5 myths of sports betting legalization

Are fewer people gambling because they can do it in their home state?

There is simply no way the leagues could ask for a percentage piece of gambling revenue, as this would result in a huge conflict of interest. This is the type of financial recklessness associated with problem gambling.

Those who believe this simply don’t understand how sports betting with a bookie works. Second, operators will need to run a cost-effective business, which may prove difficult if there are a lot of other hands to feed besides the government.

Furthermore, once sports betting becomes legal the negative stigma behind it will eventually disappear, which will make it a bit easier for problem gamblers to ask for help. In the past two decades, although total revenue has risen, percentage of revenue from gambling has decreased from close to 60 percent to last year’s 38 percent. However, there are certainly some myths that I believe can be dispelled.. This is not how most bookies work. bookmaking powerhouse William Hill has already set up an operation in New Jersey, and MGM CEO Jim Murren has said his company is interested in expansion.

In that time span, we all know that Vegas has flourished. John McCain (R-Ariz.) also recently said that Congress needs to hold hearings to discuss legalizing sports betting.

Myth No. Concerts, shows, high-end nightclubs and restaurants draw people to Vegas as much as the gambling does. This mirrors a similar concern that some had 25 years ago when Indian and commercial casinos began sprouting up all over the U.S.

Myth No. The two biggest reasons people bet with bookies (beyond the lack of alternatives) are the convenience and the line of credit. How will it be regulated? How involved will the government be? Will it be federal enforcement or on a state level?

Myth No. If it’s legalized, there will be huge changes, but some assumptions are simply off.

Mr. In fact, there’s an argument that exposing more people to sports gambling in their native states will make the general concept of sports gambling more approachable, ultimately leading to a larger overall percentage of sports fans-turned-gamblers.

There are a lot of unanswered questions regarding legalization of sports gambling in the U.S., and it will be fascinating to watch how it unfolds in the next few years. These days, most bookies provide both a phone number and website where bets can be made. (It’s common for bookies to offer rebates to their big customers.) This will be difficult for legal bookmakers to compete with.

The real value for them will be potential marketing dollars and increased fan engagement, not licensing fees for data or direct revenue from wagering.

And I have heard some mention licensing fees for data, but haven’t we already covered that in lawsuits against both the NBA and Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM)? In both cases, statistics and data were ruled to be public, not a private asset for which the leagues could charge a license fee.

At any rate, I really don’t see legalized sports betting in other states having a big impact on the sports betting business in Vegas.

When I think about the best way to legalize sports gambling from a logistical standpoint, I get a headache. 2: It will create more “problem gamblers”

Silver echoed this sentiment when discussing his personal revelation in an exclusive interview with ESPN. The U.S. This year, it is on pace to welcome a record 40 million visitors. Since sports gambling is currently something that happens in the shadows, problem gamblers are likely to hide in that shadow until it is too late.

“One of the things that makes sports betting so interesting is that it is probably by far the most widely participated in form of illegal gambling. 5: It will create greater risk for game fixing

Once games happen, the stats are public domain. 3: It will put local illegal bookies out of business

In the most relevant case, CBC, the parent company of CDM Sports, a fantasy provider, sued MLBAM after being denied a new fantasy sports license. In addition, customers are far more inclined to place a wager when they don’t have to put any money down.

The thought process here is that with legalized sports betting available locally, there will be less interest in making the trek to Sin City to wager on sports. operation for the U.K. Maybe more so.

In addition, game fixing would be easier in a world where fewer people track or are even aware of things like point spreads and over/under bets. Yes, trademark images and logos would be a different story, so I could see the leagues getting marketing deals, but I don’t see that as a huge windfall for the leagues.

My answer is a solid maybe. Those who believe that legalized sports betting will lead to more risk of game fixing simply don’t understand why games are fixed. Some are based on a time frame, while others are based on going over agreed-upon limits. First off, the government will only legalize if it is going to get significant revenue. 1: It will result in large revenue for the leagues

The National Council on Problem Gamblers has found that problem gamblers are most often involved in illegal gambling, so moving toward a model where more gamblers are doing it legally can only help.

