Nikola Jokic

2023/24 All-NBA Teams Announced

The All-NBA teams have been announced for the 2023/24 season (Twitter link).

A total of 99 media members voted on the honors, with players receiving five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote and one point for a Third Team vote. This year’s All-NBA teams are as follows:

First Team

Second Team

Third Team

Gilgeous-Alexander and Jokic were the only two unanimous First Team selections, receiving 99 of 99 possible votes. Doncic earned 98 First Team votes but was named to the Second Team on one ballot. Antetokounmpo (88), Tatum (65), Brunson (37), Edwards (3), and Durant (2) were the only other players to receive multiple First Team votes.

Others receiving votes and their point totals are the CelticsJaylen Brown (50), the ClippersPaul George (16), the SixersTyrese Maxey (16), the TimberwolvesRudy Gobert (12), the SpursVictor Wembanyama (11), the PelicansZion Williamson (11), the Magic’s Paolo Banchero (10), the KingsDe’Aaron Fox (9) the Heat’s Bam Adebayo (7) and the BullsDeMar DeRozan (1).

This is the first season that a minimum number of games was required to qualify for most postseason awards under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Among the stars who might have received All-NBA consideration if they had reached the 65-game threshold are Sixers center Joel Embiid, who was the 2023 MVP, along with Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Knicks forward Julius Randle and Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis.

This was also the first season that voting for the All-NBA team was positionless, though that didn’t have a huge impact on the results, as the top two teams still feature two guards, a pair of forwards, and a center. The Third Team is made up a center, three guards, and just one forward.

Wembanyama, who received two votes for the Second Team and five for the Third Team, was the only rookie named on any of the ballots. Earlier this week, he became the first rookie to earn a spot on an All-Defensive First Team.

The Lakers with Davis and James and the Suns with Durant and Booker were the only teams to have multiple players honored. They were both eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Several players became eligible for salary increases or earned a bonus by achieving All-NBA honors. Read more here.

Nuggets Notes: Game 7, Jokic, Murray, Braun, Offseason

The defending-champion Nuggets were eliminated from the postseason in extraordinary fashion by the Timberwolves in Sunday night’s Game 7, blowing a 20-point third-quarter lead at home, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. According to Youngmisuk, it was the largest Game 7 blown lead in the past 25 years.

Perhaps all the more stunning is the fact that Denver is known for having one of the best home court advantages in the league, going 33-8 in the regular season and only dropping one playoff home game during its championship campaign in 2022/23. In the first round, the Nuggets went 3-0 vs. the Lakers at home. Yet in the semifinal, they dropped three of four to Minnesota.

As Bennett Durando of The Denver Post writes, Nikola Jokic (34 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists) put up his typical huge numbers. However, the reigning Finals MVP and three-time MVP noticeably ran out of gas as the game progressed, settling for jumpers in the second half and going 13-of-28 from the floor overall, including 2-of-10 on threes (he made 6-of-7 from the line). The Serbian star rested for a total of just 84 seconds, all of which came in the first half.

Jokic was humble in defeat, praising the Wolves and specifically their roster construction. Minnesota’s front office is led by Tim Connelly, who drafted Jokic to Denver before getting a raise from the Wolves a couple years ago.

I mean, I think they’re built to beat us,” Jokic said, per Youngmisuk. “Just look at their roster. They have basically two All-Stars (Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns), two probably first-team defensive players (Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels). Mike Conley is the most underrated player in the NBA, probably.

“From the bench, they have a Sixth Man of the Year (Naz Reid). … (They are) one team that they can do literally everything. They can be big, small.”

