Doncic, Antetokounmpo betting favorites to win 2023 NBA MVP –

Nikola Jokic is the two-time defending NBA MVP, but history would suggest don’t bet on him for a three-peat. The last player to win three MVPs in a row? Larry Bird, from 1984-86. Almost 40 years ago.
But if not Jokic, then who? Which players are the favorite to grab the MVP trophy? The list starts with Luka Doncic. From our partners at Points Bet, here are the dozen players with the lowest odds to win NBA MVP next season (the odds are how much you would win on a $100 bet).
Luka Doncic +450
Giannis Antetokounmpo +600
Joel Embiid +600
Nikola Jokic +1000
Kevin Durant +1000
Stephen Curry +1000
Jayson Tatum +1200
Ja Morant +1400
Devin Booker +2200
Kawhi Leonard +2500
Trae Young +2500
LeBron James +2500
It’s not surprising that Doncic is the odds-on favorite. He’s an elite player whose team just lost their No. 2 shot creator — his load just got heavier and his counting stats likely will up. If he comes into the season in shape and ready to play, he has a legitimate shot.
If not Doncic, my money would be on Joel Embiid, who has finished second to Jokic each of the past two seasons and should be in the mix again. Even if James Harden is healthy and taking on some of the scoring load, and Tyrese Maxey takes a step forward, Embiid will put up efficient offensive numbers and be a defensive anchor. He will again be in the mix.
There’s another NBA MVP bet people seem to be leaning into: Zion Williamson, who is +6600 at Points Bet.
#1 most bet on for NBA MVP at @CaesarsSports:
Zion Williamson at 55/1.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 29, 2022

Two bets I would not make: Kevin Durant and LeBron James. It’s not that they are not good enough to win the award or will not have the stats to be in consideration, but both are getting up in age (Durant is 34, LeBron 37) and have an injury history — are they going to play enough games? One of Jokic’s strengths in winning this award the past couple of years is he is on the court — he missed a total of eight games over the last two seasons. LeBron and Durant will likely miss double-digit games (same with Kawhi Leonard) as their teams look ahead to the postseason rather than be focused on winning a random Tuesday game in December.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Doug McDermott hit four 3-pointers and scored all 14 of his points in the second half and the San Antonio Spurs beat Philadelphia 114-105 on Sunday night to send the 76ers to their third straight loss to open the season.
“We are learning that we can play with anyone,” McDermott said. “We had a good win last night (against Indiana) and we didn’t get complacent. We came out and competed against a really good team.”
Devin Vassell scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half, and Keldon Johnson had 21. Coming off a 134-137 victory at Indiana on Friday night, the Spurs were 16 for 38 from 3-point range and had a 40-10 advantage in bench points.
“We worked real hard,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “The quick turnaround is not what any of us love, but we all have them. What it showed me was they are serious about getting better and knowing what the league is like. I thought that was pretty impressive.”
Joel Embiid had 40 points as Philadelphia fell to 0-3 for the first time since 2016-17.
Dime City™ from Joel Embiid 👌
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 22, 2022

Tyrese Maxey added 25 points, Tobias Harris had 15 and James Harden 12.
“Defensively, we have to connect better,” Embiid said. “We’re not guarding the ball well. We need to work on that. It’s a fairly new team and it’s going to take time to get everyone on the same page. But we’ll be fine.”
San Antonio (2-1) was more efficient defensively than in either of its first two games, where it yielded 131.5 points on average. The Spurs forced the 76ers into 12 turnovers and limited the second-chance points to 14.
The Spurs were effective in limiting good looks for Harden, who had averaged 33 points and shot over 54% in each of the first two games. Harden was 4 for 17 from the field, going 1 of 5 from 3-point range.
“We didn’t execute our offense well in the final four minutes and down the stretch,” Popovich said. “But we played hard on defense, we executed and we played with a lot of grunt. I think that’s what got us through.”
McDermott’s shots off the bench came at crucial moments, including eight straight midway through the fourth quarter after Philadelphia had erased a 10-point deficit and grabbed a lead.
“My role is to come in and provide a spark and make those shots,” McDermott said. “Either I come in and do that or run around and allow guys to get free for shots. That’s what the coaches tell me to do. So, if I can do that, I’m going to. And we needed that tonight.”
There are going to be some fines handed down for this one.
The Raptors Christian Koloko and Heat’s Caleb Martin were ejected from Saturday’s game after a fight for rebounding position turned into a scuffle that fell into the first row of seats.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 23, 2022

