The Miami Heat, like every other team in the league, is working through a non-stop schedule to end the season. It seems as if the team is playing every other night or back-to-back sets and that’s with just one game postponed (back in early January against the Boston Celtics). Older veterans such as Goran Dragic and Andre Iguodala have had no choice but to sit out games due to load management in an effort to maintain their health and stay fresh for the postseason.
That’s on top of the usual injuries that players suffer throughout the course of a regular season, as well as many games lost due to players having to sit out due to health and safety protocols. Miami never got a good look at former player Avery Bradley, and the same holds true so far for newcomer Victor Oladipo.
With the end of the regular season scheduled to come May 16, the NBA is essentially forcing teams to finish their schedule. However, according to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, more than two-thirds of fans around the NBA think the league condensed the schedule too much.
One major reason it’s believed the league was so adamant on finishing this early is because of the expected 2021 Olympics this summer. However, only 44 percent of fans believe that’s a worthy reason for playing games at this pace.
While the schedule is difficult for everyone, some teams are having more success than others. That’s in large part due to the success of star players around the league. This year’s MVP race has seen a changing group of players from start to finish.
As the season nears its end, though, one player has emerged as the front runner for the award. 61 percent of fans nationally think Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokić is the league’s MVP. Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul was the next closest with 17 percent.
While Jokić appears to be the clear MVP, that doesn’t mean he’s considered the best player in the game right now. That title, according to fans, still goes to Lakers superstar LeBron James.
Paul’s re-emergence with the Suns has been a game-changer. The point guard was picked as the player who has made the biggest difference on their new team, far surpassing Brooklyn’s James Harden. (We’ll see just how deep a playoff run either of these two teams can make this season, and if it can ultimately match what Jimmy Butler accomplished with the Heat last season.)
To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.