Myth No. Legalized sports betting would elevate these now somewhat esoteric notions into the mainstream conversation about sports. District Court Judge Mary Ann Medler ruled in favor of CBC, stating that “statistics are part of the public domain and can be used at no cost by fantasy companies.” One would infer that the same would apply to legal bookmaking operations.

Until many of these questions are answered, it will be difficult to draw any hard conclusions about the ramifications of legalized sports gambling in the U.S. There are going to be a lot of hands in the cookie jar. Many bookies will allow me to get more credit and continue to gamble. Illegal gambling is one of the factors that’s associated with gambling addiction,” Keith S. U.S. “The Donaghy controversy also made me aware how important it is that we have a way of monitoring irregular activity on our games,” Silver said. It’s a pretty reasonable assumption that it’s easier to fix a game in an environment where most of the money wagered is impossible to discover or track by the government. “But for the FBI knocking on our door and notifying us about Donaghy’s betting, none of the systems that we then had in place had captured any betting by Tim Donaghy.”

Here are the top five myths about legalizing sports betting and why they’re wrong:

I understand the argument that legalized sports betting could expose more people to gambling and the increased ease and access will create more problem gamblers, but I simply don’t buy it. 4: It will damage the sports betting business in Las Vegas

I see the same trend happening if sports betting gets legalized in the U.S. If something shady were to occur in a game around a betting proposition, raised awareness by the public about gambling in general would help highlight any improprieties before, during and after the match.

Since bookies will not have to pay taxes or licensing fees, they will be able to offer better margins or incentives to their customers. Say I set up an account with Legal Sportsbook A. Sen. This credit relationship will be hard for many gamblers to give up.

This is the easiest myth to dispel. I will likely have to put money on deposit to do so. In order to grow the pie large enough, these conveniences must be provided to gamblers. Illegal sports betting has some characteristics that can lead to problem gambling more than legal betting would.

Those betting with bookies have predetermined settlement terms. There are no credit checks or margin calls until it is time for me to pay.

Here’s an example. The experience of going to Vegas is becoming less and less about putting down a sports bet and more and more about the experience of everything else. But let’s say I have a bad losing streak and end up down more than $1,000. In addition, asking for a percentage based on the overall handle (total amount wagered) will cut into the margin of the sports books too significantly.

The topic of federal legalization of sports betting has been brought up before, but it has gained steam since Adam Silver’s November New York Times op-ed and after Silver’s cover story in ESPN The Magazine’s Gambling Issue.

While it seems that the question of legalizing sports betting presently is more of an if than a when, there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding what it would look like. Purdum, an expert on the subject, has been vocal in his belief that online sports gambling will need to be a big part of the new legalization plan, and I share his belief, as betting on a phone and computer is simply much more convenient than driving to a brick-and-mortar sports book and making a wager. I am concerned that the overall pie, even with online gambling, may not be large enough for the leagues to make the money they are hoping for.

Las Vegas sports book operators are already looking to expand to other states. When I lose this money, it’s gone, and I can’t bet until I put more money on deposit. Vegas has had to reinvent itself as a place that is about more than just gambling. Whyte, executive director of the NCPG, told my ESPN colleague David Purdum.

Myth No. In the latter case, I set up a credit arrangement with Illegal Book B and we agree that I will pay every time I go over $1,000

NBA awards ballot, Part 1: More wins for the Warriors

Durant seized more possessions, dished more dimes and drove Oklahoma City to a better scoring margin in his non-Westbrook minutes than in the opposite scenario, per NBA.com research.

Defenders have to chase Walker over picks, and that means he can ankle-break his way into the paint — drawing help and opening up 3-point looks for Charlotte’s army of shooters. But you could imagine these Warriors playing good defense without Green; they did under Mark Jackson, using a more traditional scheme. Patrick Patterson’s candidacy suffers from the same lack of raw production, but his 3-point shooting at power forward and ability to guard multiple positions make him a key part of almost every successful Toronto lineup. He hit 3s at nearly a league-average rate, led fast breaks and assisted on 18 percent of Denver’s buckets while on the floor — the fifth-best mark in history for a rookie big. They help in one spot, bend away from another and return there before the offense even realizes anyone was open. Kemba Walker

3. Popovich tweaks the stylistic fringes to fit every new cast, and that’s why this second-place vote isn’t just a lifetime achievement trophy. Remember: I was touting Whiteside early in the season when commentators who didn’t bother digging into even one layer of context would robotically recite the stat showing the Heat defended better with Whiteside on the bench.