Here’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Jamal Murray, who was instrumental in last year’s Finals run but has been battling a calf strain, scored his 29th point just over a minute into the second half before adding just six the rest of the way. He finished with a game-high 35 points on a very similar line to Jokic (13-of-27, 4-of-12 on threes, 5-of-5 on free throws). Murray viewed the series differently than Jokic, believing the Nuggets were the superior team, but trying to repeat as champions took its toll. “Just mentally and physically, conjuring up the energy to fight like you’re being hunted,” Murray said. “I think that’s the emotion. When you’re the hunter, you have so much more motivation and you grasp on to anything to prove everybody wrong and you have a constant chip on your shoulder. I don’t know. … I feel like we should have won tonight. That’s the tough part. They beat us, but we had so many great opportunities, including myself, so it’s just tough, man.”
  • Second-year wing Christian Braun concurred with Murray’s assessment and said he definitely views the Wolves as a rival now after eliminating a shorthanded Minnesota in last year’s playoffs. “It sucks,” Braun said. according to Durando, “because I think we’re the better team. … I don’t like them. I think that we need more of that in the NBA. They’re a really good team. Really well-coached. Really good players. It’s a matchup that you love to play in. You don’t want to play, like, really friendly with a bunch of teams. I think it’s a really good rivalry for the NBA. I would say it is a rivalry. And that’s why this hurts more.”
  • While Jokic and Murray took responsibility, they combined to score 69 points, compared to 21 points on 8-of-28 shooting for the rest of the team, notes Youngmisuk. And the starting lineup, which has consistently been one of the best in the league the past two seasons, was minus-60 overall, per Durando.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link), HoopsHype’s Mark Deeks, and cap expert Yossi Gozlan (YouTube link) preview Denver’s offseason and future salary cap situation, respectively. Starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, one of the team’s top defenders who shot 41.6% from deep in his two regular seasons with the Nuggets, could be their top free agent — he holds a $15.4MM player option and would likely get a raise on the open market. The Nuggets have one of the league’s more expensive rosters, so re-signing the 31-year-old might not be a lock.
  • Murray reiterated his desire to play for Canada in the upcoming Olympics in Paris this summer, per Parker Gabriel of The Denver Post. However, Jokic was noncommittal about the possibility of suiting up for the Serbia. “I don’t know, my friend, we will see,” he said. “I need to think about it.”
  • Head coach Michael Malone was clearly frustrated after the series and defended his actions and team, calling it a temporary setback, per Youngmisuk. “This is just a momentary delay,” Malone said. “It’s a failure, it’s not fatal. We’ll be back. The better team won, so I’m taking nothing away from Minnesota … but mentally, emotionally, physically, I think guys are gassed. They’re dead tired. They gave me everything I could ever ask for, and that’s why as much as this hurts, I’ll walk out of this building tonight with my head held very high.”

Wolves Notes: Conley, Confidence, Maturity, Jokic, Gobert, NAW

Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley was ruled out for Tuesday’s Game 5 with a right soleus strain and is officially questionable for tonight’s Game 6. However, the 36-year-old plans to suit up, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter).

After Game 5, head coach Chris Finch said the team was optimistic Conley could return for Game 6, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “We’re hopeful Mike can go in Game 6,” Finch said. “That was one of the reasons to be cautious with him right here, feeling that he could go [on Thursday].”

Conley’s leadership and steady hand in the backcourt have buoyed Minnesota throughout the team’s 56-win season, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. The 36-year-old also understands his window of opportunity is shrinking, and the same may be true of the Wolves in the series.

I’m one of those people, I don’t want to learn through losing,” Conley said. “I don’t want to learn by letting a team win a couple games in a series to make us change some things. Why don’t we, in games, figure this out? We’re good enough to do this. I don’t have time for it, y’all don’t have time for it.”

