Injuries expected to sideline LeBron James and Joel Embiid for multiple weeks have shaken up the chase for the Most Valuable Player award. Nikola Jokic is now the frontrunner to win the wide-open race for the award, according to Chris Sheridan of Basketball News. Betting sites FanDuel, Draft Kings, BetMGM and PointsBet.com have made the Nuggets’ All-Star big man the favorite.
We have more tidbits from around the basketball world:
- The Thunder possess a boatload of first-round picks, some veterans with trade appeal and plenty of trade exceptions. That’s why Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report ranks Oklahoma City No. 1 in terms of trade assets. Pincus lists each team by the value of its trade assets.
- Raptors 905 guard Gary Payton II has been named the G League Defensive Player of the Year, according to a G League press release. The league’s head coaches and GMs voted on the award. Payton II led the league in steals per game (2.54), including nine games with two or more steals.
- Nuggets guard Monte Morris has committed to the Nigeria national team for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweets. Mike Brown will coach the team, which also includes NBA players Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu and Ekpe Udoh.