That is why Jamal Crawford is a two-time winner and such a popular candidate as he finishes this season with a flourish of crossover goodness. No team plays, and lives, with a better spirit. You trust Stevens’ play calling a bit more than Casey’s in crunch time.

1. There isn’t much difference between them statistically, and Durant reclaimed some control of the Thunder offense once Billy Donovan started staggering the Westbrook/Durant minutes in February. And alas, DeAndre Jordan is not quite as good as his reputation.

Davis’ 21 minutes drove Portland toward the unexpected. Both will make a lot of ballots, and that’s fine.

Additional apologies to: Crawford, Turner, Patterson, Thompson, Mirza Teletovic,  Jeremy Lin, Shaun Livingston, Dennis Schroder, Clint Capela, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison, Patty Mills, Cory Joseph, Manu Ginobili, Bismack Biyombo and Matthew Dellavedova.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

There are seven candidates for the last four spots: the four listed, plus Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry and Draymond Green. For all the angst over whether Leonard can generate offense when everything else stalls out in crunch time, he ranks among the league’s best one-on-one scorers — from both the perimeter and the post, per Synergy Sports research.

Green is the firing brain circuitry of perhaps the greatest team ever, nearly as important to Golden State’s top-five defense as Curry is to their all-time offense. He’s a slick passer from the post, the elbows and in transition.

Also: Win 72 games — and maybe 73! — and I break my long-standing rule of voting for Popovich every season.

I have an official ballot again this year, so these votes count. Most of the Clippers’ bench mobs have stunk, anyway. Leonard doesn’t think, or pass, two steps ahead of the defense, and he’s not strong enough to bulldoze his way to the rim every damn time. You cannot imagine Golden State with a league-average point guard in Curry’s place. Redick and Jordan. Brutes with touch and the heft to get into Whiteside’s body have done damage on the block; opponents have hit 51 percent of their post-up shots against him, per Synergy Sports research, 10th worst among 72 defenders who have faced at least 75 post-ups this season.

This is like choosing between Elastic Man and a fire-breathing version of The Thing. The first type is packed: Gary Harris, Doug McDermott, Clint Capela, Rodney Hood, JaMychal Green, Jerami Grant and many more. He has been a two-way force with the inside-outside skill set a big-man star needs in the modern NBA. Iguodala laps the field as a playmaker and defender. Houston found something last season as a carefree, go-go outfit, brought back the same cast and fell apart amid chemistry issues, laziness and a staleness of spirit. Do that now, and Walker is roasting you from deep.

Durant gets the nod by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin. He blew them away. Kristaps Porzingis

3. He loosed Isaiah Thomas without worrying about his defensive limitations, encouraged Avery Bradley to chuck more 3s and pushed Jae Crowder to test his off-the-bounce game. Their ascension is almost expected. Davis has better stats across the board: 61 percent from the floor as a basket vulture, the fourth-best offensive rebounding rate in the league and much better rim-protection numbers.

Creating a cohesive ethos that sticks is a rare thing. He finally made good. What a season.

I lean toward Green because of his versatility — and especially his unique ability, at 6-foot-6, to credibly guard centers. A lead ball handler polishing his long-range shot is the rare isolated skill development that ripples across an entire roster. There was almost nothing in Mahinmi’s dossier to suggest he could work as the dive man in a semi-functional pick-and-roll offense. A lot of bench-heavy units are light on shot creators and need someone, anyone, to chuck when the shot clock dwindles. Popovich re-centered his offense around Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge without completely losing the pass-first mojo that powered the 2012-2015 versions of the Spurs borg; you especially see it on bench-heavy units. The bigs who might normally displace him have battled injuries, or slipped a bit from peak form: Joakim Noah, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Rudy Gobert, Andrew Bogut, Tim Duncan, Anthony Davis and a few others. Will Barton

3. Green and Curry lean on each other, and lift the team together, but the value gap between them is large enough to shove Green off this ballot.

