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#pounditSaturday, September 26, 2020

Basketball

ESPN reporter Maria Taylor addresses her egregious All-NBA voting error

Maria Taylor

ESPN reporter Maria Taylor addressed her egregious All-NBA voting error via Twitter on Saturday.

The NBA on Saturday released the official voting results from all the awards. One voting result that stood out was Taylor’s All-NBA ballot.

The ESPN reporter omitted Anthony Davis from her list. She even voted for Joel Embiid and Bam Adebayo at center over Davis. That made it pretty clear that she had just flat-out forgot about the Los Angeles Lakers big man.

After receiving attention for the issue, Taylor admitted that she had made a “mistake.”

The rest of Taylor’s ballot made plenty of sense. Here is what she had:

1st team: James Harden, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic

2nd Team: Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid

3rd Team: Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Khris Middleton, Pascal Siakam and Bam Adebayo

Leaving Davis off seemed like a clear oversight, because there is no way she would have Adebayo ahead of him otherwise.

This is the second time this week Taylor finds herself in the middle of a controversy. The last one drew some headlines as well.

Bronny James trends after smoking something in video on Instagram

Bronny James

Bronny James became a trending topic on Twitter Saturday over a photo he shared on his Instagram Friday night.

Bronny James, the 15-year-old son of LeBron James, shared a photo on his Instagram Story of him smoking something.

Another version of the photo spread on social media that included a caption about the Nuggets, but it’s unclear whether that was part of the original photo shared by Bronny.

Either way, the jokes were flying on social media as you could expect.

Bronny is a sophomore at Sierra Canyon High School in California. He is a top basketball prospect. His dad’s behavior while supporting Bronny’s teams has been a topic of discussion.

Report: Ty Lawson banned for life from Chinese Basketball Association over racy Instagram post

Ty Lawson

Ty Lawson’s Chinese Basketball Association career is reportedly over thanks to a few social media posts.

Lawson’s team, Fujian Sturgeons, said in a statement on Saturday that Lawson had been dropped by the team over “inappropriate comments” on social media, according to ESPN.

Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reported that Lawson was banned for life by the CBA over a pair of Instagram Story posts, including a photo of Lawson in a sexual pose with a woman.

Lawson spent eight seasons in the NBA after Minnesota picked him 18th overall in 2009. The former North Carolina standout averaged 12.7 points and 6.0 assists per game, mostly with the Denver Nuggets. He’s still just 32, so he likely has more basketball in him. That said, he hasn’t received any notable NBA interest in over two years.

Frank Vogel considering change to Lakers’ starting lineup against Nuggets

Frank Vogel

Frank Vogel saw something that he liked during the Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 1 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Now he could be tweaking his starting lineup accordingly.

Vogel told reporters on Saturday that he is considering starting Dwight Howard for Game 2, per Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet.

JaVale McGee is the Lakers’ usual starter at center, but Howard started the second half over him in Game 1. Howard proved to be a difference-maker, posting 13 points, three rebounds, and two blocks in just 16 minutes.

The reasoning makes sense. Howard is a vertical threat who makes life difficult for Nikola Jokic with his rolls to the rim. On the other end, he is also a slightly more disciplined and versatile defender than McGee is.

Howard admitted he had a hard time with his limited minutes last series. Now however, it looks like he could really be getting his moment to shine.

Steve Nash reveals bold plan for Kevin Durant next season

Steve Nash

Steve Nash will be wasting no time getting creative next season as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

This week on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast, Nash revealed his bold plan for star forward Kevin Durant, who will be returning from injury.

“Kevin, with his length, is a matchup problem for everyone,” said Nash, per Coby Green of SportsNet New York. “Kevin can play all five positions, and I plan to use him in all five positions.”

Nash is already well-familiar with Durant’s skillset, having served as a consultant for the Golden State Warriors during Durant’s time there. The ex-MVP Durant missed all of this season recovering from a torn Achilles. But as an elite scorer and quality ball-handler at 6-foot-10, Durant does have the ability to play anywhere on the floor in today’s positionless game.

