The Ringer’s O’Connor has 3 Suns earning NBA season honors

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Arizona Sports 10 May, 2021 - 02:30pm 11 views

What is the play in tournament NBA?

The play-in tournament is a new -- and hopefully exciting -- way for the league to determine the eight playoff teams from each conference. CBSSports.comNBA play-in tournament explained: What to know about league's playoff format change, and why it's so important

When is the NBA play in tournament?

When is it? The Play-In Tournament begins Tuesday, May 18 and concludes Friday, May 21. The playoffs will then continue as normal on May 22. The second half of the regular season will be followed by the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament, May 18-21! Sky SportsNBA Play-In Tournament: Everything you need to know

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams talks to Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) and Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) during a timeout in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Sunday, April 25, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

A meteoric rise by the Phoenix Suns this season has a handful of their contributors being named as top candidates for the NBA’s regular season awards.

At The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor’s ballot for 2020-21 regular season honors includes three Suns — but none of them are Devin Booker. Monty Williams (NBA Coach of the Year), point guard Chris Paul (All-NBA Second Team) and wing Mikal Bridges (All-Defensive Second Team) earned recognition from O’Connor.

Paul did not make the cut as a top-five player in the MVP debate, though there’s a chance he could still sneak in to O’Connor’s list by the end of the week.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic appears to be a head above the rest of the candidates, but Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry are right in the conversation.

O’Connor certainly believes Paul should land on an All-NBA team, but he doesn’t have room for Booker, who is averaging 25.5 points and 4.4 assists per year.

And with every choice, I tried to weigh both ends of the court with games played and intangibles. That’s why Paul is getting some top-five MVP hype and should be a lock for All-NBA. He is averaging only 16 points and nine assists, but he gives his team what it needs to play at an optimal level. He remains a dominant playmaker and clutch shotmaker. He sets the tone on defense. And he’s played all but one game, establishing culture and bringing leadership every day.

I’ve had multiple front office executives argue that Paul should be first or second on All-NBA ballots. What they’re really arguing for is an acknowledgment of the unmeasurable yet known impact he makes beyond the stat sheet. It will be fascinating to see what other voters decide.

What’s another realistic avenue for the Suns to get some acknowledgment?

Williams has juice as the top NBA Coach of the Year candidate, not only because his team appears set to finish with the second-best record in the Western Conference, but because other teams don’t have that fresh of a narrative factored in.

The Bucks, Sixers, Lakers, Jazz, Clippers and Nuggets have won before this season and were expected to compete for a title.

Like the rising Suns, the New York Knicks are a surprise this year. Head coach Tom Thibodeau is Williams’ biggest challenger for the honor because of his team’s respective turnaround, writes O’Connor.

Williams will be my choice to win Coach of the Year after installing new wrinkles in Phoenix seemingly each month this season. He has cultivated an unselfish environment, blending veterans and young players, all for the common goal of winning games.

On the All-Defensive Second Team, Bridges makes the cut. O’Connor has an All-Defensive First Team backcourt of Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, plus All-Defensive Second teamer Matisse Thybulle of the Sixers joining Bridges.

Ultimately, Bridges and Thybulle get the nod for the second team guard spots. Bridges is the centerpiece of Phoenix’s sixth-ranked defense. The Suns use him as an on-ball stopper across all positions, and he’s active and smart defending off the ball.

Read full article at Arizona Sports

Playoff probabilities of the Blazers, Lakers & Mavs all fighting for the 5th seed

NBC Sports 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

The Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Lakers are all fighting for the fifth and sixth seeds in the West to avoid the play-in tournament. 

Heading into Monday's slate of games, here's everything you need to know.

5. Dallas Mavericks (40-28 GB) | Remaining Games: @ MEM, NO, TOR, @ MIN

6. Portland Trail Blazers (39-29, 1.0 GB) | Remaining Games: HOU, @ UTA, @ PHX, DEN

7. Los Angeles Lakers (38-30, 2.0 GB) | Remaining Games: NYK, HOU, @ IN, @ NOP

Portland owns the tiebreaker over both Dallas and Los Angeles due to winning each season series 2-1. However, a 3-way tie between the teams would result in the Blazers getting the sixth seed due to Dallas winning a 3-way tiebreaker due to being a division winner. 

Odds are from Basketball Reference.

