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Current NBA MVP Favorites – Basketball Insiders

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With the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid now being ineligible to repeat as the league MVP, the odds have shifted. Before the meniscus injury, Embiid was the clear favorite to repeat as the NBA MVP. Now, there is a legitimate chance for a new face to bring home the trophy this year. On the other hand, the league could also see a familiar face win the award yet again. With all of this in mind, here are the current favorites to win this season’s NBA MVP award per FanDuel.

Current NBA MVP Favorites Post Joel Embiid Injury

Nikola Jokic

Jokic is now the favorite to win his third league MVP award. He now possesses -150 odds to take home the award. Jokic and the defending champions are currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference and right behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the third spot. On the season, the Joker is tallying numbers of 26.3 points, 12.2 total rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game. On top of that, he is also averaging a true shooting percentage of 65.7 percent and a player efficiency rating of 32.1. Jokic also has an offensive rating of 133 and has also logged a league-high 15 triple-doubles on the season. It should also be noted that he is chasing Magic Johnson on the all-time triple-doubles list. After many felt Jokic was robbed of the award last year, don’t be surprised if he nets his third MVP in the coming months.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Gilgeous-Alexander has led the surprising Oklahoma City Thunder to the top seed in the Western Conference. He has quickly become one of the faces of the entire league. On the year, SGA is averaging 31.1 points, a league-best 2.3 steals, 6.6 assists and 5.7 total rebounds per game. Not to mention, he also possesses an offensive rating of 132 and a defensive rating of 109. Gilgeous-Alexander is having his best year of his career on both sides of the floor. If the Oklahoma City Thunder can continue their team success, then Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s odds to win MVP could improve from the current +240 odds. Oklahoma City has a current win-loss record of 35-15 and boast one of the best young cores in the NBA.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Antetokounmpo’s name will always be in the MVP conversation as long as he is in his prime. Currently, his odds are at +650 odds. The Milwaukee Bucks are third in the Eastern Conference with a win-loss record of 33-17. They trail the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Most of this team success can be attributed to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the recently acquired, Damian Lillard. Even with the coaching change, the Greek Freak continues to prove why he is a top-three player in today’s NBA. He is averaging 31.3 points, 11.4 total rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. Not to mention, the eight-time All-Star also has a player efficiency rating of 29.7, a true shooting percentage of 65.1 percent, and box plus/minus rating of +8.5 on the year. If Milwaukee can move up a spot or two in the standings, do not be surprised if Giannis Antetokounmpo swoops in and wins his third career league MVP award.



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Kenny Smith explains why remarks on Sabrina Ionescu weren’t gender-based

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We live in a time where everyone’s sensitivities are out in the open, and TV personalities are expected to act as role models and not treat anyone unfairly. During the All-Star Weekend, broadcaster Kenny Smith might be regretting making some remarks about Sabrina Ionescu as she faced Stephen Curry in a unique three-point contest. 

The former basketball player said that the female star should’ve shot from the WNBA line during the event, especially as she was shooting with a WNBA ball, which is smaller than those from the NBA. Smith was labeled on social media as “condescending” and a “clown.”

This Monday, the sport analyst was invited to Stephen A. Smith’s podcast and explained to the host that his comments had nothing to do with gender, and was simply referring to advantage.

“I think it’s much ado about nothing. Most people who know basketball understood what I was talking about,” Smith shared. “Actually, I was advocating for her more than anything else because basketball is muscle memory. So, he practices from one range. She practices from the other.”

The two-time champion even used other sports as reference. “There was even a study with somebody throwing darts and if you move him out one step, his accuracy changes dramatically. But the funny thing about it is if you move him in one step, his accuracy changes — because you take so many shots from the exact same thing,” he explained.

“So, I’m like, why is he getting the advantage to shoot at his line — that’s an advantage. It’s not gender, it’s not genetic, it’s an advantage,” Kenny insisted. “Shooting is only muscle memory. People who don’t play the sport don’t understand it. It’s all muscle memory.”

The NBA broadcaster even talked about how Reggie Miller criticized him for his remarks on playing with dolls, as he believes that anyone should be allowed to play with those toys and sports too. “Most people don’t check the tape, they just wanna check the bait,” he said.

After Curry won the competition, he praised Sabrina for inspiring both boys and girls to become one of them someday

Ionescu put on a show this weekend, as she only lost to the best NBA sharpshooter of all time by 29 to 26. However, it was all smiles after the competition, especially as it was raising money for each of their foundations.

“I don’t know what’s going to come out of it, but me and Sabrina talked about how cool of an opportunity it is to do something that’s never been done before in our game,” said the Golden State superstar after the tight display.

According to Stephen, Sabrina has inspired young children to overcome any boundary and make dreams even larger for the next generation.

“And for her to have a presence on this stage is going to do a lot to inspire the next generation of young boys and girls that want to compete and see themselves in either one of us. Wherever it goes from there, we know we can kind of plant our flag as doing something really special,” he concluded.





