Who are the favorites for this season’s NBA awards? Plus, Victor Wembanyama’s new statement game.


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Kevin Harlan announced while sick last night and was still the best. Rest up, 🐐!

Superlatives Season Nears

What are the odds?

We’re almost in the final quarter of the 2023-24 NBA season, meaning awards propaganda and will go through the roof. We’re monitoring the 65-game rule and checking award ladders constantly. And we’re also asking you to vote for your favorite candidate. You can do that via this Google Form! Let’s check in on the six major individual awards races. Thanks to our friends at BetMGM for the betting odds!

MVP: Nikola Jokić -140 | Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +220 | Luka Dončić +450

Dončić has been closing strong with his recent play. He’s been neck-and-neck with Jokić and SGA all season, especially once Embiid went down with his knee injury. Gilgeous-Alexander’s numbers mirror Michael Jordan’s 1987-88 MVP season. Jokić is averaging almost 26-12-9.

Rookie of the Year: Victor Wembanyama -900 | Chet Holmgren +600

I understand believing Holmgren should be the Rookie of the Year because he’s on a great team. I don’t fault him for being a second-year rookie. I think winning is a great tiebreaker between two rookies, when it’s close. Unfortunately, this isn’t close. It’s Wemby all the way.

Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert -800 | Victor Wembanyama +1200 | Jarrett Allen +2000

It looks like Rudy Gobert is about to tie Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace for the most DPOY awards in NBA history (four). This race is so lopsided Wemby has the second-best odds, but his team is bad.

Sixth Man: Malik Monk -150 | Caris LeVert +400 | Tim Hardaway Jr. +750 | Norman Powell +800

I feel like this normally goes to the guy off the bench with the highest scoring average. That would be Hardaway, but he’s third in these odds. All four guys have been huge for their teams.

Most Improved: Tyrese Maxey -500 | Coby White +750 | Jalen Williams +1200

First and foremost, I don’t believe in second-year players winning MIP. Maxey is the overwhelming favorite right now, but I can tell you my vote would go to White because I believe he made the bigger leap.

Coach of the Year: Mark Daigneault -165 | Chris Finch +250 | Joe Mazzulla +1100

Will it end up going to the coach who finishes first in the West? I’d say there are eight coaches who legitimately deserve consideration, but Mazzulla’s odds, in comparison, are super low, but his team might win 65 games.

The Latest From Shams

Veteran hits buyout market; Bucks add youth

Here are a couple notes from around the league:

  • Marcus Morris has agreed to a contract buyout with the San Antonio Spurs to become a free agent, sources tell The Athletic. The productive veteran forward secures playoff eligibility and is now candidate to join a postseason contender. The 13-year veteran is shooting 40 percent on 3s this season and is a 38 nearly percent career shooter from deep.
  • Staying in the East, Milwaukee Bucks are planning to sign forward Jaylin Galloway on a two-way NBA contract out of the Sydney Kings in the National Basketball League. The 6-foot-7 wing has been an emerging player for the Sydney Kings over the last four years. He averaged 10.6 points in 22.9 minutes and 22 appearances for them this season.

About Last Night

Always tune in for Wemby v. Chet

Wemby finally got his revenge on Holmgren. The Spurs and Thunder met for the third time this season. The previous two times, OKC absolutely dominated San Antonio. Although we had a spirited fourth quarter between Wemby and Chet in their second matchup, the Thunder (41-18, second in West) still won that game by 26 points. Their third matchup had a much different outcome.

The 21-year-old Holmgren was, once again, incredible. He had 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go with seven rebounds, five assists and a block in 33 minutes. But Wemby (20 years old) went to another level in this one, finishing with 28 points on 9-of-17 overall and 5-of-7 from deep to go with 13 rebounds, seven assists, five blocks and two steals in 32 minutes. He has 37 blocks in his last seven games, including this highlight swap with 1:50 left in the game.

