• It’s that time of the year again where players and coaches are getting hardware to show off and add to their legacies. Ballots are already finished and the association is releasing awards so let me take you through my votes:

    MVP: The Race for Second Place

    1. Stephen Curry
    2. LeBron James
    3. Kawhi Leonard
    4. Chris Paul
    5. Kevin Durant

    Let’s get the easy one out of the way: Stephen Curry was the most dominant player this year and took headlines nearly every week. Here are a couple of the feats he recorded this season:

    Best player on 73-win team

    1st player to make over 300 and 400 threes

    1st player with 50-40-90 and 30 PPG

    8th best PER in a season (31.56)

    5th player to lead the NBA in total steals in back-to-back seasons

    There isn’t much of a discussion around this award.

    The real discussion is around who gets second place. Personally, I think that coaching should factor into who deserves the award. Gregg Popovich finds ways to put his players in a position to succeed. LeBron James takes on more responsibility than just about any other NBA player does today. He is constantly coaching, making teammates better and trying to get everyone involved in the offense. He recognizes when people need touches and when it is time for him to take over. Over the last few months of the season, James went into playoff mode and showed the NBA why he is consistently one of the greatest forces we have ever seen. Surprisingly, LeBron also played more games than Kawhi Leonard this season.

    Chris Paul deserves to be fourth on this list because he took on more responsibility from December 26th to March 31st than just about anyone in the NBA. During that stretch, the Clippers were 30-15 with the 6th-highest win percentage in the league.

    The last spot was a tough one because Russell Westbrook deserves a look as well. He recorded the most triple-doubles in a season since the times when Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson would record them every couple of games. The analytics guy inside of me sees what Kevin Durant did this season and sees that he had the second-best PER and thinks that there is no way that he doesn’t make the top-5.

    Others receiving consideration: Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry, Damian Lillard

    Rookie of the Year: The KAT is out of the Bag

    1. Karl-Anthony Towns
    2. Kristaps Porzingis
    3. Nikola Jokic
    4. Devin Booker
    5. Justise Winslow

    I have documented my passion for Karl-Anthony Towns multiple times this season. He is a special player and the Minnesota Timberwolves are lucky to have him. His season has been up there with the great rookie seasons of Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon. There is no question that he is the unanimous Rookie of the Year.

    The rest of the field is not as easy. I struggled with Nikola Jokic vs. Kristaps Porzingis but Porzingis carried a larger load for more of the season than Jokic. Both are phenomenal players who have all-star potential in this league.

    After that, it was tough to leave Jahlil Okafor off, but I wanted to reward the guys who played most of the season. Devin Booker looks like the next Klay Thompson with more playmaking ability offensively. Booker was asked to carry the load for a long stretch this season when Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight suffered injuries. He took it in stride and averaged 3.5 assists from the time that he recorded his first start to the end of the season. Unlike Thompson, he still has a ways to go defensively.

    Justise Winslow didn’t do anything eye-popping on the stat sheet but he was an excellent defender and contributor for the third seed in the East. He has a lot of untapped potential and I expect him to take a big leap next season.

    Others receiving consideration: Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell, Myles Turner, Emmanuel Mudiay

Fantasy News

  • Robert Covington
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington (right knee bone bruise) will reportedly be "good to go" for the start of training camp in October.

    Well, this is good news that we didn't hope we would need. Covington played 35 games last year and couldn't get over the bone bruise injury that kept him out for a majority of the year. We expected him to be ready to go, and the fact that we're even discussing this is slightly less than ideal.

    Source: Dane Moore on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Team USA has named Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Donovan Mitchell as captains for the FIBA World Cup.

    Congratulations to Mitchell, Walker and Smart on the tremendous honor of being named captains for the USA men's team. This won't have any impact on their upcoming fantasy seasons, but it is a major accomplishment nonetheless. Team USA has an exhibition rematch against Team Australia on Saturday.