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Basketball Reference Has Celtics With 47.5% Chance to Win Title

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According to the Basketball-Reference database, the statistics site shows the Boston Celtics with a 47.5% chance to win this season’s 2024 NBA championship coming out of the All-Star break.

The Minnesota Timberwolves possess the second-highest percentage (14.8%), followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder (14.3%), Los Angeles Clippers (6.1%), Cleveland Cavaliers (5.7%), and New York Knicks (2.8%).

The Celtics sit at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a 43-12 record. Boston is 26-3 at home, 17-9 away, 13-1 against Atlantic Division opponents, and 30-6 in conference play.

Cleveland ranks second in the East standings below Boston with a 36-17 record. The Cavaliers trail the Celtics by six games. The Milwaukee Bucks (35-21) are third, followed by the Knicks (33-22) and Philadelphia 76ers (32-22).

Additionally, Minnesota leads the Western Conference with a 39-16 record. Oklahoma City (37-17) sits 1.5 games back, the Clippers (36-17) are third, and the reigning champion Denver Nuggets (36-19) are fourth.

Basketball Reference’s statisticians are not anticipating the Nuggets to repeat. However, NBA betting sites show Denver with second-best odds below the Celtics to win its second straight championship.

Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic is the odds-on favorite to win MVP. If not for Sixers’ Joel Embiid last season, Jokic could have become the first NBA player since Larry Bird (1984-86) to win three straight awards.

Basketball Reference has Timberwolves as Celtics’ biggest championship threat, Cavs to upset Boston?

Minnesota and Boston split the regular-season series. The Clippers tied the series with the Celtics after their Jan. 27 matchup at Boston. Two other teams that are capable of challenging the C’s are the Nuggets and Cavaliers.

Boston lost 102-100 to Denver at TD Garden on Jan. 19, suffering its first defeat at home this season and first loss since a 131-129 double-overtime defeat against the Knicks on March 5, 2023.

Their 20 straight home wins this season were the Celtics’ second most in their franchise history without a loss. Boston’s best regular-season home record is 40-1, which was set in the 1985-86 season.

The C’s are also 4-4 this season in one-possession games.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are 18-2 in their last 20 games and went 14-1 over a 15-game stretch from Jan. 3-Feb. 5. Cleveland tied its best record in franchise history over a 15-game span.

It’s the Cavaliers’ best record over a 15-game span without LeBron James. Their only defeat during this set of games was a 126-116 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum on Jan. 24.

Furthermore, Cleveland can win anywhere. The Cavs have an NBA-best road record of 17-8. Plus, they are 11-0 this season when holding opponents below 100 points.

The Celtics are aiming to keep their six-game win streak alive when they play at Chicago on Thursday night.





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Jalen Brunson Tried to Sign Extension With Dallas Mavericks

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It is no secret by now that the Dallas Mavericks should have kept Jalen Brunson. However, there seems to be more to the story than many originally knew. Brunson himself said that he tried to sign a contract extension a couple different occasions.

“It’s funny, because my agent was like, “You can get more, you can more.” “I’m saying “Well, I just want to be safe. I’m not trying to gamble right now. This is not something you really gamble with if it’s out there.

“But they were like, “We went to see where we’re at by like 20, 25 games into the season.” “But were like, well, if we’re not going to do it, I kind of don’t want to do it until after the season. I’m not trying to think about this during the season.

“So there’s a period where Luka [Doncic] went out and I started to start. I was playing really well. I think I was averaging like 20 and 6 maybe. It was about that 20 to 25 mark. And so we went back, like “If the deal is there, we’re thinking about it, like, I’ll do it like right now.” “Still, it was no. It wasn’t a hard no. It was just like “We want to see, we want to see.” “The trade deadline comes, I’m like thinking if I’m not getting extended, I’m probably going to get traded…

“The deal came on the table after the trade deadline. I was like “No, I think I’ve outgrown that now. Personally, that what I thought. “I think I’ve outgrown that.”

Brunson is now thriving with the New York Knicks as the first option and made his first All-Star Team this season.

Jalen Brunson Wanted to Stay With Dallas Mavericks

The All-Star is Thriving in New York

One could argue that Jalen Brunson was never gonna reach his true ceiling playing with Luka Doncic. Now, his full abilities have been unlocked. On the year, he is averaging 27.6 points, 6.5 assists per game, and a field goal percentage of 48.3 percent. Brunson has also become a sharpshooter from beyond the arc as he is striking it at a rate of 41.1 percent from deep this season.

He has become one of the best on-ball creators in the league ever since arriving in New York and he and All-Star, Julius Randle, have developed into a solid star duo. Brunson has taken on more of a leadership role as well and it has paid dividends as the Knicks are in the top-four of the Eastern Conference as of February 22nd, 2024. All in all, the New York Knicks hit a home run by signing Jalen Brunson.



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