The Latest: James Harden voted NBA MVP
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the NBA Awards, where the league’s individual honors are being presented (all times local):
James Harden of the Houston Rockets is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
He joined Michael Jordan as the only players to average at least 20 points, eight assists, five rebounds and 1.7 steals in a season.
Harden led the league in scoring, 3-pointers and 50-point games with four. He helped the Rockets to an NBA-leading 65 wins.
Harden beat out Cleveland’s LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Pelicans.
Oscar Robertson commends the activism of today’s NBA players, although he wonders why more white athletes aren’t speaking out.
“Where are the white athletes when this is happening?” he said backstage at the NBA Awards. “It’s not just black athletes when you see injustice in the world.”
Robertson went on to say he hopes “the whites and the blacks can get together, even with the football,” a reference to NFL players who have taken a knee or sat in silence during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
The Hall of Fame guard was presented with the NBA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The NBA gave Oscar Robertson a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bill Russell gave Charles Barkley something else.
Barkley and fellow Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were the presenters when Robertson received his honor. After Barkley mentioned Russell, Boston’s Hall of Fame center flipped his middle finger in Barkley’s direction.
Robertson is the career leader in triple-doubles and was the first player to average one for a season. His antitrust case against the NBA also ushered in free agency for players. Robertson says that was his most important assist.
Russell received the inaugural award last year.
The name on everyone’s lips around the NBA isn’t at the league’s awards show.
LeBron James isn’t attending the show, where he’s vying for a fifth career Most Valuable Player award.
James has until Friday to tell the Cavaliers if he will pick up his $35.6 million option for next season or opt for free agency. Rumors about his future have spawned a cottage industry in the sports world.
Dwane Casey has won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award for his work with his former team, the Toronto Raptors. He was fired last month and has since become coach of the Detroit Pistons.
Casey led the Raptors to the No. 1 seed in the East for the first time in franchise history. Toronto won a team-record 59 games. Casey coached the East in the All-Star Game for the first time.
Casey won over Quin Snyder of Utah and Brad Stevens of Boston.
Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers is the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.
The guard became the first player to average at least 20 points for the first time in his 13th season or later. He led the league in fourth-quarter points and scoring average.
He beat out Houston’s Eric Gordon, last year’s winner, and Fred VanVleet of Toronto.
Williams kissed his two young daughters on his way to the stage after becoming the Clippers’ third winner in the last five years.
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz is the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
The center was the leading vote-getter for the league’s All-Defensive first team.
Gobert anchored a Jazz defense that ranked second in the NBA in defensive rating.
He beat out Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Joel Embiid of Philadelphia.
Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers has won the Most Improved Player at the NBA Awards.
The guard averaged 23.1 points in his first season with the Pacers. He earned his first All-Star berth, too.
Oladipo also led the league in steals for the first time.
He beat out Clint Capela of Houston and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets.
Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers has won Rookie of the Year honors at the NBA Awards.
The guard averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, joining Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only rookies to post those numbers in a season.
Simmons helped Philadelphia to a 52-30 record, including ending the season with a 16-game winning streak.
He beat out finalists Donovan Mitchell of Utah and Jayson Tatum of Boston.
The NBA Awards aren’t just about the hardware. Everyone gets fed, too.
Players and their guests are sitting down to dinner at the second annual show. On the menu is salad with avocados, grapefruit and green goddess dressing, and a main course of wild seabass with rice and steak.
Dessert is a vanilla cream puff, chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and pavlova with lemon curd and blueberry.
Jeanie Buss says she has complete faith in the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office no matter how Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka want to build the team, whether it’s through trades, free agency or the draft.
Buss says she asked them a year ago to identify a style of play for the team and make decisions that reflect that style. She describes the Lakers’ style as fast and says it’s about passing and sharing the ball while committing to each other as a team.
Buss is the team’s controlling owner and president. Johnson is the team’s president of basketball operations.
Baron Davis has arrived at the NBA Awards on a foldable electric scooter.
Davis lives near Santa Monica Airport, so he rode the small scooter onto the red carpet outside Barker Hangar.
The urban mobility device has a maximum range of 16 miles and a top speed of 14 mph, which is about how fast traffic sometimes moves in Los Angeles. It costs about $900.
James Harden is hoping to win his first NBA MVP award in what could be another big night for the Houston Rockets.
Harden, Cleveland’s LeBron James and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis are the three MVP finalists. That and the league’s other individual awards will be presented Monday night at the NBA Awards show.
Harden was the league’s top scorer on a Rockets team that had the NBA’s best record, giving him a strong chance to finally capture the MVP award after finishing as the runner-up twice.
The Rockets walked away with Coach of the Year for Mike D’Antoni and Sixth Man of the Year for Eric Gordon last year at the inaugural NBA Awards. Gordon has a chance to repeat, while center Clint Capela is one of three finalists for Most Improved Player.
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