NBA announces awards finalists for 2018-19 season

The NBA today announced the finalists for six awards that honor top performers from the 2018-19 regular season: Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, Kia NBA Sixth Man Award, Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Kia NBA Most Improved Player and NBA Coach of the Year.

The winners of these awards will be revealed at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on Monday, June 24 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.  The third annual NBA Awards will take place at Barker Hangar in Los Angeles.

The finalists for the six annual awards, based on voting results from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, are below:

Kia NBA Most Valuable Player

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder

James Harden, Houston Rockets

  Kia NBA Rookie of the Year


Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns

Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks

Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Kia NBA Sixth Man Award


Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers

Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers

Lou Williams, LA Clippers

  Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year


Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Kia NBA Most Improved Player


De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets

Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

  NBA Coach of the Year


Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks

Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets

Doc Rivers, LA Clippers

The 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia will also feature the announcement of the winners for the NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award, the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, the NBA Sportsmanship Award, the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente, the NBA Hustle Award and the fan-voted House of Highlights Moment of the Year.

In addition, basketball icons Magic Johnson and Larry Bird will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and broadcasting legend Robin Roberts will be honored with the Sager Strong Award.


Ex-Rocket Brown on Houston: ‘I don’t think they will have the year they had last year’

The Houston Rockets came into this NBA season with a lot of optimism, and how could they not. Houston won 65 games last season, which was the best record in basketball, and was possibly a Chris Paul injury away from beating the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. That was last year.

So far this season, things have changed for the Rockets. After 23 games, the Rockets are 11-12. With Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute gone, and with the failed Carmelo Anthony experiment, the Rockets are not playing the way they did last season.

While former Rocket Chucky Brown, who won a championship in Houston back in 1995, believes the Rockets can turn it around, he does not think the team will be as good as they were a year ago.

“I think they can turn it around. I don’t think they will have the year they had last year,” Brown recently told the Go4it podcast hosted by Paul Gant. “Trevor Ariza is gone. He was a big piece. I think they defended a lot better last year. I think they can turn it around and play better than what they been playing, but I don’t see them having the same type of year. I don’t see them going to the Western Conference Finals. I don’t see that.”

Chris Paul and James Harden have both missed time with injury this season, so you can look at that as one of the reasons for the slow start, but the Rockets had great chemistry last season and they don’t have that this season.

I think Brown’s assessment is correct. Houston will get better, but they don’t have the chemistry to have the success they had last season; at least not right now.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has his doubts about the Rockets in the Playoffs(Watch)

The Houston Rockets are playing some excellent basketball right now.  Currently, the team is on a 16-game win streak, including their 122-112 victory over the Thunder last night in Oklahoma City.

Right now, Houston has the best record in the NBA, have an MVP caliber player in James Harden, and seem poised to make a long run in the playoffs.

While Houston has all the makings of a championship caliber team, some still have their doubts.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith is one of them.

Here is what he had to say about the Rockets on ESPN’s First Take today:

Report: Ariza, Green suspended 2 games by NBA

Update: Here’s a statement from the NBA on the suspensions:

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and guard Gerald Green have each been suspended two games without pay for entering the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room to confront a player from the opposing team, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred following the Clippers’ 113-102 win over the Rockets on Jan. 15 at Staples Center.  During the league’s investigation, which included more than 20 interviews with executives, staff, coaches and players from both teams, as well as arena personnel, it was determined that Ariza and Green entered the Clippers’ locker room immediately after the game and engaged in a hostile, verbal altercation with several Clippers players.  The league’s investigation further concluded that Rockets players, James Harden and Chris Paul, followed Ariza and Green into the corridor outside the locker room in an effort to defuse the situation, and accordingly, discipline is not warranted.

Ariza and Green will serve their suspensions during the Rockets next two games, Jan. 18 vs. Minnesota and Jan. 20 vs. Golden State.



Kevin McHale on Harden: ‘It’s hard to have credibility if you don’t play defense’

Former Rockets coach Kevin McHale did not back down from his comments about James Harden. McHale, who coached Harden in Houston, said that Harden was not a leader last week.

Harden responded by calling McHale a “clown.”

McHale discussed how he feels about Harden tonight on TNT.

Take a listen:


Former NBA star Mychal Thompson(Klay’s dad) on Melo to Rockets: ‘Serious threat to the Warriors’

At one point, it seemed that Carmelo Anthony was headed to the Rockets. Now, with a new GM, the Knicks are reportedly open to keeping Anthony in New York. Former NBA player Mychal Thompson, who is the father of the Warriors’ Klay Thompson, believes that Anthony to the Rockets makes them a serious threat to the Warriors, but he does not believe it is enough.

“Overtake the Warriors? I don’t think so, but they’ll be a serious threat to the Warriors,” Thompson told TMZ Sports. “You add Carmelo Anthony to Chris Paul and James Harden, you gotta take them serious.”

Simply put, Thompson believes the Warriors are a special team.

“They just know what it takes to win. They got something special in Oakland.”

Melo to the Rockets definitely gives Houston a chance against the Warriors. Is it enough? I would say no, but injuries can happen. If one of the “Big 4” in Golden State goes down, Houston could supplant the Warriors with Melo, but all things equal, GSW is still the better team.

Chris Paul traded to Rockets for seven players

Update: The Clippers trade Chris Paul to Rocket for Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Kyle Wiltjer ,2018 first-round pick (top-three protected.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Houston Rockets are a serious threat to sign Chris Paul.  The 32-year-old Paul recently opted out of his contract with the Clippers.

Last season, James Harden played the point guard position for Houston, but, according to Stein, Harden is very interested in having Paul join the Rockets. Harden has told Paul directly that he wants him in Houston, according to Stein  

In order to make this happen, the Rockets would have to create some cap space. Houston has reportedly made Lou Williams, Ryan Anderson, and Patrick Beverley available.  

If they can find a way to create cap space, maybe Paul to Houston could be a reality.

LeBron James on not being a MVP finalist: ‘This league knows what I bring to the table’

The NBA announced the three finalists for MVP today. Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, and James Harden were the top three vote getters for MVP. One name that was missing is LeBron James. Based off what we seen during these playoffs, King James might be the real MVP.  However, the MVP award is based on the regular season, so it’s kind of hard to argue with the three finalists.

LeBron addressed the snub after the Cavs 130-86 victory over the Celtics in game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals: