While Nikola Jokic is considered the odds-on favorite to win this season’s NBA MVP award, Lakers forward LeBron James has endorsed a division rival for the honor, telling reporters on Sunday night that Warriors guard Stephen Curry would get his vote.
“I mean, just look at what he’s done this year,” James said of the NBA’s leading scorer (link via Dave McMenamin of ESPN). “I don’t know anything else if you’re looking for an MVP. If Steph is not on Golden State’s team, what are we looking at? … We get caught up in the records sometimes. We get caught up in the, ‘OK, who has the best record?’ instead of just saying who had the best season that year. And Steph has had, in my opinion, the best season all year.”
Curry has won two MVP awards, but his performance this season may have been his most impressive yet, considering the Warriors didn’t have high-scoring options like Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant available to draw attention away from him. Despite facing double-teams and traps for much of the season, Curry averaged a career-best 32.0 points per game on .482/.421/.916 shooting in 63 games (34.2 MPG). His 5.3 three-pointers per game also represented a new career high.
Here’s more from around the Pacific:
- Bill Shea of The Athletic explores what life after basketball might look like for LeBron James, who will turn 37 later this year. The Lakers star, who has already ventured into the media and business worlds during his playing career, also aims to one day own an NBA franchise.
- After expressing last week that he was “very confident” about keeping his job as the Kings‘ head coach, Luke Walton explained on Sunday why he’s not worried, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays. “It doesn’t weigh on me because it’s the same thing I always talk about — it’s control what you can control — the same message I give my players every day,” Walton said. He added that he felt the story of Sacramento’s season should be the growth of the team’s young players. “I’m excited about this group and excited about our future,” the Kings’ coach said.
- Having returned on Friday after missing two months due to a back injury, Clippers big man Serge Ibaka told reporters that he has played with back pain since the start of the season, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). It’s a nerve issue, according to Ibaka, who admitted he’s still not back to 100%.