Conley, who signed a two-year extension during the season, played 76 regular season games in ’23/24 and is the team’s top on-ball decision-maker.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • Despite dropping three straight games for the first time all season, the Timberwolves remain confident as they look to stave off elimination against Denver in Thursday’s Game 6, according to McMenamin of ESPN. “Adversity has been something we’ve answered all year,” All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns said. “It’s something that if I was to go through this with anyone, I would go through it with these guys in this locker room. I have full confidence in these guys, I have full confidence in our locker room, I have confidence in our coaching staff. Everyone has been tremendous all year. It’s now time to put all that experience and that unity we’ve built throughout the whole year, even last year, and put it on the table and play our best basketball so we can give ourselves a chance to bring back Game 7 here.”
  • Star guard Anthony Edwards struggled with Denver’s extra defensive pressure in Game 5, but he said he’s looking forward to making up for it tonight in Minnesota, McMenamin adds. “Super excited,” Edwards said. “You get to compete. Get to go home and play with our backs against the wall. It should be fun.” If he’s healthy, Conley’s return should alleviate some double-team pressure from Edwards.
  • Despite their public proclamations of confidence, the Wolves haven’t dealt with adversity well the past few games, particularly from an emotional maturity standpoint, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (subscriber link). Several players have been guilty of immature moments, which has been an issue for this group the past couple seasons, Hine adds. “I mean, we got to keep our head. I think that’s the story for us,” Rudy Gobert said. “… We have to be mentally tough, individually and collectively, to be able to keep playing our game and not let anything that happened in the game affect the way we play.”
  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic details how three-time MVP Nikola Jokic, who is also the reigning Finals MVP for the defending-champion Nuggets, was able to eviscerate four-time Defensive Player of the Year Gobert and Minnesota’s top-ranked defense in Game 5. The Serbian superstar was particularly lethal in the third period, recording 16 points on just seven shot attempts and recording four assists, frequently while intentionally hunting Gobert. John Hollinger of The Athletic contends that Jokic’s remarkable performance — 40 points on 15-of-22 shooting, 13 assists, seven rebounds, two steals and a block with zero turnovers — isn’t being discussed enough.
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker has become an unlikely X-factor for the Wolves, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. The former first-round pick was traded three times in quick succession but has turned into a defensive stopper and a leader for Minnesota, Lopez notes.
  • Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune argues that if the Wolves are eliminated by the Nuggets, they shouldn’t blow up the big man pairing of Towns and Gobert. Souhan also says the team should replace Kyle Anderson with another three-point shooter to improve the offense, which has been the primary issue over the past three games.

Nuggets Notes: Jokic, Gordon, Watson, Holiday

Nikola Jokic was awarded the Michael Jordan trophy as this season’s Most Valuable Player prior to the tip-off of Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday. Then the Nuggets star went and showed why he won the award for a third time, dismantling the Timberwolves and Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert with 40 points and 13 assists in a victory that gave Denver a 3-2 edge in the series.

As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes, Jokic made 15-of-22 shots from the floor, including 8-of-9 when Gobert was his primary defender, en route to a performance that teammate Aaron Gordon referred to as “incredible,” “astounding,” and “ridiculous.” Even Jokic’s opponents couldn’t help but be in awe of the way the big man played on Tuesday.

“I just laugh,” Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards said. “That’s all I can do. I can’t be mad, because he’s good, man. I think I said that after Game 1, when we won, and Game 2. He’s the MVP. He’s the best player in the NBA; he showed it the last three games, three games in a row. .. He was special tonight. I got to give him his flowers. I don’t know what we were supposed to do.”

Head coach Michael Malone, who lauded Jokic for his basketball smarts and said he “probably belongs to Mensa,” pointed out that the timing of the superstar center receiving his latest Most Valuable Player trophy was more appropriate than the timing of the initial MVP announcement.

“Nikola was named MVP after that (106-80) Game 2 loss,” Malone said. “And I think the last three games he has shown everybody why he is arguably one of the best players to play this game.”

Here’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Gordon, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the Game 5 win, has been a crucial X-factor for Denver in the series, writes Ryan McFadden of The Denver Post (subscription required). In an in-depth feature published prior to Tuesday’s contest, Rob Mahoney of The Ringer explored how Gordon has “found his basketball destiny” with the Nuggets, adding a component to the roster that helped the team reach its ceiling.
  • In an entertaining story for The Athletic, Sam Amick details how Gordon has been left out of recent team dinners since he was the only Nuggets player who didn’t make it to last Thursday’s dinner in Minneapolis before the Nuggets won their first game of the series following two straight losses. Denver hasn’t want to risk messing with what’s working by changing its routine since then. Reggie Jackson said that dinner ahead of Game 3 helped the team stop being so tense: “We needed to be around each other. We knew what we had to do, and we knew we had something to accomplish. But it was time between the games to breathe and relax and talk about life. That really helped.”
  • In the first round of the playoffs, Peyton Watson averaged 12.0 minutes per game off the bench, while veteran Justin Holiday played just 7.1 MPG. In the second round, Holiday has seen his minutes jump to 18.3 per contest while Watson has essentially fallen out of the rotation. Bennett Durando of The Denver Post explores the thinking behind the rotation tweak, explaining that the Nuggets are prioritizing Holiday’s offense over Watson’s defense. “Just trying to find a lineup that can give us the best chance to have success,” Malone said last week. “With the way (the Timberwolves) guard and how effective they are defensively, sometimes you have to put your best offensive lineup out there to give yourself a chance to score and stay in the game.”
  • Now that the Nuggets have regained the upper hand in their series vs. Minnesota and are just one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals, Dan Wolken of USA Today argues that Denver is the clear favorite to win its second consecutive championship.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Malone, Murray, Jazz

