversaw DeMar DeRozan for much of Cleveland’s extraordinary March 8 victory against San Antonio. Both Drummond and Thompson can attack forcefully forward if Bickerstaff wants love on slower opponent centers.

Nance is turning 35% from the bottom, and has grossed more than 3 seconds this season – 56 – than he has done in his entire previous career. Between Love and this redone Nance, Cleveland’s gigantour formations have (had? How are we doing?) Enough shots to get away with it.

What really makes them go is a cunning inner passage. If you like old-school transitions from large to large – fast windings and short distances – the large triple Cavs were (are they?) A pleasure.

Nance and Love are good, smart passersby. Thompson and Drummond are underestimated in this regard; Drummond averaged about four dimes per game in 2017-18 before the Pistons acquired Blake Griffin, a much better passerby who usurped Drummond’s role as an elbow-to-elbow.

This is not a genius, a coaching against wheat. Given recent injuries, it is really only Bickerstaff who plays as many of his best players as possible together. But it’s a buzz, and it’s a nice wrinkle: one of the reasons the Cavs went well 4-6 after the All-Star break.

4. Sigh. Jazz has found a bench

One of the joys of the long season is watching each team go through its own jagged and unpredictable self-discovery process. Sometimes there is no trial: a team starts badly and remains the same type of evil. Sometimes the process is fluid and intentional: a team makes an exchange to meet a certain need, it works and the team is better exactly in the way it sought.

From Monday to Friday, guest Mina Kimes offers you a glimpse into the most interesting ESPN stories, told by the best journalists and insiders on the planet. Listen

Sometimes the process is more casual, and it’s the most fun when that semi-randomness leads to a happy ending.

Namely: in the weeks leading up to the shutdown of the season and after many unsuccessful attempts, Jazz seemed to have found a functioning bench. Remember: despite all the (justified) handshakes about Mike Conley’s adaptability to Utah’s top five – and Joe Ingles’ relegation – first season Jazz really lost games every time two or more benches played together. Jeff Green did not adapt. Maybe even for the first time in his career, Ed Davis didn’t. Dante Exum stopped. Emmanuel Mudiay also did it after a rather promising first stretch.

Utah’s first step in tackling this was swapping Exum (and two second round choices) with Jordan Clarkson, a bench machine gun prototype who silently improved his choice of shots and passed the second half of last season at Cleveland.

This alone did not lock the team into position. He left Utah with a lot of kids – maybe too many – who needed the ball. Around Christmas, Utah gave up Green to free up minutes of backup for Georges Niang and handed over the role of Davis’s backup center to Tony Bradley.

Utah soared with wounded Conley, and then went through several wild up and down cycles alternating Conley from starter to reserve before reinstalling it as a permanent appetizer – and relegating Ingles.

In March, they seemed to land on the right bench group. Utah beat opponents nine points per 100 possessions in 362 minutes with Niang and Bradley on the floor, for The hybrid range of Conley, Clarkson, Ingles, Niang and Bradley – a mainstay in the weeks leading up to the end of the season – is over-45 in 78 minutes.

Playing with three ball managers makes life easier for the big names in Utah. Niang can recover 3 seconds; nearly 70% of his shots come from deep in this season, compared to 56% a year ago, and he is a shooter on the ground who can speed up his release under duress.

Bradley is a dangerous lob-catcher with a soft touch on floats and half hooks. It bounced off an absurd 19.3% of Utah’s near misses while on the ground, the highest offensive rebound rate among all spin players – and yet another benefit of playing with so many ball managers who draw help around the circle. (Only five players have ever reached 19% in an entire season: Moses Malone, Dennis Rodman, Jeff Foster, Jayson Williams and Danny Fortson.)

Bradley assumed the role of defender in the role of defense. It’s not Rudy Gobert, but he improved his timing by taking on challenges.

Jazz never peaked during a sparshot 64 game. They may not have had it in the past 18 years, and even at that theoretical limit they would have been unfavorable – and probably the big ones – against both teams in Los Angeles.