The fight started with 7:46 left in the third quarter when Pascal Siakam took a corner 3 and Martin and Koloko were fighting for rebounding position. The two got tangled up, Koloko went to the ground, Martin came over and stood over him, Koloko quickly bounced back up, the Martin took it to the next level tackling the Raptors’ big man into the first row.
Both men were called for technicals and ejected. Martin also picked up a foul on the play. Both will end up paying fines for this, but Martin’s should be steeper.
Miami held on for a 112-109 win in a game they led comfortably much of the way. It’s the first win of the season for the Heat.
Victor Wembanyama. Scoot Henderson.
Two franchise-changing players sit at the top of the 2023 NBA Draft, and there has been plenty of talk around the league about teams pivoting and taking this season after an injury or slow start, even if they have a limited shot at landing a top pick. It’s a strong draft at the top beyond those two potential cornerstones, and for many teams a chance at a player like Wembanyama is worth more than a play-in game or two.
Adam Silver says the league has taken note. Silver talked about tanking during a Q&A with Suns employees this week, as reported by Baxter Holmes of ESPN.
“We put teams on notice,” Silver told employees. “We’re going to be paying particular attention to the issue this year…
“It’s something we have to watch for,” Silver said. “A draft is, in principle, a good system. But I get it, especially when there is a sense that a once-in-a-generation player is coming along, like we have this year.”
Words and a memo are nice, but what exactly can Silver and the league office do beyond that? In theory they could fine a team or take away draft picks for blatant tanking,  but that would require proof of intending to lose games — teams are smart enough to avoid that. From long rests for relatively minor injuries to leaning into playing their youth for experience, there are legitimate basketball reasons teams can come up with, reasons that just happen lower their odds of winning.
The NBA took steps to reduce tanking a few years back by flattening out the lottery odds — the three worst teams have only a 14% chance of the No. 1 pick — and creating the play-in tournament to spark late-season races and give teams something to play for. That has worked for a couple of years, but Wembanyama changes the equation — that kind of player can turn a franchise into a contender, and for an owner add $500 million or more to the team’s worth. Teams will tank for a chance to land a player like that.
Silver said the NBA did look into the idea of relegation — as seen in European soccer leagues, where the worst teams go down a level and the best teams go up — but said it doesn’t work for the NBA and its economic model.
So the NBA has to come up with other ideas to keep teams from tanking. Good luck with that in a season where Wembanyama is the prize.
After missing Chicago’s first two games of the season due to left knee injury management, Zach LaVine will make his season debut against the Cavaliers in Chicago on Saturday.
Billy Donovan told reporters on Friday that LaVine would be available for this game, but the injury report that was released Saturday afternoon confirmed Donovan’s comments.
Billy Donovan says Zach LaVine should play tomorrow
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) October 21, 2022

LaVine missed some games late last season because of this knee and had arthroscopic surgery on it in May after Chicago was eliminated from the playoffs. He seemed to be fine in the preseason before missing the first two games of the year.
With the arrival of DeMar DeRozan, Chicago returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 last year, which was LaVine’s first taste of postseason basketball. He also made his first All-Star appearance, averaging 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Bulls.
If the team wants to build on last season’s success, they’ll need LaVine healthy. Lonzo Ball is out indefinitely with his knee issues, so LaVine missing games would derail Chicago’s hopes of making it past the first round for the first time since 2015.
LaVine should immediately return to the starting lineup for the Bulls, where he’ll join DeRoza, Ayo Dosunmu, Patrick Williams and Nikola Vucevic. Alex Caruso, who had been starting at shooting guard, will likely return to a bench role.


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