The Timberwolves enter Game 4 on Sunday coming off a lopsided Game 3 loss. Point guard Mike Conley believes it might work in the team’s favor, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes.

“We’ve been good all year at, when we take an L, we learn from it and adjust really quick,” the Timberwolves floor leader said. “Our guys take it personal, get angry and somehow flip a switch. Say it’s-not-going-to-happen-again type of attitude. And that’s what we need to have. We’ve got to continue to be the urgent, desperate team that we’ve played like all year.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone got irritated with at least one fan during the team’s game at Minnesota on Friday night, Bennett Durando of the Denver Post reports. Two fans at Target Center were escorted away from the sideline by security during the fourth quarter, though Malone said he didn’t ask for anyone to be removed from the arena. “That happens at times in a hostile environment, and people get a little liquid courage, I guess sometimes,” he said. “And they think they can just say whatever they want to anybody. And I’m not allowing that to happen.”
  • Malone took some of the ball-handling responsibilities away from Jamal Murray on Friday and that worked well, John Hollinger of The Athletic notes. “We did play better, we were more physical, we were more aggressive., (and) we played more downhill,” Malone said. “But we also tried to alleviate how much Jamal, especially had to bring the ball up. We have two very good ballhandling bigs, Nikola Jokic (and) Aaron Gordon. Let them initiate offense.”
  • The Jazz had a disappointing day at the draft lottery. Their pick slid from No. 8 to No. 10 as two teams jumped past them. “Obviously (we’re) not happy about it, we’d rather stay at 8 or move up,” Bart Taylor, the Jazz’s VP of player personnel told Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake City Tribune. There had been a 92.8% chance that Utah’s pick would be No. 9 or higher.

Nuggets Notes: Murray, Jokic, MVP, Gordon

Not everyone agreed with the NBA’s decision to fine Jamal Murray – rather than suspend him – after he threw a towel and a heat pack in the direction of a referee from the bench during live play in Game 2. One league observer who felt Murray got off lightly is Denver Post columnist Troy Renck, who argued in the wake of the NBA’s ruling that the Nuggets guard deserved a one-game suspension.

Appearing on FanDuel’s Run it Back show on Wednesday (Twitter video link), Shams Charania of The Athletic said the NBA opted for a significant fine (the maximum $100K) instead of a suspension because Murray has no history of similar behavior and showed contrition during a conversation with league officials. Asked on Wednesday about the incident, the star guard said he takes “full responsibility,” but declined to say much more about it when reporters asked follow-up questions.

“I mean, it was two days ago. Not much for me to say about it right now,” Murray said, per Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. Asked about any discussions he may have had with the NBA about the incident, Murray replied, “Do you have any basketball questions?”

Head coach Michael Malone had had a little more to say about the towel and heat pack tosses, which he suggested were out of character for Murray, as Durando relays.

“I’ve never seen that from Jamal. That was very uncharacteristic for me,” Malone said. “And I think it was probably a combination of … taking a charge and it’s not called, a combination of not making shots at the level we know he’s capable of making, a combination of us being down 30 points to a team that we’re trying to beat to get to the Western Conference Finals. When you put that all in that boiling pot, man, that’s a lot to handle. And he didn’t handle it in the way he knows he needs to handle it, and I’m sure he told you guys that. But Jamal will bounce back. I have no doubt about that.”