Lowry became a superstar, always in hunched motion, waiting to spring into open space when you take a breath. Isolating a coach’s work from Halloween through tax day is a strange conceit.

A word on the Leonard-LeBron debate: LeBron at full throttle is the better player, and perhaps still the best player in the league. It takes nurturing over years. C.J. He might win, and he’d deserve it.

SIXTH MAN AWARD

1. Kevin Durant

5. Ed Davis

Clifford reimagined Charlotte’s offense as a high-octane triple machine without conceding an inch on any of his conservative (basketball) principles: low turnovers, fast-break paranoia, and killer defensive rebounding. Thompson has been great, but the Cavs would have finished first or second in the East even if he had held out the whole season. 2 option for the Knicks. The Warriors would have to reinvent their entire offense, and they might not be very good.

Additional apologies to (deep breath): Barton, Crowder, Capela, Whiteside,  Kent Bazemore, Zach LaVine, Allen Crabbe, Evan Fournier, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lance Thomas, Khris Middleton, Marvin Williams, Reggie Jackson and many other nice people.

He has also played 900 more minutes than Jokic, the equivalent of 19 full games, while shouldering a much heavier load; Jokic averages a hair fewer than 10 points per game, and sometimes looks reluctant to assert himself. Kawhi Leonard

3. He’s a horse on the glass, always does his job in transition and plays hard on every damn possession.

He didn’t just maintain his per-minute stats over triple the minutes. LeBron James

4. It’s a little corny how Boston’s Stevens talks about wanting players to “soar with their strengths,” but he lives up to the motivational mantra. You could build an argument for James Harden, carrying the wheezing wraith of Houston on his back, but he showed up out of shape and played zippo defense for a would-be contender about to limp into the No. He became a different player.

He’s not LeBron in those situations. Only Rick Carlisle, a confirmed warlock, and perhaps now Kerr can touch Pop’s in-game strategy and lineup optimization.

Porzingis can’t match Jokic’s advanced numbers, and he actually shot a tick worse from downtown. He empowered Curry to test the limits of his revolutionary game, sold stars on passing and cutting, convinced big names to sacrifice and gave everyone a voice in choosing strategies. He sure scored a lot, though!  Devin Booker got started too late, defended air and finished with an ugly — if understandable — uptick in turnovers. Paul Millsap

None of the league’s perimeter stoppers — including Paul George and Jimmy Butler — matched the consistency of these three studs.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Walker reinvented only one part of his game, but that single change — morphing into an above-average 3-point shooter — transformed everything for the Hornets. Other teams fear Westbrook. 5 or No. But he’s plenty good, with a jumper that clicked as LeBron’s broke apart, and he has been the league’s second-best player.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Crawford’s limitations on defense matter even more when he plays with those guys, since that means he’s probably also playing against opposing starters — lineups that might not offer him a safe hiding spot.

The fully engaged Warriors are a perfectly coordinated swarm. They don’t think of him much at all, really. Everything about the Warriors — their style, their identity, their strut — emanates from his historically unprecedented shooting.

I understand if some readers might not be able to identify Jokic if he walked by them. Being a low-key dude in Utah and Atlanta will do that.

He redefined the tone of the organization the moment he walked in the door. Chicago lost its way, and by the end of the season, the Bulls were just throwing crap against the wall on offense — lifeless possessions with no purpose. But Porzingis logged nearly 400 more minutes and did heavy lifting as the No. The Magic still don’t know what in the hell they are.

But from start to finish, Leonard had the better season, for the better team. If you’re looking for a high-volume chaos engine, this is your guy.

The Blazers snagging the No. Both engineer decent shots from nothing, but only LeBron can steamroll to the rim almost whenever he wants. He would be a star anywhere. Most of those chuckers can slide into a secondary role alongside starters in crunch time.

This was just a brutal category.

The final spot came down to a bunch of guys whose teams play together, play hard and know who they are: Stotts, Dwane Casey, Brad Stevens, Steve Clifford, Erik Spoelstra, Dave Joerger, Quin Synder, Stan Van Gundy, Mike Budenholzer and Carlisle. We don’t do a good enough job noting the other three or four bets that come up snake eyes, leaving shooters open and hanging teammates out to dry. Westbrook’s decision-making at money time can be scattershot.

