• 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

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Miami Heat

    Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.

    Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Zach LaVine
    SG, Chicago Bulls

    K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.

    The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Luka Doncic
    PG-SF, Dallas Mavericks

    Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.

    This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    On Tuesday afternoon, AmicoHoops reported (via Twitter) that an unidentified NBA GM told them the league has seriously discussed resuming the current NBA season on Wednesday, July 22.

    Nothing has been officially announced, by any means, and this is the first we've heard of specific target date(s) from anyone. It's looking like the continuation of the season will occur in Orlando at Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, which has accommodations for at least some of what the NBA has planned for a resuming activity. As we have relayed numerous times recently, the next week or two seem to be a likely window for some decisions from Adam Silver and Co. at the NBA league office to start to come down. Stay tuned, hoops fans.

    Source: AmicoHoops on Twitter

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard announced on Tuesday evening that, in the event of a continuation of the NBA season, he would not be participating if the Blazers are scheduled to play 'meaningless games' with no shot at making the playoffs.

    "If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating," Lillard told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday morning. It's hard to blame him, as it is quite easy to see the potential situation from his point of view. There have been countless scenarios tossed around by the league office during the pandemic period, but nothing is set in stone so far. Lillard, for his part, is only interested in returning to action if there exists a legitimate shot for his Blazers to reach the NBA Finals. Fair enough.

    Source: Yahoo! Sports

  • Joel Embiid
    C, Philadelphia Sixers

    The Sixers, who have their practice facility located in nearby Camden, NJ, will allow voluntary player workouts at the facility beginning on Wednesday, raising the number of NBA teams who have been able to do so to 22.

    The Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, Mavericks, Spurs and Warriors are the final teams remaining who are unable to return to their practice facilities. The NBA seems to be inching ever so close to, at the very least, announcing a plan for a continuation of the current season. This next week or two should be very eventful on that front.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Clint Capela
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    Hawks GM Travis Schlenk indicated on Tuesday that Clint Capela (right heel, plantar fasciitis) could very well play in the event of an NBA restart.

    "Clint [Capela] says he's feeling better, and there's a possibility that we can get him back on the court," Schlenk said in a phone interview with ESPN. "Practicing and playing five games would be valuable to us." Capela has yet to see the floor for the Hawks since he was acquired at the deadline from the Rockets, and one would have to surmise that he would be under a heavy minutes restriction if the league resumes and if the Hawks deem him healthy enough to give it a go. Still two big "ifs," but this is obviously positive news for the Hawks and potentially for fantasy owners who have managed to stash Capela in an injury slot this long.

    Source: ESPN.com

  • Mohamed Bamba
    C, Orlando Magic

    Magic center Mo Bamba said on Tuesday that he's spent the quarantine period bulking up, self-proclaiming that he's put on close to 30 pounds of muscle.

    Bamba said of his time off, ""I’ve worked my tail off during this quarantine. This is going to sound weird, but I put on probably about 28 pounds since quarantine (started)." He laughed and added that only about 2.5 percent of the weight he's put on is body fat. Bamba, along with many other NBA players, "can’t wait to get back out there and work" which is a great sign for the Magic and their fans. Jonathan Isaac is becoming more and more of a potential option for the team when/if the season is resumed as the days pass, so his presence would limit Bamba's chances on the offensive end of the floor. The team has yet to decide whether or not they want to play Isaac at all the rest of the season, regardless of the rumblings about a restart from the league office. However, this bulk-up on Bamba's part is nonetheless pretty impressive and is certainly noteworthy.

    Source: NBA.com

  • Terry Rozier
    PG, Charlotte Hornets

    The Hornets are the latest team to re-open their facilities, with the Novant Health Training Center set to open up on Tuesday.

    With this, there are only eight teams left to open their practice courts back up, though nobody has been able to engage in any sort of team work yet. Individual workouts are better than no workouts, however, and the league appears to be getting its ducks in a row in terms of returning to play. There's still no firm timelines but things do appear to be heading in the right direction.

    Source: Charlotte Hornets

  • Jon Leuer
    PF, Milwaukee Bucks

    Jon Leuer has announced his retirement from basketball.

    Injuries completely destroyed Leuer's career, as he played in a combined 49 games over the previous two seasons with zero appearances in the 2019-20 campaign. Leuer's high point came with the Suns, where he averaged 8.5 points to go with 5.6 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and a 38.2 mark from deep. His eight-year career comes to an end, with Leuer saying that his body simply won't let him play at a high level anymore.

    Source: Jon Leuer on Instagram