The NBA gives out Player of the Week awards in each conference. No one actually cares about Player of the Week awards. What happens is the NBA announces the winners on any given Monday, a couple hundred NBA reporters simultaneously tweet out the news (as with all press releases from the league), and no one pays it another thought. Does anyone actually know for sure how Player of the Week is decided? I like to think Adam Silver personally selects the Players of the Week in his Monday morning packet, when he’s signing paperwork and looking over memos from his executive team.
Well, people noticed the Player of the Week award this week because the league gave the Western Conference edition to Carmelo Anthony, who averaged 22 points per game as the Blazers went 3-0 in his triumphant return to the NBA. James Harden played just twice in the week but averaged 47 (including scoring 60 in three quarters). Luka Doncic averaged 30-9-9 as the Mavericks went 2-1.
And yet, if you’re actually mad that Carmelo Anthony won an award that you didn’t care about before the announcement and for which you couldn’t not name last week’s winner, the joke’s on you. Melo is the best story in basketball right now, and one that extends beyond the sport. This is a well-loved legend who was cast aside by basketball’s long-range revolution (and some of his own stubbornness, to be sure). He never gave up hope that he’d be back. And he stayed in such good shape and committed himself so much to the project that he got signed and immediately performed well enough to earn a Player of the Week honor.
A Player of the Week award would be meaningless to Harden or Luka. It’s validation of continued relevance for Melo. I’m glad Adam Silver awarded it to him in between signing expense reports and timesheets.
Suns 109, Hornets 104
Jazz 94, Sixers 103
Warriors 79, Hawks 104
Pacers 117, Grizzlies 104
Knicks 88, Bucks 132
Bulls 113, Kings 106
All times Eastern. Games on League Pass unless otherwise noted.
Pistons at Cavaliers, 7
Magic at Wizards, 7
Heat at Raptors, 7:30
Mavericks at Pelicans, 7:30, TNT
Rockets at Spurs, 8:30
Lakers at Nuggets, 9
Blazers at Clippers, 10, TNT
Caitlin Cooper on how Domantas Sabonis dominates while standing still.
I wrote about how the Raptors are doing this (this being having the third best record and second best net rating in the league). The lead art includes a photo that is perhaps the best use of photography ever? No shots at Ansel Adams or Alfred Stieglitz.
Matt Ellentuck on James Harden and his destruction of normalcy.
This piece on the false promise of morning routines piqued my interest. I will say that even reliable morning routines are perhaps more suspectible than other routines to complete annihilation by the slightest disruption. You know how hard it is to troubleshoot your router at 3 a.m. when the wi-fi is down?
John Schuhmann writes that the Lakers and Sixers are due for tough December slates. Good thing one of those teams got fed on a breezy November schedule.
Be excellent to each other.