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Date Aug. 9th 08:46 AM Icon 61 Date 0

 

The argument happens most every year. Who is the NBA MVP?

LeBron James has been the best player for most of his 15 years in the league [url=www.minnesotatwinsteamshop.com]Eddie Rosario Minnesota Twins Jersey[/url] , and he’s won the award only four times. Russell Westbrook won it last year, buoyed by averaging a triple-double, yet seems to not even be in the conversation this season with very similar numbers. James Harden was a popular pick last season, saw his assist and rebound numbers dip this season, yet is generally considered the runaway favorite.

Part of the issue is this: There’s no clarity on how the MVP is defined.

No one knows the criteria. The award ballot sent to MVP voters simply says ”The winner of this award receives the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, named after the first Commissioner of the NBA.”

Is it the player most valuable to his team?

Is it the player most valuable to the game?

Is it the best player?

Those are only some of the many gray areas.

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers has said many times over the years that James would win annually, if not for voters getting tired of selecting him (though Rivers is also on record this year saying Harden will be MVP). Michael Jordan might have dealt with the same voter-fatigue issue. And it’s still baffling that Oscar Robertson, who had some of the most statistically ridiculous seasons in NBA history, won it only once.

Debate will probably always surround the MVP race, a notable exception being two years ago when Stephen Curry was the first unanimous winner.

This year’s answer will come June 25, when the NBA announces the winner. It’ll likely be Harden. There will be reasonable points made in support of that. There will be reasonable points made for James as well.

Here now [url=www.milwaukeebrewersteamshop.com]Boone Logan Milwaukee Brewers Jersey[/url] , the picks for certain awards by AP Basketball Writers Brian Mahoney and Tim Reynolds, as well as a look at what we think will happen in the playoffs:

MVP

Mahoney: James Harden, Houston. Mastered a new position last season. Masterfully shared it this one. His stats, team’s record, make a worthy winner.

Reynolds: LeBron James, Cleveland. Made this same pick last year, making it again this year, because the Cavs would be horrid without him.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

Mahoney: Clint Capela, Rockets. Blocks shots, rebounds, and the NBA’s leading shooter doesn’t miss much when he gets the ball.

Reynolds: Victor Oladipo [url=www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com]www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com[/url] , Indiana. He was absolutely fantastic in his first Indiana season, leading the Pacers to the No. 5 seed in the East.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Mahoney: Brad Stevens, Celtics. Won it in November with response to losing Gordon Hayward. Re-won it in March with response to losing Kyrie Irving.

Reynolds: Many great candidates – like Dwane Casey, Gregg Popovich, Brad Stevens, Brett Brown and Terry Stotts. But Utah’s Quin Snyder is the pick.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Mahoney: Donovan Mitchell, Utah. Hard to believe he was barely a lottery pick last year after watching him carry Utah like an All-Star.

Reynolds: Utah’s Donovan Mitchell gets the call, not in an anti-Ben Simmons vote, but because he led the Jazz like a savvy, seasoned pro.

EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPION

Mahoney: Cleveland still has the best player and too much firepower around him to lose four times to an East team.

Reynolds: LeBron James is as good as ever, and is always an incredibly tough out. Toronto can defeat Cleveland [url=www.authenticsbuffalobills.com]Josh Allen Color Rush Jersey[/url] , but the Cavs rate a tiny edge.

WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPION

Mahoney: Golden State, but less sure of that than at any time during the Warriors? run. Houston is that good.

Reynolds: Until proven otherwise, and this assumes that Stephen Curry comes back healthy from his knee issue, the pick is Golden State – again.

NBA CHAMPIONS

Mahoney: Warriors in 5.

Reynolds: Warriors in 5.

BOLD OFFSEASON PREDICTIONS

Mahoney: Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler were all traded last summer. Is there anything that would surprise you?

Reynolds: LeBron James leaves Cleveland, Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard, Wizards break up Bradley Beal and John Wall, and Rihanna DMs Joel Embiid.



Brian Mahoney is the AP Basketball Writer based in New York. Tim Reynolds is the AP Basketball Writer based in Miami.

The Chicago White Sox will go for a series win against the Cleveland Indians when the teams square off Thursday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field on Chicago’s South Side.

Chicago (24-42) has endured a bumpy start to the season but has won two of the first three in its four-game series against the Indians. The White Sox have gone 8-5 in June thanks in large part to better starting pitching.

Meanwhile, Cleveland (35-31) hopes to escape the Windy City with a series split. The Indians remain atop the American League Central standings but have posted an underwhelming 5-6 record in June.

The getaway-day contest will represent the second start of the season for White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon (0-1 [url=www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com]www.jaguarsauthorizedshops.com[/url] , 3.60 ERA), who spent two-plus months on the disabled list as he recovered from shoulder surgery.

The White Sox’s 2014 first-round pick (No. 3 overall) allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits in five innings during his season debut Saturday against the Boston Red Sox. He walked two and struck out seven.

Teammates were impressed with Rodon’s assortment of pitches after a long layoff.

“Carlos has that killer (look in his eye) whenever he starts getting a little geeked up, when he’s about to throw some stuff that is going to be unhittable,” White Sox catcher Kevan Smith told The Athletic. “Even whenever we were catching in Triple-A, he had the same things kind of happen. He would pitch out of these jams, and that’s what I’m saying. …

“He has a fastball that … just kind of control it and let it do its work, it’s an impressive pitch.”

In 10 career appearances (nine starts) against the Indians, Rodon is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA. He has walked 19 and struck out 64 in 61 2/3 innings. The only other team he has beaten four times is the Minnesota Twins.

For the visitors, Indians right-hander Mike Clevinger (4-2, 3.31 ERA) will take the mound for his 14th start of the season. The 27-year-old needs one more win for No. 20 in the big leagues.

Clevinger has pitched six-plus innings in nine of his past 10 outings. In nine of his 13 starts this year, he has given up three earned runs or fewer.

The White Sox have had sporadic success against Clevinger [url=www.authenticstampabaybuccaneers.com]Jordan Whitehead Color Rush Jersey[/url] , who is 1-2 with a 4.29 ERA against that team in five career appearances (three starts). Clevinger has walked nine and fanned 20 in 21 innings versus Chicago.

Chicago is 12-20 at home this season; Cleveland is 15-20 on the road.

The Indians are still without left-hander Andrew Miller out of the bullpen as he recovers from inflammation in his right knee. Miller threw a bullpen session Wednesday and could face hitters in live batting practice or in a simulated game as part of the next step i
[img]www.sndpic.com[/img]

[img]www.sndpic.com[/img]
n his rehabilitation.

“He did well, he did real well, probably his best one yet,” Indians manager Terry Francona told mlb.com. “When we get back home, we’ll see if he’s ready to face hitters.

“How he’s bouncing back is still the biggest challenge, but he’s building up, he’s doing a good job, so we’re making progress, which is good. I’d much rather have that happen than the other way.”
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