But they would have been dangerous and interesting, and it stinks at the level of pure basketball that we won’t see Utah completing its evolution on the natural timeline of the NBA.

5. An old-fashioned ass pass

This is one of the funniest and funniest basketball games:

Each inbounder should practice passing football. Anecdotally, it appears to have a huge success rate. We need advanced tracking data on this. Who are the best butt passers? Is it better to be taller or shorter? What, umm, types of butts make targets more effective? Want a fastball rebound or some cushioning? Second Spectrum wizards must make it.


What if the NBA season is already over? | Bleacher report

We don’t know anything.

That point cannot be stressed enough. We. Know. Nothing.

We do not know when the COVID-19 pandemic will peak, or when it will pass or how many will die.

We do not know when bars, restaurants and schools will reopen or when the “social distancing” will disappear in a strange, bizarre memory.

We don’t know when life will return to normal.

So we can’t predict when the NBA will resume playing. Or where those games will be played. Or if fans will be admitted to the stands. Or if there is enough time to finish the regular season and play a full season before the league has to start again in the fall. Or if The next the season could also be shortened. Or when it might start.

We don’t know anything.

Some of the league’s brightest minds are intensively drawing up contingency contingency plans and contingencies, but it’s very, very, too early to know what’s realistic or what’s likely.

Will the NBA still hold the draft lottery on May 19? Will the envelopes be torn in an empty ballroom? Or will the NBA abandon that invention made for TV and simply broadcast the pingpong draw?

Oh, and while we’re here: how will the probabilities be set? Based on the rankings, how are they now? Or is the whole thing put off until (and if) they play for the rest of the season?

Who knows? (Spoiler: none.)

Or, imagine this: an NBA draft without the editors. No slick seed. No accessories for ritual hats. No green room full of nervous parents with tearful eyes. Only Commissioner Adam Silver, only on the podium.

Or maybe the event takes place as usual, only with the bumps of the elbow that replace the traditional handshake of the commish.

Possible? We do not know. No one knows.

Everything and everything is on the table. And yes, this includes canceling the rest of the 2019-2020 season.

“Of course it’s possible,” Silver conceded Thursday Within the NBA.

Stressing the point: Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cancellation or referral recommended all events with 50 or more people for the eight weeks later. It would take us around May 10th.

Could the NBA then start again and squeeze in each team’s remaining regular season games? Or would we jump to the playoffs? If the season never starts again, will the NBA still distribute post-season prizes?

What about the free agency? Summer championship?

A big shrug emoji.

Pascal Siakam and The Raptors would retain their status as NBA champions if the season were lost, but would not have a chance to defend their title.

Pascal Siakam and The Raptors would retain their status as NBA champions if the season were lost, but would not have a chance to defend their title.Adam Pantozzi / Getty Images

But since the cancellation of the seasona first in the history of the NBAit’s now in the realm of possibilities, it’s time to meditate on all the strange consequences, like …

The Toronto Raptors would enjoy a two-year reign as reigning champions. But for them (for now) they would have been denied the opportunity to repeat, with Pascal Siakam as the new center.

The Lakers would have been denied the first chance of getting a title since 2010.

LeBron James could lose his last, best chance of winning another championship or another MVP award. He turns 36 in December. He recorded 58,000 minutes. How long can he play at the superstar level?

The Milwaukee Bucks would have had their best season in half a century torn away. Giannis Antetokounmpo would like the hopes on the title to be disappointedand with a free agency looming in 2021. If his future in Milwaukee depended on Bucks being worthy of the title, what would a lost season be likeand all the uncertainties connected to it – influence your decision? Have they proven enough to convince him?

If the season is over, the prize race would be too. So Antetokounmpo would almost certainly repeat itself as an MVP (on James, who needed those last 19 games to overcome it). And Ja Morant would have been a staple to win the Rookie of the Year (on Zion Williamson, who played only 19 games).

Williamson would have lost the chance to race in eighth seed with New Orleans. Morant, whose Mizzhis Grizzlies are frozen in eighth place, would be denied his debut in the playoffs.

Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis would do the same.

The Los Angeles Clippers would miss their first real hit in a final. Kawhi Leonard’s quest to be the first player to lead three franchise series would have been delayed. And the Clippers’ window to win with Leonard and Paul George, before they joined the free agency, would have gone down to a year.

If the season is over, the debate between L.A. and the. will remain unstable.

We will never know to what extent small Houston Rockets missiles could bring their bold experiment. And Mike D’Antoni may have already coached his last game of Rockets.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will not show what they learned from their broken heart last spring, or whether it is worth continuing the collaboration between Embiid and Simmons in Philly.

We won’t see if Chris Paul can take the Oklahoma City Thunder where Russell Westbrook couldn’t in the post-KD erain the second round. Or if a healthy Jusuf Nurkic can rally the Portland Trail Blazers to a playoff spot.

We will be denied a month of Steph Curry magic after having already been robbed of four months of Steph Curry magic.

New York fans will miss another eight nights singing “Sell. The. Team.”

If the season is over, it could also be Gregg Popovich’s legendary race with the San Antonio Spurs. Insiders considered it a 50-50 bet to be withdrawn before the league closed. (Or maybe the truncated season motivates him to come back?)

Vince Carter, still drenched at 43, would finally be gone forever. Carmelo Anthony, who turns 36 in Mayand whose career appeared before Portland threw him a lifelineit could also be. The same goes for Udonis Haslem (39), Kyle Korver (39) and Tyson Chandler (37).

Vince Carter hit three pointers late in the Hawks' last game before the NBA suspended his season, a game that could end up being the last of Carter's career.

Vince Carter hit three pointers late in the Hawks’ last game before the NBA suspended his season, a game that could end up being the last of Carter’s career.Scott Cunningham / Getty Images

If the season is over, every free-agent-to-star will soon think about his next move. Brandon Ingram may already be a former pelican, Fred VanVleet an ex bird of prey, Gordon Hayward an ex Celtic, Montrezl Harrell an ex-cutter, Danilo Gallinari an ex-thunder and Joe Harris an ex-net.

Of course, in an NBA economy devastated by incalculable revenue losses, perhaps the market isn’t as frothy.

If the season is over, end with James Harden as scoring champion (34.4 points per game) for the third consecutive year; LeBron as assistant leader (10.6 per game) for the first time in his career; Andre Drummond as bouncing champion (15.2 per game) for the third consecutive year and Hassan Whiteside as block leader (3.1 per game). Mitchell Robinson would end up with the highest goal rate in NBA history (.742).

And no playoffs would mean losing two months of buzzers, grudges and Game 7, along with all those wonderful “Gone Fishin ‘” collages featuring TNT guys.

So maybe we will need it even before the season startswith enough space for 450 players, 30 coaches, 70 referees and a few million melancholy fans. Yes, we will need a bigger boat.

Howard Beck, a senior writer for Bleacher Report, has been covering the NBA full-time since 1997, including seven years on the Laker joke for the Los Angeles Daily News and nine years as a staff writer for the New York Times. Its coverage was honored by APSE in 2016 and 2017 and by the Professional Basketball Writers Association in 2018.

Beck also hosts the Full 48 podcast, available on iTunes.

Follow him on Twitter, @HowardBeck.

Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry returns to The Full 48 with Howard Beck to discuss the NBA’s suspension due to the coronavirus, how he found out that Rudy Gobert tested positive and what the regular season could look like, the playoffs and the finals if and when the ban is lifted. He also talks about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s recent injury and his future.


Lakers’ LeBron James is driven to be the best in the world, not for the MVP award

EL SEGUNDO, California – LeBron James has been named NBA MVP four times during his first 16 seasons in the league; however, the Los Angeles superstar Lakers says she never decided to acquire a bunch of Maurice Podoloff trophies.

“He never motivated me,” said James on the eve of the Lakers’ matchup with MVP in charge Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee Bucks. “The MVP of the regular season never motivated me. Being the best – being the best ever to play the game motivated me and allowed me to be in the MVP championship a few times.