We know Durant has a great deal of respect for Nash’s basketball mind. The Nets also do not have any true seven-footers on their current roster. Thus, Durant could headline an exciting new brand of downsized play under Nash.

Ja Morant responds to voter who did not back him for Rookie of the Year

Ja Morant

Ja Morant was one vote away from being named unanimous Rookie of the Year, and he now knows the identity of the media member who didn’t back him.

The NBA released the full balloting for awards on Saturday. As had been previously announced, Morant received 99 of 100 first-place votes in Rookie of the Year balloting. With the release of the ballots, however, we learned that the only voter who didn’t back Morant was Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, who voted for Zion Williamson with Morant in second.

Morant had a response for Cowley, and it was a bit more polite than you might expect.

Morant is right to ask. He had an excellent rookie season, putting up 17.8 points and 7.3 assists per game in 67 games. Williamson was excellent when he played, but he only appeared in 24 games.

The Memphis Grizzlies guard had wanted to know who didn’t vote for him so he could thank the voter for the motivation. He’s essentially kept his word. It can’t be easy to do, as Morant easily could have gotten angry. Instead, he’s taken the high road.

Mike Brown will interview for Pacers head coach job

Mike Brown

Mike Brown is getting another look as a possible NBA head coach once again.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Brown will interview for the vacant Indiana Pacers head coaching position.

The Pacers are lining up potential candidates to replace Nate McMillan, who was fired in August.

Brown comes with extensive head coaching experience. He has two stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as a season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has served as Steve Kerr’s lead assistant with the Golden State Warriors since 2016. That role has won him two titles, and he even went 12-0 as acting coach in the 2017 playoffs with Kerr sidelined due to chronic back issues.

While Brown is getting an interview, it appears the Pacers may already have a preferred candidate for the job.

Giannis Antetokounmpo posts cool photo after winning second NBA MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo came prepared to win his second NBA MVP award.

Antetokounmpo on Friday was named NBA MVP for the second consecutive season. He received 85 first-place votes, compared to 16 for LeBron James.

Antetokounmpo celebrated with a cool photo posted on Instagram that showed him reading a newspaper. The paper had a front-page headline about him winning the second MVP.

Though Antetokounmpo has won two MVP awards already, he still is trying to remain humble. That attitude is reflected in his mentality surrounding his victory.

The Milwaukee Bucks star winning the MVP award had another effect too, and it’s one that won’t please the Nuggets.

LeBron James makes scary admission about MVP race

LeBron James

If you’re the Denver Nuggets, you have to be concerned about the comment made by LeBron James on Friday night.

James had 15 points and 12 assists in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 126-114 win over the Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. He learned earlier in the day that he finished second in the NBA MVP vote behind Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Milwaukee Bucks star got 85 first-place votes, while James received 16.

James admitted that the vote “pis-ed me off.”

Despite being upset, James also acknowledged that Antetokounmpo deserved the award.

So why is this problematic for Denver? If James is angry because he feels slighted over not winning the award, then maybe he will be even more motivated to win the series. That’s bad news for Denver.

For now, it was actually Anthony Davis who dominated. Davis had 37 points and 10 rebounds in the Lakers’ victory. If anything, this tells us that Charles Barkley’s prediction could come true.

Charles Barkley breaks out broom after predicting Lakers sweep

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley and his broom made yet another appearance on TNT.

During TNT’s pregame show on Friday, Barkley predicted the Los Angeles Lakers would sweep the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

The Lakers won Game 1 of the series easily 126-114. After the game, Barkley had his broom ready to go.

Barkley also brought out the broom for the first round of the playoffs. He predicted the Trail Blazers would sweep the Lakers and then used his broom after Game 1 of that series. The Lakers won that series in five, leading Shaq to get some broom revenge.

This time around, Barkley’s sweep prediction looks more likely.

The Lakers are well-rested, while the Nuggets are coming off consecutive 7-game series.