    Source: Boston.com Celtics News on Twitter

  • Isaiah Canaan
    PG, International

    Isaiah Canaan has signed a contract with the Shangdong Heroes of the Chinese Basketball Association.

    The veteran journeyman played for the Suns, Wolves and Bucks last season, appearing in 30 games total. Canaan will be looking at a more prominent role and payday overseas as he attempts to build his value back up before trying to latch on to a team towards the end of the year. Canaan is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Zhang Duo on Twitter

  • Patty Mills
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Patty Mills put up 19 points, three assists, two steals, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's international exhibition between Team Australia and Team USA.

    The Boomers figure to be one of the chief threats to the Americans in the World Cup and put forth a competitive effort in today's exhibition. Mills has typically been a steady, late-round fantasy option for deep-league play but that may change this season as the Spurs will need to mix in both Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Chris Goulding tied for the team lead in points, also scoring 19 while hitting four 3-pointers in 22 minutes off the bench.

  • Myles Turner
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Myles Turner put up 15 points and 14 rebounds in Thursday's exhibition win over Team Australia, shooting 6-of-8 from the floor with a 3-pointer.

    Turner didn't get any blocks but we know that last year's league-leader can rack those up in a hurry, whether he's getting them in international competition or not. Look for another early-middle round season out of the talented big man. Kemba Walker led Team USA with 23 points in the 102-86 win.

  • Trevon Bluiett
    PF, Utah Jazz

    Trevon Bluiett and Juwan Morgan sign with the Jazz in the hopes of one day playing in an NBA game.

    Bluiett was on a two-way contract with the Pelicans last season while Juwan Morgan played for the Jazz in the 2019 Summer League. They will both compete for a roster spot in training camp but neither is a guarantee to make the final roster. They both have yet to see the court in an NBA game and can be ignored from a fantasy perspective until that day comes.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter

  • Zach Collins
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Zach Collins (ankle) began daily contact workouts on Monday and is on pace to head into training camp fully healthy.

    Collins is heading into what could be a breakout season as he is likely to start at the power forward position. In the 2019 playoffs, the Gonzaga product blocked a shot in 11 of the 16 games including three games in which he blocked three, four and five respectively. Collins has averaged around 33% from distance throughout his career which is exactly what he shot in the postseason (7-21). If he is able to improve from long range and plays starters minutes, Collins is a can't-miss player. It's far from a guarantee though as the 21-year-old has never finished with standard-league value. It does seem like Collins will be ready for training camp barring a major setback.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Cory Joseph
    PG, Sacramento Kings

    Nick Nurse said that reports of Cory Joseph missing the FIBA World Cup are “incorrect”.

    Nurse added that he spoke to Joseph on Wednesday and that the guard has his flights booked to China. Joseph was in Canada’s camp at home earlier this month, but did not make the trip to Australia and has missed the past four exhibition games. The situation has become a little bit murky but Canada Basketball keeps holding out hope that Joseph will rejoin the team before they depart for China, which doesn’t happen until Monday.

    Source: John Casey on Twitter

  • Tyronn Lue
    PG, Los Angeles Clippers

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting former Cavs championship-winning coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to join the Clippers as their top assistant coach to Doc Rivers.

    The Lakers and Clippers rivalry continues to heat up. Lue was very close to a deal with the Lakers in May to become their head coach, but the sides couldn’t reach an agreement. Lue now joins Kawhi Leonard as another person to spurn the Lakers this offseason.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • PJ Tucker
    SF, Houston Rockets

    P.J. Tucker says he is optimistic about signing a contract extension soon.

    The 34-year-old 3-and-D wing hopes to extend his deal with the Rockets, but a potential extension wouldn't begin until his age-36 season. Houston has him under contract for two more seasons at this point, so they may not be motivated enough to get something done this offseason. However, a maximum Tucker extension would only have him in the $10 million per year range. Even as a 37-year-old, that could be a great deal if he can keep up his current production. Tucker remains a sneaky source of threes and steals late in fantasy drafts or off the wire.

    Source: Kurt Helin on Twitter