“But I never entered the season saying” OK, the MVP championship is what I want to be. “I went into the season saying” OK, I want to be the MVP of this team; I want to be the best player in the world, “and how I get closer to my game every day, how I take care of my body every day has led to this [award]”.

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James’s four MVPs tie him up Wilt Chamberlain for the fourth in the history of the league, dragging Michael Jordan and Bill Russell (five) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six).

If James, 35, had won the award this season, he would have become the oldest MVP in the league since Karl Malone in 1998-99. He averaged 25.4 points, 10.7 league assists and 7.8 rebounds per game in his 17th season. If it depended on his Lakers brothers, the “L-e-B …” on his name would already be engraved on this season’s trophy.

“I don’t think the body of work he has done for our team is comparable to anyone else,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “A lot of great performances all year round with other players, so I don’t want to take anything away from anyone else, but it’s amazing what it does. What it means for us on both sides of the ball, defensive IQ and how it affects the game with his strength, athletics, marking the way he does it, but also leading the league in assists. And the most important statistic is how much we are winning.

“So, for me, it’s hers.”

Calling Antetokounmpo’s season great is an understatement by all standards. He averaged 29.6 career points with 54.8% shots, 13.8 career rebounds (fourth in the league) and 5.8 assists.

And as impressive as the Lakers (47-13) leaders of the Western Conference were, the Bucks (53-9) were the best in the league.

If Antetokounmpo were to win the award again, he would be the first consecutive recipient after Stephen Curry of the Golden State in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis says James’s on-off numbers show his true worth. There’s a differential of over 11.4 points when James is playing for the Lakers compared to when he’s on the bench, according to the Cleaning the Glass website.

“Guys you see when LeBron is on the ground, how our team works,” said Davis. “In a way, we fight a bit with him off the pitch. And I think it’s about who is most valuable to their team. And for me, being around there all season, my vote goes to LeBron.”

Vogel said that all the intangibles that James brings to the franchise push his candidacy to the top, especially his leadership skills.

When asked to describe how he knows he is on track to achieve his stated goal of becoming the best player in the world, he also indicated leadership.

“I think they are the games I play, the leadership, the way my teammates feed my presence and feed my word. It is much more than, for me, being the best player in the world than going out and do it on the plane, “said James. “I think leadership has a lot to do with this. Having a command. Feeling responsible. Allowing others to hold you accountable. So I have many levels to try to be the best player in the world. It’s not just on the basketball side.” .

Being held accountable also involves hiring guffs from his teammates.

“The other day he made a comment during the game which is a machine. He doesn’t like to quit games because he is a robot. As soon as he said it, the next game had the little thing ‘Shaqtin’ A Fool ‘”, Davis said, referring to when James dribbled the ball in place of passing it late in the Lakers’ victory over the New Orleans pelicans on Sunday, resulting in a turnover.

“It was a little malfunction right there. Yes, but it does the necessary things to give itself the title of being the best in the world.”

When asked to describe the challenge of stopping Antetokounmpo, James indicated the structure of the team around him.

“I think a lot of people misunderstand how great Giannis is, it’s how they put that team together,” said James. “They put together that team around him that fits his attributes perfectly. It allows him to get space because they keep so many shooters on the floor at the same time. It allows him to go downhill because you have to stop him at the point of attack and you also have to go out by the chosen shooters. “

Antetokounmpo looked like the same shooter chosen in Bucks’ 111-104 victory over the Lakers on December 19, while shooting 5-by-8 from 3. Vogel said his team will have to respect Antetokounmpo on the perimeter on Friday.

“It’s pretty much a kind of ‘raise your hand’,” said Vogel. “It’s kind of a light suggestion. If a guy is on the other team, he’s shooting the ball, maybe raising his hand.”


Anthony Davis of the Lakers earns raves from LeBron James after a dominant night

LOS ANGELES – On Monday, during an intimate meeting of season ticket holders, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss shared the excitement she feels for her team of breaking the six-year post-season drought next month , thanks in large part to their off-season trade with New Orleans pelicans for the next big Lakers man.