Barton and Enes Kanter might represent superior versions of the classic Crawford candidacy. Much of that gravitates from Stotts. He doesn’t take possessions off. He logs about 21 minutes per game, the same as Kanter, and half-dozen fewer than Tristan Thompson, his burlier doppelgänger in Cleveland, working the same role as a hybrid, rim-running big.

Coming later this week: my picks for All-NBA, All-Rookie and All-Defense.

But you can’t make a case based on a single, all-in-one stat, especially one questioned by team insiders with access to the real secret sauce: analytics derived from SportVU tracking data. Towns kills by those metrics, sources tell me, and he laps the field by most other public statistical measures.

Walker vowed for years he would do this. They respect Paul, but they don’t shudder at the possibility of him smashing through their entire team — and the concept of normal basketball — for two or three pivotal minutes.

That leaves an impossible choice between Westbrook and Durant — a choice that almost seems unfair given the Thunder’s hit-or-miss supporting cast. Stotts placed cast-offs and unknowns around Lillard and forged a playoff team in Portland.

The only drama comes in the last four spots, which means it really doesn’t matter much for historical purposes. Paul can’t match Westbrook’s gaudy triple-double numbers, or turn a game on its head with 45 seconds of snarling athleticism. He is much better than his traditional numbers suggest. Crawford thrives with Paul, J.J. Even piss-poor bench lineups relying on such tough jumpers can redistribute some of those shots to other players, and not lose much. He stabilized the team’s iffy defense with some key midseason tweaks, including a few that nudged players into uncomfortable new challenges. Without further ado:

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

He’s also a better, more versatile defender — quick enough to guard any wing, and so long, he can dart in from the strong side to snuff a drive and veer back to a sharp shooter without conceding a thing. There is some merit to that. That culture of openness and community held up as Kerr recovered. He envelopes opponents, and he’d be the captain of my Mirror Guy team for defenders who move in such exact sync with a ball handler, it almost appears as if the ball handler is dueling with a reflection.

1. An MVP sharpening skills-within-skills to transform into an historic superstar might be the hardest advance, and certainly the most unusual. Opponents for years clogged Charlotte’s dreary offense by ducking under screens against Walker, walling off his driving lanes and leaving the Bobcats/Hornets heaving up junk late in the shot clock. The Raptors love Casey and play hard for him. Young players get better with experience, and they get to play more.

Traditionally, this is an award for gunners. The Blazers don’t rise from the ashes without McCollum maturing into a borderline star.

You could give the third slot to at least two-dozen guys, but I’m going with Mahinmi, Indy’s only source of reliable front-line play over the full season. Casey, Clifford and Stevens were the final, painful cuts; all of them have real arguments for the top spot.

He likes to hang back on the pick-and-roll, inviting disaster against sharpshooters like Curry and Damian Lillard, who need only a sliver to unleash pull-up 3s upon turning the corner. He can play with any lineup, and against any lineup. Green is the yapping nervous system of that defense.

But those teams had more continuity in talent; we knew most of them would be at least decent. By some measures, the dude is wrapping up one of the best all-around seasons ever for a rookie center. They are active with such synchronization; you barely notice the activity. He has remade himself into a natural fit for Stotts’ catch-and-go system, and works hard on defense.

He has been Portland’s best big man; he plays a lot of crunch time, and has stepped into an even more important role with Meyers Leonard hurt and Noah Vonleh fading. LeBron resides in another universe as a passer. Green can play up a position for entire games if need be, and that is the launch code to basketball’s nuclear bomb: the Death Lineup, with Green as a sneering, rampaging, fast-breaking center, and shooters raining death around him.

There isn’t a case for anyone else. When two bets in a row hit, it looks spectacular, and we laud Westbrook’s ability to bend the game to his will. He’s just not as good as these other guys.

That left Durant, Westbrook and Paul for two spots. Some combination of injuries, infighting and confusion undid Washington, New Orleans and Phoenix. Jokic has more competition for minutes and touches, but it’s not as if he’s stuck in a loaded roster; the Nuggets are only four games ahead of Minnesota, and Jusuf Nurkic, one of Jokic’s main competitors for playing time, spent half the season injured and in Mike Malone’s doghouse.

