Antetokounmpo has the numbers to win MVP. He’s third in the league in scoring with 27.6 points per game, and he’s filling up the box score on a nightly basis with 10.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He’s also in the best two-way player conversation with Durant (and other players such as Butler, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis and, when healthy, Kawhi Leonard). To go along with his efficient scoring, Antetokounmpo is comfortable guarding all five positions and can make enough plays at the rim to make players think twice about attacking the hoop.
Take that off the court, and the Bucks collapse on both ends. According to NBA.com, they go from scoring 109.1 points per 100 possessions to 102.8 points per 100 possessions when Antetokounmpo is on the bench. The defense suffers even more: 103.6 points per 100 possessions with Antetokounmpo on the court and 112.2 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench.
Expected not to re-sign Dontari Poe this offseason, the Falcons need a big-bodied interior defensive lineman who keep their explosive linebackers clean and Grady Jarrett free to attack on the inside. Payne can do just that.
But I’m confident that they’ll be able to do a good job of keeping this team playing hard and playing together. That’s what we’ll be looking at moving forward.
Hornacek will have a chance to show that he is the right coach to lead the team forward over the final two months of the season. Recent results, though, haven’t been pretty. New York has dropped eight in a row and has won just seven of its past 30 games.
Perry and Mills have said consistently that they wanted to see this year’s team show improvement on defense. The Knicks enter play Thursday ranked 18th in defensive rating, up seven spots from last season. They have had some poor outings on defense, but there hasn’t been an extended stretch in which it was obvious that the club wasn’t giving enough effort. Where that leaves Hornacek after the season is unclear.