Here’s more on the Nuggets:

  • After becoming one of nine players in NBA history to win three Most Valuable Player awards, where does Nikola Jokic rank among the league’s all-time greats? John Hollinger of The Athletic digs into that question, arguing that even if the Nuggets star were to call it a career this summer, he’d still have a strong case to be considered one of the top 20 players in NBA history.
  • Asked during his MVP press conference if he’s considered how long he wants to play in the NBA, Jokic didn’t offer any specifics, but suggested he doesn’t want to overstay his welcome. “I think that the determination is going to be if I can perform at a high level or not,” Jokic said (Twitter video link via Michael Scotto of HoopsHype). “I think I’m not going to take a spot from some young guys or put the franchise down. As long as I can play on the highest level and help the team win, I think I’m gonna play until then.”
  • Down 2-0 in the second round with the series headed to Minnesota, Jokic needs to submit an MVP-caliber performance in Game 3 to help save Denver’s season, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. As Michael Pina of The Ringer writes, Jokic’s averages through two games – 24.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG, and 8.5 APG – look great, but he has shot just 42.1% from the floor (20.0% on threes) while committing 11 turnovers, and hasn’t controlled the game like he often does.
  • In an entertaining story for Yahoo Sports, Jake Fischer explores the strong bond that has developed in recent years between Jokic and Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, detailing how Gordon’s skill set and his chemistry with the star center helped turn Denver into a championship team.
  • In case you missed it, the Nuggets have listed Murray (left calf strain), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right abdominal contusion), and Reggie Jackson (left calf contusion) as questionable to play in Game 3 on Friday.

Nikola Jokic Named Most Valuable Player

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has been selected as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the third time in four years, the league announced (via Twitter).

Jokic won the Michael Jordan Trophy by a wide margin, showing up on all 99 ballots and collecting 79 votes for first place, 18 for second place and two for third place, giving him a total of 926 points. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished second, collecting 640 total points by coming in first on 15 ballots, second on 40, third on 40, fourth on three and fifth on one.

Rounding out the top five were Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (4-36-50-8-0-566), Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (1-1-4-44-23-192) and Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (0-3-1-28-32-142).

Also receiving votes were Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0-0-1-14-39-89), Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (0-1-1-1-3-18), Kings center Domantas Sabonis (one fourth-place vote) and Suns forward Kevin Durant (one fifth-place vote).

Jokic becomes the ninth player to claim at least three MVP awards (Twitter link). He ties Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone, and trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six), Michael Jordan and Bill Russell (five each), and Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James (four each).

The Nuggets celebrated the honor by tweeting a video tribute to Jokic narrated by his wife, Natalija.

Jokic posted another outstanding statistical season, averaging 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists in 79 games. He shot 58.3% from the field and 35.9% from three-point range as Denver claimed the second seed in the Western Conference.

Bennett Durando of The Denver Post took a closer look at Jokic’s historic season, noting that he finished fifth in the league in total points, third in total rebounds and second in total assists. He also collected 25 triple-doubles and posted a true shooting percentage above 65% for the third straight season while leading the NBA in most advanced stats, including PER, VORP, box plus-minus, and win shares.

“I think he’s stated his case pretty well,” Jamal Murray said today before the award was announced. “He does it every night. It’s hard to do what he does and face the kind of pressure that he does each and every day. He does it in the smallest ways. He makes everybody around us better. He’s a leader on the court and someone we expect greatness from every time he steps on the court. And he’s delivered. … He’s been so consistent all his career, all his MVP runs. He’s been so consistent. So I don’t expect one or two bad games to sway that in any way.”