Heading into Monday's game against Houston, the Trail Blazers have a 79.47% chance of avoiding the play-in. That increases to 90.15% with a win and decreases to 75.1% with a loss.

Any combination of Portland wins and Los Angeles losses equaling four. 

It's obvious why the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns would want to avoid playing the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, which is what would happen if the Lakers remain in the seventh seed and participate in the play-in. 

Fortunately for both Utah and Phoenix, they each host Portland this week and have incentives to defeat the Trail Blazers in hopes the Lakers can surpass them in the standings. 

Utah needs the combination of Jazz victories and Suns losses to equal three to clinch the first seed in the Western Conference because Phoenix owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. 

Also, Denver plays Portland to end the regular season and it's possible the Nuggets could have incentives to either win or lose the game to avoid the Lakers in the first round. 

Another battle that will directly affect the Trail Blazers is the battle for No. 3 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets. 

While it's possible for either team to move into second, it's quite unlikely, so odds are one of the two teams will be Portland's opponent if the Trail Blazers avoid the play-in.

Odds are from Basketball Reference.

Odds are from Basketball Reference.

Playoff probabilities of the Blazers, Lakers & Mavs all fighting for the 5th seed

NBC Sports 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

The Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Lakers are all fighting for the fifth and sixth seeds in the West to avoid the play-in tournament. 

Heading into Monday's slate of games, here's everything you need to know.

5. Dallas Mavericks (40-28 GB) | Remaining Games: @ MEM, NO, TOR, @ MIN

6. Portland Trail Blazers (39-29, 1.0 GB) | Remaining Games: HOU, @ UTA, @ PHX, DEN

7. Los Angeles Lakers (38-30, 2.0 GB) | Remaining Games: NYK, HOU, @ IN, @ NOP

Portland owns the tiebreaker over both Dallas and Los Angeles due to winning each season series 2-1. However, a 3-way tie between the teams would result in the Blazers getting the sixth seed due to Dallas winning a 3-way tiebreaker due to being a division winner. 

Odds are from Basketball Reference.

Heading into Monday's game against Houston, the Trail Blazers have a 79.47% chance of avoiding the play-in. That increases to 90.15% with a win and decreases to 75.1% with a loss.

Any combination of Portland wins and Los Angeles losses equaling four. 

It's obvious why the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns would want to avoid playing the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, which is what would happen if the Lakers remain in the seventh seed and participate in the play-in. 

Fortunately for both Utah and Phoenix, they each host Portland this week and have incentives to defeat the Trail Blazers in hopes the Lakers can surpass them in the standings. 

Utah needs the combination of Jazz victories and Suns losses to equal three to clinch the first seed in the Western Conference because Phoenix owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. 

Also, Denver plays Portland to end the regular season and it's possible the Nuggets could have incentives to either win or lose the game to avoid the Lakers in the first round. 

Another battle that will directly affect the Trail Blazers is the battle for No. 3 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets. 

While it's possible for either team to move into second, it's quite unlikely, so odds are one of the two teams will be Portland's opponent if the Trail Blazers avoid the play-in.

Odds are from Basketball Reference.

Odds are from Basketball Reference.

Podcast: The pros and cons of the Lakers ending up in the play-in tournament, explained

Silver Screen and Roll 10 May, 2021 - 07:03pm

With LeBron James on his way back, it’s possible that the play-in could work out for the Lakers, even if there are clear downsides.

The team itself has continuously maintained that they don’t want to end up in the potential double-elimination scenario, but it also could result in an easier side of the playoff bracket, if the Lakers take care of business. On today’s episode of “Lakers, Explained” — a podcast by Silver Screen and Roll — co-hosts Harrison Faigen and Anthony Irwin dove into the format, and why it could be a double-edged sword for Los Angeles.

On one hand, a healthy Lakers team should be able to win the one game in two tries necessary to make it out of the play-in round they appear destined for by virtue of losing the tiebreakers to both the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks. It also may result in a more favorable playoff matchup, allowing the team to avoid a first-round bout with the LA Clippers.

On the other hand, framing an injured and tired team having to scrap for their lives as any kind of “good” thing could be an exercise in spin, even if there is a chance the path results in an easier opponent for the purple and gold.

After discussing all that, Harrison and Anthony wrapped the show by listing the names they most want to see interviewed for the upcoming Hulu docuseries about the Lakers.

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