“To get an exceptional talent like Anthony Davis, you have to give up something exceptional,” said Buss. “But having Anthony Davis as Laker is really … it’s even more impressive than I ever thought. And therefore, what we have is exciting.”

One night later, Davis played one of his best games since joining purple and gold, filling the box score with 37 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocks in a 120- win. 107 out of the 76ers in Philadelphia.

“AD was going crazy,” said LeBron James. “It was fun.”

“I think you’ve seen Anthony Davis a little different throughout the season than what we saw in his previous stopover in New Orleans,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel after Tuesday’s record-breaking win of the Western Conference in his team at 47-13. “I don’t know if it’s different today than most of the season. Ultimately, I think we’ll see it when we get to the playoffs.”

The playoffs are still more than five weeks away, allowing plenty of time for tuning, but Davis has shown the Sixers that he has a switch that can be turned that turns him from a great man to a beast.

After starting the game 2-by-7 from the field, he caught fire, scoring 18 points with the 7-for-7 shot in the second quarter alone. He ended 13 against 19, including a score of 4 out of 5 from 3, but it was his defense that Davis wanted to talk about.

“It started with the defensive end, going out and only being hungry on the defensive and making the right play,” said Davis, who teammates and coaching staff have touted as NBA defender of the year for months. “And then this leads to our offense; and once a guy put it into action, it was somehow contagious and we all just made him offended. But it started with our stops.”

For James, his recognition of Davis’ potential value for the franchise began long before Buss’s comments. After publicly discussing with ESPN in December 2018 what a trade would mean for Davis for L.A., James now sees his teammate targeted on his side every game.

“That’s all I expected and more,” said James. “Obviously, that’s why I wanted it here. When you get a generational talent like that and you have the opportunity to take it, you just try to do everything you can to get it.

“I gave my opinion on what I thought could bring to this franchise. I gave my opinions on the player – but not only on the player, on the person. Hopefully they took my advice to heart. And of course, in the end, they made the decision to do what we did in the off-season. It’s no surprise to me. “

“I already knew how amazing the boy is,” continued James. “He was 50 years old [points] in the All-Star game. You know, 30, 20, 40 and 20 years old when he was with the pelicans and he was doing the things he was doing at that size, there aren’t too many guys who have done it in this league. “

Rajon Rondo, who teamed up with Davis in New Orleans in 2017-18, said he was used to seeing Davis leave as he did against the Sixers. THERE. canceled an initial 13 point deficit against a Philadelphia team that was playing without Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson thanks to a 15-2 run fueled by Davis to finish the first half.

“Typical AD show,” said Rondo. “It makes it seem so effortless. Very easily he can only put the ball in the paint and score against anyone. When he hits 3 like he did tonight, the closures become easier. He is able to reach the edge. He made it a little nice moves, some guards move tonight. It’s fun to watch and play with. “

James, who finished with 22 points, 14 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks, continued his well-deserved MVP campaign in his 17th season.

Vogel has credited James for being instrumental in Davis’ growth in terms of preparation and mental endurance this season.

But Dwight Howard claimed that the pupil had an equally big impact on the mentor.

“Well, AD has had an effect on LeBron,” said Howard. “I think about the way it sounds, now LeBron is saying,” I have to increase my level of play because AD, my running mate, is there every night. “So I think he created LeBron, gave him a new life. “


LeBron James praises Zion Williamson after the Lakers have passed the pelicans

NEW ORLEANS – The Los Angeles Lakers needed every piece of LeBron James’s 34 double double points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds to avoid Zion Williamson’s 35 best career points in Los Angeles’ 122-114 victory to sweep the seasonal series against the pelicans of New Orleans.

After it was over, James and Williamson met for a mid-field hug, with the 35-year-old in his 17th season giving some words of encouragement to the 19-year-old who stormed the NBA in his beginner season.

After sharing his message with Williamson, James had another message for anyone who chose to criticize his decision to embrace an emerging competitor who could very well have reviewed in the first round of the playoffs.