There is more to winning basketball than shooting and scoring.

Towns should win unanimously. He works as a co-point guard off the bench, defends the other team’s best wing players, drains 40-plus percent of his corner 3s when Curry is on the floor and shares a genius-level defensive mind-meld with Green.

He’s still bad on defense, but not as bad as he once was. Players embraced those challenges, in part because they thought their coach and their superstar had already embraced them.

Confession: I had no idea what to do with this award once Iguodala started missing games — and with Whiteside ineligible.

So, screw it: I’m going with the blue-collar, unheralded Ed Davis — a journeyman who became essential for Portland, and has long slapped up per-minute numbers that blow away almost every other sixth-man candidate. Gregg Popovich

3. Myles Turner is coming off the bench again.

Kanter might win the damn thing, and I’d have no problem with that. Who doesn’t?

There are too many six-point, five-rebound nights for Davis to win this award, but he deserves a hard look. No one else should get a first-place vote.

This is partly a multiyear achievement award for Kerr and Popovich, and it should be. He had never started more than 12 games, and he entered this season with 107 career assists; ask him to throw a quick-hitter on the move, and he was more likely to fling the ball five rows deep in the stands.

1. Gentle reminder: I consider every speck of information — game film, public stats, secret stats I wrangle up, exchanges of intel with team officials — and I don’t hate your team.

Westbrook is incredible, and he might finish in the top three once the votes are in. He’s already a bright, shining plus at everything: post scoring, jump shooting, passing, defending the rim and scampering around in space. 8 spot with a win over the tanking Kings.

Even so: There are matchups that trouble him. They switch and re-switch without cracking open even the teeniest lanes. Post-up brutes do better against backups; dump the ball to Kanter against some second-unit sad sack, and he’s eating buckets. Stephen Curry

2. Nikola Jokic

Westbrook remains a manic gambler who submarines too many possessions with reckless choices. Draymond Green

2. Terry Stotts

But Curry and Leonard were already so damn good, they had only so far to leap. Evan Turner fills every gap for the Celtics.

Yeah, Iguodala will end up missing 25 percent of the season. Jahlil Okafor missed 35 percent of the season, played some of the worst big-man defense in NBA history and exacerbated an internal crisis with embarrassing off-court behavior. Steve Kerr

2. No one watches the Nuggets — not even in Denver. He can slide more easily between the two big-man positions, hang with guards on switches, and swat damn near everything around the basket.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jabari Parker and Julius Randle are basically rookies. Both guys can defend up a position, but Durant sliding to power forward opens more lineup possibilities than Westbrook muscling a shooting guard.

The Warriors’ offense falls apart without Curry, and for the second straight season, opponents outscored Golden State — by a huge margin — with Curry on the bench. He’s like a five-tool center! If he’s not a top-15 player already, he’s going to be soon.

I gravitate toward the squishy middle — mid-career guys who make an overall leap, or hone one key skill that unlocks other parts of their game. No one is. He also absorbed a larger burden during Griffin’s absence.

This is why, as queasy as it makes me, I can look past the fact that serious health issues kept Kerr off the sideline for half the season. That is remarkable. 3 spot will raise some eyebrows, especially in Miami, where Hassan Whiteside rejected everything in sight. McCollum is really a Category 1 type on a one-year delay, but unlike a lot of young guys thrust into larger roles, he’s pulling this as the second-best player on a playoff team. It’s like a 60-win team pushing for 70 the next season.

But he has developed into the keystone of the league’s stingiest defense since Jan. He isn’t the only one responsible for building it, but he was the driver, and he’s one of the few who’s powerful enough to undermine it if he ever chose.

Millsap’s comfort zone extends across the full court, and every playing style. He doesn’t snap at teammates or manufacture chaos with calculated, passive-aggressive social media fits. People don’t think of Millsap as an elite defender. Kawhi Leonard

3. The drudgery of travel and in-the-moment decision-making are big parts of coaching. Leonard and Green are the two most important, cruelest, most unfair defenders in the league, and it isn’t close. Karl-Anthony Towns

2. Curry has been the best and most valuable player in the NBA — a glitch in the system who transformed a sport. Pair him with a drive-and-kick star like Westbrook or Durant, and Kanter morphs into perhaps the league’s pre-eminent scoring mooch — gobbling up drop-off passes and offensive rebounds when his man leaves to help on a Thunder stud.

