Carmelo Anthony speaks on Shai v. Jokic MVP debate, DeMar and Dejounte trade rumors, Doc Rivers reviews, and more with Bomani Jones on the “7PM in Brooklyn” web series.
This week the guys are joined by Emmy® Award-winning sports journalist, commentator, and host of digital series “The Right Time”, Bomani Jones.
During the episode, the guys share their thoughts on the NBA MVP race, highlighting Nikola Jokić and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, he considers the criteria for the MVP award and questions whether Jokić’s impact on the top-seeded Denver Nuggets should outweigh Shai’s remarkable efforts in propelling the Oklahoma City Thunder to top of the Western Conference.
Staying on OKC, Carmelo reveals the Thunder to be the best run organization he’s been part of and shares why he thinks Sam Presti has done such a great job developing young players.
Later the guys also discuss Doc Rivers’ early struggles with the Milwaukee Bucks and question why no players have anything positive to say about the longtime coach.
They also tackle the upcoming trade deadline and potential moves that teams should be making.
- 17:13 – MELO DEBATES MVP CRITERIA – SHOULD JOKIC BE MVP & WHAT SHAI IS DOING ON OKC IS SPECIAL
Melo: “Plug and play in that system. If you [are] a certain player, you plug and play into that system. Because you ain’t going there to do what [Nikola] Jokić [is] doing…I like Jokić… just question the criteria. Like Joel, yes, he should still get this shit [the MVP award]…So now we go to who’s next? Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander or] Jokić. What is the criteria? Should Jokić get it because, yes, they [The Nuggets] are the best team, you gotta go through them, you gotta beat them to be dawned at, crowned at. So if we going off of that, then Jokić should be MVP. But if we [are] going off of the closing of the window of win percentage from year to year– like who’s the most valuable player on the team? Who is most valuable to their team? And it’s hard because Jokić is very valuable to the Denver Nuggets, but what Shai is doing is special, right? Nobody thought OKC would be in this position for at least the next five years…So [when it] comes to criteria, I don’t know what the criteria is. I would give it to Shai just because of what I said: him bringing OKC back, putting them not even in playoff contention…they could win the West. So, that right there is a lot of work that you have to put in night in and night out. We know Jokić is doing that. But for someone else to show…that they’re putting this team on [their] back, putting this city on their back…we haven’t seen that in a long time.”
- 49:57 – NO PLAYER HAS ANYTHING GOOD TO SAY ABOUT DOC RIVERS
Melo: “It’s hard, man. Like Doc [Rivers] as a player…Me and Doc have a good relationship but I’ve never heard anybody say anything good about Doc – a player. Think about it. Let’s go back. Doc’s been coaching for 20-something years…Now I’m not saying nobody, I’m just saying the narrative coming out of those experiences with Doc, nobody has nothing to say good about him, right? I don’t know what the issue is. I’m not in those locker rooms. I just know the narrative around that, is no one has anything good to say about Doc. And to his point, for years, even when Doc was leaving and going to teams, no players [were] supporting Doc…It was just he’s bugging, he’s crazy…Now one turn into three [teams].”
Bomani: “…That Chris Paul thing ended with the Clippers in that Lob City Era because Chris Paul didn’t want him no more. But what’s crazy is Chris Paul didn’t want him no more and then they over-achieved like nobody’s business the next year. [Doc] will raise the floor of your team.”
- 57:57 – BOMANI SAYS DOC RIVERS WILL NOT BE IN THE COACH HOF
Mero: “Is Doc Rivers a Hall of Fame coach?”
Bomani: “For me, personally, I think the standard – if you go look at the coaches who are in the Hall of Fame – that standard is so high, that we throw that phrase around so much that it kind of loses something, right? Like if you want to tell me now after Spo [Erik Spoelstra] got the Heat to the Finals twice without LeBron, he’s a Hall of Fame coach, maybe. People were saying that to me when he hadn’t won 50 games without LeBron James. Just because you won two championships– like Rudy T [Tomjanovich] just got in. His two championships didn’t matter as to what it is. So to me is Doc a Hall of Fame coach? No. But that’s not because I don’t think he’s a good coach. I just got that line up there so high.”
- 1:10:05 – BOMANI ON WHY WOMEN’S COLLEGE BALL IS BLOWING UP AND MEN’S ISN’T
Bomani: “Women’s ball is on fire right now with college and it’s not with men’s and the reason is women’s ball has coaches you recognize, names you recognize, teams – basically franchises – that you are familiar with. I don’t really know what’s going on with men’s college basketball anymore. I don’t know who these dudes are, when they [are] on the teams. A one-and-done dude used be like you read about them in a magazine. Like I joke about Ricky Davis and LeBron [James] but I remember when Ricky was in high school…it was like five or six guys like that though that you heard about. Now, every single one of them, supposedly, is that dude and so you don’t know who to pay attention to. You don’t know who to watch…Then you turn on the Final Four and no disrespect man but it’s Florida Atlantic out there. I still don’t know who play for them. I don’t know who their coach is. I don’t know who any of these things are.”
- 1:16:56 – MELO ON WANTING HIS KIDS TO PLAY IN COLLEGE AND NOT FOLLOW IN HIS FOOTSTEPS OF BEING A “ONE-AND-DONE” PLAYER
Melo: “My son is going to college, I don’t even preach one-and-done to him. We [are] not even playing that game because I don’t want you to start thinking that right now. You start shortcutting shit and you start rushing shit. We ain’t rushing nothing. You [are] going to college, if you have to sit for two [years], sit for three [years], we’re going to college. If you [are] ready to go [to the league] after your first year then we’ll look at it. But that’s not a priority to us. I also teach him the business of the game.”
- 1:25:33 – MELO ON WHY OKC IS THE BEST RUN ORGANIZATION HE’S BEEN PART OF AND WHY THEY EXCEL ARE AMONG THE BEST AT PLAYER DEVELOPMENT
Melo: “OKC and Sam Presti are the best to do it when it comes to bringing guys in with transparency like ‘listen here’s your plan…we’re gonna do this and that. All I want to see is you hit the marks. If you hit those marks by year three, you’re going to have a very important role on this team.’ If you look at OKC, that’s why they’re successful today. Because all of those guys develop every year. None of those guys were stars, Sam developed those guys…Even Shai!”
Bomani: “Let me ask you this. Was that the best run team that you played for?”
Melo: “Yes! Yes. To me that’s the best ran organization when it comes to understanding the needs of players and understanding how to communicate with players and hold them accountable. When I got there…There wasn’t no type of culture. Russ and those guys was doing their thing but they were guys who grew up in OKC. So it wasn’t any real culture. When I got there it was like, alright we’re gonna bring a little bit of flair, we ain’t trying to be what was here before and Sam [Presti] understood that. He worked with us and gave us our own marks…If we didn’t hit the marks, Billy Donovan wasn’t coming in there talking to us, It was Sam Presti was the one to come down on us. When he did that I had a newfound respect for Sam Presti on the business side.”