G – Russell Westbrook – Favorited to win MVP by many, barring how many wins he can lead the Thunder to this year, Westbrook is a lock to be an All Star Game starter. Without Kevin Durant on the team, Westbrook will have the ball in his hands a lot more, and with that will come even bigger and more impressive numbers.
G – Stephen Curry – The reigning two time MVP is also a heavy favorite to start in the backcourt for the West, and if he can come anywhere close to his production from a season ago, the spot is his to lose. The only thing keeping him out of the starting lineup is if Kevin Durant is featured more heavily in the offense.
F – Kevin Durant – His move to the Warriors may hinder his production slightly due to the amount of talent on the roster, but that will not stop Durant from being a dominant force in this league. He is the best forward in the West, and is a lock to start.
F – Kawhi Leonard – Leonard finished second in MVP voting last season, and while I do not see him finishing quite as high this year, his growth each season has been very impressive. The Spurs are officially his team now, and he will have to have a huge season if they want any chance at knocking off the Warriors for top spot in the West.
C – Demarcus Cousins – The Kings have made no progress this offseason in becoming a better team, and without Rondo, Cousins will have an even bigger role in the offense than he already does. He is without a doubt the best center in the league, and this year he’s going to have to prove it to make the Kings relevant.
G – James Harden – With Dwight Howard out of town and numerous new additions to the lineup, Harden looks to contend for the MVP award this season. Due to the starting lineup being voted on by fans, it is doubtful that he will beat out fan favorites Curry and Westbrook, but expect a monster year from the best shooting guard in the NBA.
G – Chris Paul – Paul is another guy who could be in contention to win the MVP award based on his team’s success. The Clippers are favorited to be second in the West, and if Paul plays the way he is capable of playing, he will easily make the roster for the West.
G – Damian Lillard – It is about time people start respecting Lillard as one of the best players at his position, and after being snubbed from the team last year, Lillard will prove to everyone why he deserves to represent the West. The Trail Blazers look to add to their unexpected previous success this season, and Lillard will be looked upon to lead them to success.
F – Anthony Davis – The Pelicans probably won’t be very good this season, but that wont stop their young star from flourishing. Assuming he stays healthy, he has a great chance to once again represent the West. He is a once in a generation talent who is hoping to take his game to superstar status this year.
F – Blake Griffin – The Clippers are the favorites to get the two seed in the West, and that is mostly due to Griffin returning to 100% health. If he stays healthy all year, he could put up some huge numbers on a very good Clippers team.
WC – Klay Thompson – Thompson will more than likely get the short end of the stick on the offensive end for the Warriors this year, but he is still capable of putting up huge numbers at any moment. His production will decrease, but he is still a good enough player to make the West roster.
WC – Karl Anthony-Towns – After a fantastic rookie season, Towns could possibly take a huge step forward with his play this year. He can do it all on both ends, and if he puts it all together he is a matchup nightmare for anyone. With the Timberwolves finally looking ready to make a playoff push, Town has to be up for the challenge of becoming a go-to guy as a second year player.
Eagles’ Jalen Mills Arrested
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested in Washington D.C following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, according to the Associated Press’ Howard Fendrich (via the Washington Post).
Both men were charged with disorderly affray, which is described as fighting in a public place.
According to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, a verbal altercation broke out between the two that escalated into a physical fight that took place on the sidewalk.
Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight with Mills and upon his release he was taken to to department’s 2nd District station where Mills was detained.
Mills and Robinson were “involved in a verbal altercation which escalated into a physical altercation on the sidewalk adjacent to the Opera Night Club” in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the police report.
Both teams have since responded, with the Wizards essentially parting ways with Robinson due to the incident.
“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season,” the Wizards said in a statement.
The Eagles issued a statement saying that they are “aware of the situation” and “continuing to gather more information.”
Mavs’ Kristaps Porzingis Accused of Rape in New York
Dallas Mavericks big man and former New York Knick Kristaps Porzingis is being investigated back New York for an alleged rape that a woman told police took place sometime last year, according to the New York Post.
The woman, who informed police about the alleged rape on Thursday, says that she waited more than a year to come forward regarding the incident because she had discussed receiving $68,000 from Porzingis to keep quiet.
Roland G. Riopelle, the attorney for Porzingis, has since denied the allegations and has said they had previously referred the case to federal authorities due to the “accuser’s extortionate demands.”
“We are aware of the complaint that was made against Mr. Porzingis on Friday and unequivocally deny the allegations,” Riopelle said. “We made a formal referral to federal law enforcement on Dec. 20, 2018, based on the accuser’s extortionate demands. We also alerted the National Basketball Association months ago, and they are aware of the ongoing investigation of the accuser by federal law enforcement. We cannot comment further on an ongoing federal investigation. Please refer any questions to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the National Basketball Association.”
The woman alleges that the incident took place on February 7th, 2018, at the Sky building in New York, where Porzingis lived, just hours following Porzingis suffering a torn ACL, the injury that has kept him off the court for more than a year.
An NBA spokesman said the league is aware of the situation while the Knicks’ team spokesperson said; “This is Kristaps’ personal matter and not related to the Knicks.” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated that the team is aware of the situation but “we have been instructed by federal authorities not to comment.”
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks had informed the Mavericks of the pending Porzingis rape allegations during a trade call with NBA headquarters, that took place on January 31st, that finalized the deal that sent Porzingis to the Mavericks.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department issued the following: “The NYPD takes sexual assault and all rape cases extremely seriously, and urges anyone who has been a victim to file a report so we can perform a comprehensive investigation, and offer support and services to survivors.”
Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins Says Fans Have Called Him ‘N—-r’, Says He’s Reported it to League
Golden State Warriors big man DeMarcus Cousins is speaking out about how NBA fans treat players, revealing that fans have called him the N-word during games and stating that he had reported the incidents to the league.
Cousins discussed the incidents during an interview with Chris Haynes on the ‘Posted Up’ podcast:
“Oh, I’ve been called n—-r, and it’s crazy because this has happened to me on a few occasions. I reported it to the league, and, you know, I may have said whatever I said back, and I was still punished for it. But obviously it became a bigger issue when it was Russ [Westbrook] and he was still fined for it. I don’t really understand it. We’re the product. We push this league. So, I don’t understand. When does our safety, when does, it become important?”
While Cousins spoke candidly about his experiences, he did not specific which cities in which he heard the racial slurs.
“I don’t really want to, because I’m not really trying to put a label on an entire fan base” Cousins said when discussing which cities he heard the slurs. T”here are ignorant individuals in every city. I’ll just put it like that. [NBA] tells you to ignore it, or whatever the case may be. But how many times am I supposed to ignore that? Me coming from where I come from [Mobile, Alabama]. They lucky all they got was a response.”
While Cousins did not mention any cities or teams, Haynes reported that one city was Sacramento, where Cousins spent the majority of his career playing for the Kings.
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