The crazy thing is Holmgren gets him off-balance on this move, but he hesitated to gather the ball or get to his next spot, so that half second is the difference between getting a shot up against Wemby or the ball not being allowed to leave your hand before his hand engulfs it. Most importantly for Wemby? The Spurs (12-48, last in West) actually won this game 132-118. The future is dope and lanky as hell.

Nuggets 103, Heat 97: Denver (41-19, third in West) gets to keep its Finals win over Miami after this one. Michael Porter Jr. had a game-high 30 points, but Jamal Murray hurt his ankle and left the game. Miami (33-26) slid down to eighth in the East.

Warriors 110, Knicks 99: The Warriors (31-27, 10th in West) started the game on a 14-0 run and held on for the victory behind Steph Curry’s game-high 31 and Jonathan Kuminga’s 25.

Suns 110, Rockets 105: Houston put up a great fight, but Devin Booker cooked the 25-34 Rockets (12th in West) for 35 points. Phoenix (35-24) stays in the No. 5 seed for now.

Magic 115, Jazz 107: Paolo Banchero had 14 of his 29 points in the fourth as the Magic (34-26) slid into the No. 6 seed in the East. They hold the tiebreaker over Indiana (34-26).

Lakers 134, Wizards 131 in OT: The Good news for the Wizards (9-50, last in East): Jordan Poole had 34 off the bench. The bad news? Anthony Davis (game-high 40) and LeBron James (31) combined for 71 points for the Lakers (33-28, ninth in West). LeBron needs nine points to reach the 40k mark.

Bucks 111, Hornets 99: The Bucks (39-21, third in East) didn’t play all that well but still cruised to victory against Charlotte (15-44, 13th in East), which should file a restraining order against Milwaukee.

Nets 124, Hawks 97: A dominant second half (68-47) for the Nets (23-36, 11th in East) put them three games behind Atlanta (26-33) for the No. 10 seed in the East.

Things Move Fast

Chris Paul says Daryl Morey lied to him too

Everybody has a podcast these days! This includes Dwyane Wade. who recently started “The Why with Dwyane Wade” podcast. He just had Chris Paul on for an episode, during which CP3 told a pretty funny story of when he got traded from Houston to Oklahoma City. You may remember the chaos of July 2019, when Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers and the Thunder traded Paul George there, as well.

Less than a week after those moves, CP3 received a call from then-Rockets executive Daryl Morey when there were rumors of Paul going to OKC. This is from CP3:

“I go over to the gym to go work out and Daryl calls me. He said ‘I was just calling you to make sure you didn’t wanna go to OKC.’ I was like, ‘No, why I done moved 15 people to Houston.’ And, he was like, ‘Okay I was just making sure. He was like I would never trade you to somewhere you didn’t want to go because you chose to come to us from the Clippers.’”

Next thing CP3 knows, he’s getting an alert about being traded to OKC for Russell Westbrook. And Morey called him, this time to explain what was happening by saying, “Hey man, it just moves so fast.”

Somewhere, James Harden is nodding at a nightclub while someone holds up a “Daryl Morey is a liar” sign.

Bounce Passes

X’s and Mo’s: Let’s just geek out on the genius of Nikola Jokić.

Shaquille O’Neal presented his daughter, Me’Arah, with her McDonald’s All-American jersey.

Huge shoutout to Scot Pollard for going home 13 days after a heart transplant.

Will Ferrell joined the My Momma Told Me podcast. There’s fun Jokić, LeBron and Shawn Kemp talk in there.

Screen Game (All times Eastern)

  • Main Screen: Mavs-Celtics (7:30 p.m. ESPN). East-leading Boston (46-12) goes for its 10th straight win. Dallas (34-25, seventh in West) has won eight of 10.
  • Second Screen: Pacers-Pelicans (8 p.m.). New Orleans (35-25, sixth in West) is looking to avenge Wednesday’s loss to Indiana (34-26, seventh in East).
  • League Pass Game of the Night: Kings-Wolves (8 p.m.). This one will determine the winner of their 2004 second-round series. Full schedule here.

(Top photo: Michael Gonzales  / Getty Images )

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