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Some Unlikely MVP Candidates

Phil is back with some obvious and not so obvious NBA MVP candidates, why Gregg Popovich should be NBA Coach of the Year but won’t and much more!!

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Best Games to Watch in Week 25

Monday April 2: No games today. Watch some baseball!!

Tuesday April 3: Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers. This should be a very intense battle between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Wednesday April 4: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs are barely clinging to a playoff spot and better show up against the young pesky Lakers.

Thursday April 5: Portland Trail Blazers at Houston Rockets. Arguably the top two teams in the West on a Thursday night? I will be there with bells on!!

Friday April 6: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers. The Timberwolves are fighting for the playoffs and a great way to spend a Friday night.

Saturday April 7: Denver Nuggets at the Los Angeles Clippers: Both teams have plenty to play for on this special 330pm Eastern start!

Sunday April 8: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers. Utah also needs to win to reach the playoffs. Can the Lakers play the spoiler?

The NBA Most Valuable Player Race

The regular season is just about over and we have some awards people like to debate and I am one of them. While researching something else I ran across this list at Basketball-Reference that I would like to use as a point of reference.

I think everyone on the BR list is worthy of mention however while preparing for a Fantasy Basketball show I host I started looking at some players who deserve to be mentioned right alongside of the other fine players on the BR list.

I see Karl Anthony Towns name on the list but what about Jimmy Butler? The Timberwolves were cruising through the Northwest Division with a 36-26 record. Since Butler’s injury the T-Wolves are just 7-7 and in danger of missing the playoffs. Towns has been good this season but if it were up to him they miss the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season. That team doesn’t win without Butler on BOTH ends of the floor. Towns only plays on the offensive side of things; Butler is on my short list for MVP.

Hard to believe Indiana Pacers SG Victor Oladipo isn’t on the list but he should be. Where would the Pacers be without him this season? How many had the Pacers sitting at 44-31 and a locked up playoff berth on March 28, 2018? Nobody did that’s who. The Pacers are 0-5 without Oladipo and 44-25 with him on the floor. Oladipo is another player who gets it done on both ends of the floor and if you are into this type of thing his 5.21 RPM has him in the top ten and ahead of several on the MVP Watch list.

San Antonio Spurs PF LaMarcus Aldridge went from almost traded away this past summer to without a doubt in my mind MVP candidate. I didn’t think the Spurs make the playoffs without Kawhi Leonard this season but Aldridge posted career highs in darn near every category that matters and carried this team to a 47-21 record when he wears the Silver and Black. The Spurs are 4-4 without Aldridge but those wins came against lottery teams like Phoenix and Memphis who aren’t trying to win. Aldridge won’t win but hopefully sanity will win out and he gets at least a couple of votes.

I haven’t seen anyone mention Toronto Raptors SG DeMar DeRozan in the MVP conversation but bet your bottom dollar he belongs there. The Raptors are 54-20 when DeRozan laces up his sneakers what a season the young man from Compton has had. I would love to tell you how many games the Raptors lose when DeRozan is out but I can’t as he has played EVERY single game the Raptors have played and has outperformed his career highs in just about every category. He’s another one who won’t win but at the very least is worthy enough for a spot on the BR MVP Tracker.

Gregg Popovich for NBA Coach of the Year?

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking about NBA Coaches on the Hot Seat, my short list of Coach of the Year candidates and last week I even named who I believed should be the NBA Coach of the Year. The other day our highly esteemed Manager Chris Meirose and I were chatting and he said he would choose Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich as Coach of the Year and could do that every single year. You know something?

It’s hard to disagree with 20 consecutive NBA Playoff Appearances and counting……but what about the job Popovich has done this season?

Their 43-32 currently finds them as the sixth seed and for the first time since 1999 they will fail to win 50 games. Their 14-24 road record is the first time in the Popovich era the team has had a below .500 record on the road. Coach of the Year? Really?

Losing Kawhi Leonard for practically the entire season should have sent them to the Tankapalooza but the Spurs are still in the playoff picture. That alone should garner Popovich a few votes; if that isn’t enough you try and win with the roster he has and see what you do.

Go ahead and win with over the hill veterans like Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker (all 35 and over). Go ahead I dare you. Then throw in Danny Green, Rudy Gay and Aldridge (all over 30) and see how you do. I think outside of Aldridge you would be hard pressed to place any of those over 30 fellas on a contender’s roster yet they are all together winning games for the Spurs.

Go ahead and win with under 25’s Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertrans, Dejounte Murray and Bryn Forbes and a host of other players you probably never heard of. It doesn’t look so easy does it? Nope and that’s why Popovich should get some votes.

Go ahead and name one Head Coach in the National Basketball Association capable of taking that roster and winning enough to make the playoffs?

Case in point; Thursday night the Spurs hosted the OKC Thunder. San Antonio started a banged up Aldridge, Gasol, Anderson, Murray and Patty Mills against Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Steven Adams and Corey Brewer. The Spurs came back from an early 9 point fourth quarter deficit, finished with the starting five minus Gasol in favor of Green, held Russell Westbrook to just four points, Paul George to eight and Carmelo Anthony to ZERO points in the final nine minutes and won the game.

Today the Spurs have won seven of their last 10 games and are sitting in the fourth seed in the West…..all without Leonard. Three of their last six are against lottery teams and the other three (Houston, Portland and @New Orleans) all seem winnable when maybe a week or so they maybe weren’t.

Should Gregg Popovich be NBA Coach of the Year?

Enjoy the NBA this week!!