Sport The NBA MVP will be one of these 12 players
A positive storyline for every NBA team
Everyone has something to look forward to this season. © Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / GettyWhether your team is gunning for the title or building for the future, here's a positive storyline to follow for every NBA franchise in 2019-20.Atlanta HawksNot only do fans get to watch Trae Young and John Collins develop without pressure for another year, but 42-year-old Vince Carter will also be putting a bow on a 22-year Hall of Fame career.Boston CelticsCeltics fans might be ecstatic about the team's lack of storylines entering the season.
Two weeks is a blink and an eternity in basketball. Two weeks ago we were debating whether thewould be a mid-rung playoff team or miss the postseason entirely. . Two weeks ago people had high hopes for the , , and . Those hopes have been dashed. was a leading MVP contender. . The were a mystery. . The were in line for the worst record again. .
A lot has changed in two weeks. Has the MVP outlook changed?
Consider this an early opportunity to reassess what we thought the 2019-20 NBA MVP race would look like and what’s changed about six games into most teams’ season. We’ll discuss some players who were expected to be in the conversation all along and whether they remain in it, and bring up some names few had in the mix initially but who warrant further attention as the season strolls along.
Analyzing the highest-paid player on each NBA team in 2019-20
Analyzing the highest-paid player on each NBA team in 2019-20Now, just nine years later, there are 45 players around the NBA who will earn at least $25,000,000. These days, Stephen Curry is the league’s top earner with a salary of $40,231,758. To put that in perspective, consider that the Sacramento Kings’ entire 2010-11 roster combined to make $45,268,465.
Candidate no more
: will apparently miss at least three months with a broken hand. Between that and the Warriors’ reduced effectiveness, ’s MVP campaign is over.
: had a bad start to the season — out-of-shape, disengaged — and is already at least partially responsible for one meltdown. An MVP case for a idiosyncratic star like Jokic is a fragile thing, and it can’t survive much tumult. It’s still early enough to fix, but Jokic needs strong positive momentum and grassroots support to stay in the conversation and win some votes come April.
: We already have . Kyrie has been really good and the Nets have been iffy. But Kyrie was an ultra-longshot to win MVP, and having something about chemistry come out like that early in the season while the team struggles is a killer.
15 way-too-early observations from the first 15 days of the NBA season
Can we get a proper grasp of how NBA teams will perform over the next six months after just 15 days of action? Absolutely not, but let's roll with what we've learned so far, anyway. Kawhi and LeBron are the league's best If Giannis Antetokounmpo was even a smidgen of a pull-up threat, this title would be his and his alone. But he's not, at least not yet. Enter Kawhi Leonard and a rejuvenated LeBron James Leonard's load is still being carefully managed, and he doesn't go full throttle at the defensive end until he needs to, but the reigning Finals MVP has been making light work of the opposition this season.
: The are weirder than I think any of us imagined, and we all knew they’d be weird. is of course the early scoring leader. Here’s something weird: only one player in the whole league ( ) has more total rebounds (131) than has free throw attempts (95). Harden has made 91 free throws. No. 2 on that list is with 53; No. 3 is with 39. Harden has made 2.3 times as many free throws as the third most frequent free throw maker this season! Just unreal. But yes, he could still win MVP even though he’d be atop no one’s list at this point.
: The Blazers are a mash unit up front and some bad on-court breaks have Portland at 3-3. Dame only has an MVP case if Portland is one of the best teams in the West. We’ve seen the Blazers pull that off in recent years, so it’s still on the table. But they need some healthy bodies in the frontcourt to have a shot.
Hornets pay tribute to Walker in return to Charlotte
As Kemba Walker makes his return to Charlotte, the Hornets posted this amazing tribute video for the guard. #BuzzCity will always have love for @KembaWalker. ✊ pic.twitter.com/sEVk71iFQP— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) November 8, 2019 Fans on hand at the Spectrum Center also gave Walker a standing ovation. Kemba Walker gets a standing ovation in his return to Charlotte pic.twitter.com/G4eDYRehMO— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 8, 2019 The Hornets might not have had a ton of team-wide success with Walker as their best player.
: has been quite good to start the season, but something’s off with the . As with Jokic and , if Utah isn’t one of the best teams in the West and a title contender, Mitchell’s case suffers greatly through no direct fault of his own.
: Giannis has been by far the most effective Buck, and the remain quite good. He remains the de facto Eastern Conference candidate if misses 15 or so games and plays close to all of them, and so long as the Bucks end the season looking like a Finals threat. Giannis is in late-2000s LeBron mode right now. He could probably win MVP every year if he keeps it up.
/ : The Lakers’ two stars suffer from what and did the last few seasons. Can you be the most valuable player in the entire league if we aren’t really, totally sure you’re the most valuable player on your team? But if the Lakers end up as the clear No. 1 team in the league (more plausible than it was a few weeks ago), and one of the superfriends has some eye-popping stats or performances, it could happen for one of them.
Harden bristles at notion of utilizing load management
The controversy surrounding load management is perhaps the biggest talker early this NBA season.Every team and player seems to have an opinion on the load management conundrum amid those developments. The latest player to enter the fray is James Harden, and the Houston Rockets superstar made it clear Friday there is no way he’d ever sit out of a game unless a serious injury prevented him from doing so.
: Kawhi has played a lot and done nothing to dissuade anyone that he is without question of the most talented, productive players in the world. The longer recuperates from shoulder surgery the stronger Kawhi’s early case gets. Because Davis and share credit and PG-13 isn’t around, has an advantage there.
: The Sixers are the best team in the NBA, Embiid is their best player. He’s also in a way a mascot for the entire league. There are few people who dislike him, even though he beefs with everyone in the league. He’s a little like pre-Malice Ron Artest or a post-title . Except one of the best players in the world. If the Sixers keep this up and Embiid plays 70 or so games, MVP just might be his to lose.
: Phoenix makes the playoffs and is definitely getting some fifth-place vote buzz.
: hasn’t even been there for all of the wins, but he has that certain je ne sais quoi that has Miami buzzing. If the win 50 games and come in as a No. 2 or a strong No. 3 seed on par with the Sixers and Bucks, and if is the team leader in points and assists, and if Butler has a few signature performances, and if something goes sideways with and Embiid and there’s no clear candidate from the West, Butler could absolutely get in there.
Steph Curry will need a second surgery, expects to return this season
The star guard updated the media on his status Monday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns: Towns has been among the best players in the NBA this season, and is the biggest reason Minnesota is respectable. His story has been somewhat like that of: an extremely highly regarded young big man who faces team failure and whose reputation suffers unfairly. (Towns also had the Butler experience hurt his rep.) Put him on the right team and you remember what he can do. Is this Minnesota team the right team? Probably not. But you never know, and Towns is positioned to capitalize.
: We keep referring to Luka as a future NBA MVP. Well, April 2020 is in the future, right? This kid is absolutely electric. He has the in a great spot, and while he should share credit with and a well-prepared, high-effort Dallas team, he will get the lion’s share of individual glory in the national conversation because everyone just loves him so much. (And with good reason.) The media loves to be early on the coattails of what’s next, and Luka is next, and the media votes for MVP. I’m buying on this one.
Related slideshow: Best of the 2019-20 NBA season (Provided by imagn)
The Day in Sports: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 .
The Day in Sports: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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