D’Angelo Russell combined hot shooting with beyond-his-years playmaking after finally earning Byron Scott’s trust, only to betray Nick Young’s and deflate the Lakers’ locker room.

1. Crowder and Whiteside are matching what they did last season in more limited runs in Boston and Miami, respectively.

But Crawford is barely shooting 40 percent from the floor. Kanter is trying harder this season, and he can usually survive if the other team plays at least one traditional big man.

The bedrock principles of San Antonio’s culture have been unassailable for 20 years. Chris Paul

Below that stratosphere, team identity and culture are fragile. Not here.

But on a night-to-night basis, Paul is the more calming, precise player, and he has to be on the ballot after keeping the Clippers afloat amid Blake Griffin’s injury melodrama.

Mahinmi doubled his career assist total, nearly doubled his scoring average and obliterated almost every past statistical marker — all while maintaining his SMOTHERED CHICKEN presence around the rim on defense. McCollum

2. Some smaller guys can fake it for a possession or two, provided some crisis — like a rebound bouncing in their direction — doesn’t happen. McCollum worked as Portland’s de facto backup point guard when Lillard rested, and the Blazers outscored opponents during those minutes, per NBA.com research. But no other candidate has done enough in every facet of the game to unseat him — especially given Golden State’s historic success.

Stotts empowers players to stretch themselves in his whirring motion offense, knowing that if they feel involved on that end, they’ll buy into the grunt work. Jokic leads all rookies in adjusted plus-minus by a mile; he’s ninth in the whole stinking league, right ahead of DeMarcus Cousins! He’s an intuitive, nasty defender — better than you’d guess, given his ho-hum athleticism.

Two broad player types give me trouble here: the second-year guy who thrives with increased playing time, and the superstar who somehow becomes even better. They’re going to win mega-awards, anyway, and one of them will likely snag the championship.

Somehow, it’s already time to hand out regular-season awards. 6 seed after losing four starters is perhaps the happiest story of the season. Ian Mahinmi

Now, he’s doing stuff like this:

He gets those numbers without gambling, and he can guard any position in a pinch. The NBA is considered the most predictable of the four major U.S. Cousins could crack this ballot if he tried hard all the time. The better team usually wins a best-of-seven series, and the best teams with the best players win championships.

Advanced stats wonks have argued he should win the award, and he has a strong case to leapfrog Porzingis for the No. But Kerr was very much present during his absence, especially when the Warriors were at home.

Choosing Millsap for the No. 2 slot. LeBron can be the fastest all-court defender in the league when he wishes; remember, he outperformed computerized ghost defenders programmed to be perfect!

And this:

Still: Kanter gives back a lot of points, and the Thunder will have to cut his minutes against elite postseason offenses who target him like chum.

I haven’t wrapped my head around what to do with the second type — notably Curry, Green and Leonard. Andre Iguodala

2. Whiteside has been more diligent taking an extra step out toward such players over the past 40 games, but he’s wobbly — and vulnerable to blow-bys — outside his comfort zone.. 1 — a jack-of-all-trades with the speed to extinguish pick-and-rolls 30 feet from the basket, glue-trap hands that rip more steals than almost any big man in league history, and the guts to initiate an airborne collision at the rim. Barton outshot Crawford despite a late-season slump, revved up Denver in transition, rebounded like a power forward and defended more reliably across both wing positions. Millsap is averaging 1.7 blocks per game, by far a career high, and he’s the only rotation player in the league topping 1.7 blocks and 1.7 steals per night.

1. When Stotts asked Davis to defend power forwards so that Leonard could hang closer to the hoop against centers, Davis accepted the shift out of position — and busted his butt to make it work.

Whiteside doesn’t, though he has found another gear over the past three months. It’s a big reason Charlotte gradually found its footing in those minutes when Walker leads the offense without Nicolas Batum as co-pilot.

Leonard might be an even better one-on-one defender, though, and he could toggle between positions more often if Gregg Popovich demanded it. pro sports leagues, and at the top, that’s true