2 Related

“Anyone who says, ‘LeBron, why would he do it while he’s playing? It’s a sign of weakness … He’s a friend-buddy with the guys he’s going against.’ Tell them to kiss my ass, “said James to end his post game locker room session. “Okay? Even with a smile. I appreciate it.”

James and Williamson developed fans at many moments to appreciate in an encore that managed to overcome what had already been a strong matchup between the two stars earlier in the week, when James scored 40 points in the season to get the best from a 29-point effort from Williamson to the Staples Center.

The two went back and forth at the end of the first half, with James throwing a 35-foot 3-pointer to tie the score to 61 with 33.4 seconds remaining in the second quarter immediately after a powerful Williamson dunk that shook the edge and agitated the Smoothie King Center.

“Zion made a hell of a move just before it involved the crowd,” said James. “I looked at the clock and saw that we had a great 2-for-1 opportunity. And nine out of 10 times, maybe 10 out of 10 times, many kids aren’t going to challenge that shot because they think I’m doing it. shooting from too far. So I knew I would have some space. I worked on it before the game and I was able to shoot it down. “

A 2 for 1 opportunity occurs at the end of a quarter with typically less than 40 seconds remaining when a team will seek a quick shot at the start of the shooting range, knowing that they will get another possession before the quarter is even if the the other team uses all 24 seconds of possession.

“He only has a knack for hitting those types of shots,” said Kyle Kuzma, who was L.A.’s second top scorer. with 20 points while ex pelican Anthony Davis was left out due to tension in his right knee. “Especially deep blows. Big bucket before the middle.”

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James’ shot looked like it was 40 feet out and should have counted as a 4-pointer.

“He has occasionally gained the freedom to make that kind of punch,” said Vogel. “We know it can hit them.”

James also gained his team’s confidence in end-of-game situations. He scored 13 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, with three assists, while he separated the New Orleans schemes into a final frame that L.A. won 29-19.

He put the game on the ice with a 3-pointer on the right wing with 2:27 remaining on Williamson who raised the Lakers by five, and marched on the pitch with his tongue out enjoying the moment.

“I mean, that’s what it is,” said Williamson. “He’s an incredible player. Respect when he’s due. He hit a big blow that helped them seal the game.”

Pelican coach Alvin Gentry went even further with his praise.

“I’m just amazed that they talk about someone other than him for MVP,” said Gentry. “It’s what he does. Every team he has been to, every team he has gone to has a chance to win the championship. For me, I’m not sure what the definition of MVP is, but it makes everyone better in his team, he makes difficult for anyone to interpret. “

Williamson became the first teenager in the history of the league with two 25-point efforts against the Lakers franchise, and James improved L.A.’s record. to 19-0 this season when he scored over 30 points.

The N. 1 chosen by Duke did not want to reveal all the previous n. 1 chosen by St. Vincent-St. Mary High School said to him.

“It definitely means something, because he’s been doing it for 17 years and his resume speaks for itself. So, so to speak, he has something,” said Williamson. “That’s all I can say about it.”

James, however, just like he did the night before after playing against Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant phenomenon, unrolled compliment after compliment for Williamson.

“You really have to be on the floor to really feel the strength and speed with which it sounds,” said James. “It’s hell of a beginner’s lesson, I tell you. These guys are special.”

It’s a practice that James doesn’t plan to stop soon.

“It is my obligation and it is my duty to continue to broadcast the game to the guys who come after me,” said James. “It’s just my responsibility. Nobody told me to do it. I just feel it is my responsibility to leave the game in a better place than when I had it.

“And when you see the class of kids in our league right now – like I said Ja last night, you mentioned Zion tonight, see Trae Young, see Luka Doncic, see Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell – see all these guys, these young guys. The championship is in a great place, and if I can give my wisdom and my game and pass it on, it doesn’t matter while I’m playing or after I’m playing, I feel it’s my job. Because the game it has given me so much since I started playing when i was 8. So it’s my responsibility. “