And-Ones: MVP Race, Awards Announcements, Barton, Betting, Barkley

Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are the finalists for the Most Valuable Player award. ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Tim Bontemps take a closer look at the contenders and reveal the results of a straw poll. Jokic is the clear favorite to win the award for the third time, while Lowe gives Doncic the edge for second place due to his superior play-making.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Speaking of the MVP race, the league will announce the winner on Wednesday night, according to NBA Communications (Twitter link). The Rookie of the Year award will be announced on Monday and the Defensive Player of the Year will be revealed on Tuesday. Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Gobert, respectively, are the favorites for those two awards.
  • Former NBA forward Will Barton has joined Cangrejeros de Santurce, a Puerto Rican team, according to Sportando. Bardon also had short stints wih CSKA Moscow and Granada this season. Barton played a total of 56 games for Washington and Toronto last season.
  • In the aftermath of Jontay Porter getting banned from the NBA for gambling-related offenses related to prop bets, the NBA and its partner sportsbooks are discussing changes to combat similar occurrences in the future, David Purdum of ESPN reports. Among the changes that have been discussed is prohibiting betting on players with two-way contracts. There have also been discussions on not allowing bets on the “under” on a player prop, though there are concerns that restricting wagers could push bettors into the unregulated betting market.
  • Charles Barkley stated on the Dan Patrick Show (Twitter link) that if TNT loses its NBA broadcasting rights, he’ll become a free agent. He’s unsure about “Inside the NBA” moving to another network because host Ernie Johnson said he wouldn’t leave Turner Sports. The NBA is in serious negotiations with NBC, Amazon and ESPN/ABC to split up the broadcasting rights, which could leave TNT out of the picture.

And-Ones: Postseason Awards, Fernandez, SLC Summer League, Players’ Poll

The NBA revealed the finalists for seven postseason awards on Sunday. The league will begin announcing the winners on Tuesday, the NBA’s communications department tweets.

The Most Improved Player award will be announced on Tuesday. Tyrese MaxeyAlperen Sengun and Coby White are the finalists. The Sixth Man of the Year award winner will be revealed on Wednesday, followed by the Clutch Player of the Year (Thursday) and Coach of the Year (Sunday).

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The Nets’ hiring of Jordi Fernandez as their head coach won’t affect his status with Team Canada. Fernandez will coach their national team at the Paris Olympics, Canada Basketball tweets.
  • The Salt Lake City Summer League will take place July 8-10 at the Jazz’s Delta Center, according to a press release. The Jazz, Grizzlies, Thunder and Sixers will once again compete in the round-robin summer showcase, which precedes the Las Vegas Summer League.
  • The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Josh Robbins compiled poll results from 142 NBA players on a variety of topics. Nikola Jokic topped Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for MVP, while Michael Jordan edged out LeBron James for Greatest Player of All Time. A majority of the players chose James Johnson as the player they’d least like to fight.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Reaves, Russell, Vanderbilt, Jokic

Anthony Davis could have some extra motivation for the remainder of the Lakers‘ first-round series against the Nuggets. Davis feels slighted that he wasn’t one of the three finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award, he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“I’ll never get it,” Davis said. “They’re not giving it to me. The league doesn’t like me. I’m the best defensive player in the league. I can switch 1 through 5. I can guard the pick-and-roll the best in the league, from a big standpoint. I block shots. I rebound. I don’t know what else to do. I’m over it. I’m just going to do what I got to do to help the team win and try to play for a championship. Accolades and individual awards, I’m done with those.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Austin Reaves is hopeful that D’Angelo Russell remains with the team beyond this season, and his reasons go beyond the court, he told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “I want him to be around. That’s probably my best friend on the team,” Reaves said. “We hang out off the court and golf a lot together. We’re constantly in communication and play Call of Duty together. He’s been one of my closest friends since I’ve been in the NBA. Obviously, his basketball play speaks for itself with how talented he is and what he can do for our group. We need him to be at our best. When he’s playing at his best is when we’re playing at our best. Anything we can do or I can do to help him stay around, I’m definitely going to try to do that.” Russell holds an $18.7MM option on his contract for next season.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt is no longer wearing a walking boot, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. Vanderbilt hasn’t played since Feb. 1 due to a right midfoot sprain. He went through some drills during the team’s shootaround on Tuesday but won’t play in Game 2.
  • Coach Darvin Ham admits it’s virtually impossible to keep Nikola Jokic in check, Buha adds in another tweet. “It’s like (bleep), I don’t know what to do. You just gotta go out there and try to be as disciplined as possible, aggressive and consistent. And have a next-play mentality, man. … Kid is a generational-type player,” Ham said.