Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is nominated for THIRD STRAIGHT MVP award

Nikola Jokic has his third straight NBA MVP award in sight, but the Denver Nuggets star will need to beat out the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo for the honor.

The three leading vote-getters for the league’s individual awards were announced Friday and the marquee category featured familiar names.

Jokic repeated as MVP last year, with Embiid the runner-up and Antetokounmpo third. The Denver Nuggets center could now become the first player to win three straight MVP awards since Hall of Famer Larry Bird from 1984-86.

Antetokounmpo has also won consecutive MVP awards, in 2019 and 2020, along with an NBA Finals MVP when the Milwaukee Bucks captured the 2021 title. Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers center who won his second straight scoring title, has never won.

The winners will be announced beginning next week.

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid

Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (left) and the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (right) have been nominated for the 2022-23 NBA MVP award. Jokic is the two-time reigning MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) holds his child, Shai, during ceremony in Milwaukee

Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) holds his child, Shai, during ceremony in Milwaukee

The finalists for the other categories:

COACH OF THE YEAR

Mike Brown, Sacramento; Mark Daigneault, Oklahoma City; Joe Mazzulla, Boston.

Brown, who won the award in his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009, is credited with turning around a Kings team that had not reached the postseason since 2006. Now Sacramento is the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs after winning the Pacific Division. 

Mazzulla stepped in as an interim coach before the season when Ime Udoka got a season-long suspension for an improper relationship with a female staffer. Udoka, who guided Boston to the NBA Finals in his first season at the helm, has since been let go in favor of Mazzulla, who signed a long-term contract with the Celtics en route to a second-place finish in the East. 

Daigneault has helped spark a renaissance in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder qualified for the play-in tournament in his third season at the helm. 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Paolo Banchero, Orlando; Walker Kessler, Utah; Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City

The top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Banchero has lived up to expectations with the Magic by averaging a team-high 20 points a game. 

In a surprise to many experts, former Auburn center Walker Kessler not only replaced former Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, in Utah, but may have outplayed the French veteran, who is now in Minnesota. Kessler finished the year averaging 9.2 points and 8.4 rebounds a game this season, while making a remarkable 72-percent of his field-goal attempts and blocking 2.3 shots a game.

Gobert, meanwhile, trailed Kessler in every category besides points.

Williams has been another pleasant surprise. The Santa Clara product has offered a unique combination of inside scoring (4.2 two-point field goals a game) and steady defense for Daigneault’s team, while starting 62 of 75 games. 

Banchero has lived up to expectations with the Magic by leading the team in scoring

Banchero has lived up to expectations with the Magic by leading the team in scoring

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

Jalen Brunson, New York; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City; Lauri Markkanen, Utah

Brunson left Dallas for New York in free agency and hasn’t looked back, averaging a career-high 24 points and 6.2 assists per game, while making a remarkable 41.6 percent of his 3-point attempts. Most importantly, though, he helped turn around a Knicks team that is returning to the playoffs for just the second time since 2013.

Gilgeous-Alexander, or SGA, as he’s known, improved his scoring to a career-best 31.4 points a game – fourth in the NBA this season – while also improving his accuracy at the free-throw line and beyond the arc.

But it might be his ability to get to the line that separates SGA, who averaged an astounding 10.9 free-throw attempts per game in 2022-23.

Markkanen made similar strides while playing for his third team in three seasons. 

Still, the Finnish forward averaged a career-high with 25/6 points a game, while making a solid 39 percent of his 3-point attempts. 

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis; Brook Lopez, Milwaukee; Evan Mobley, Cleveland.

Jackson was a major reason why the Memphis Grizzlies ranked third in the NBA in defensive efficiency in 2022-23, leading the NBA in blocks for the second straight season, this time, with three per game.

Once criticized for his pick-and-roll defense as a member of the Nets, Lopez was one of the most reliable centers at that end of the court this season. Not only did the Bucks rank fifth the NBA in defensive efficiency, but Lopez also led the NBA in total blocks with 193.

Mobley, meanwhile, ranked first in defensive win shares with 4.8 for the season. The Cavs big man also added nine boards a game for the season.  

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR

Malcolm Brogdon, Boston; Bobby Portis, Milwaukee; Immanuel Quickley, New York

CLUTCH PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Jimmy Butler, Miami; DeMar DeRozan, Chicago; De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento

Larry Bird receives his third straight MVP award from commissioner David Stern in 1986

Larry Bird receives his third straight MVP award from commissioner David Stern in 1986

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Sports Event Casino Handicap Description

PK0It means not giving in to each other, and winning 1 point wins all.
0-500/0.5Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses 50%.
0 loss0.5Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses.
1+500.5/1When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 2 points.
1 level1Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the two teams will tie and win by 2 points.
1-501/1.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 2 points.
1 loss1.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins by 2 points.
2+501.5/2When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 3 points.
2 flat2Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the two teams will tie and win all 3 points.
2 losses2/2.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 3 points.
3+502.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 3 points.
3 losses2.5/3When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50%, and all 4 points win.
3 levels3Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the two teams will tie and win all 4 points.
3-503/3.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 4 points.
3 losses3.5When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 4 points.
Sports Event Casino Handicap Description

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Winning the Game: This is one of the most common sports betting variants where players bet on which team or athlete will win the game before it starts.

Handicap Market: This bet is based on point difference, and punters must predict whether the winner's point difference is greater or less than a preset point difference.

Over/Under: This bet is based on the total points scored in the game, and punters must predict whether the total points in the game will be greater or less than the preset score.

Specific Event Markets: This type of betting usually involves specific events in the game, such as first score, player scoring, free throw percentage, etc., and the punter must predict whether the specific event will occur or be achieved.

Online betting: This type of play refers to betting while the game is in progress, and the punter can change the bet at any time and make a decision based on the real-time situation of the game.

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