Tim Duncan is matching donations to relief efforts for the U.S. Virgin Islands, hit this week by Hurricane Irma. He writes at the Players Tribune about living through Hurricane Hugo when he was 13 years old:
Hugo hit at night. The first thing I remember is a loud boom from the windows blowing out of our house. My mother and sister burst into my bedroom and led me by the hand into another room. We spent the rest of the night sitting in a small bathroom, our eyes wide open. None of us could sleep. We heard the bangs and booms of debris. Once in a while, I’d peek down the hallway at my dad, who was watching our ceiling. One of the beams had a crack in it, and the crack slowly grew bigger throughout the night. I think my dad was praying.
The whole story is a must-read. Next week, Tim is chartering a plane to deliver supplies. I’ll repeat what I said last year: thank you. Everyone still in the storm’s path, stay safe.
538 started a nice series on the case for each of the top 5 MVP candidates. But my favorite MVP article is Matt Bonner’s sandwich analogy for The Players Tribune:
You’re probably getting hungry as you’re reading this, and maybe you’re even thinking about making a sandwich of your own. And that’s smart. Your head’s in the right place. Those ingredients sound really good. The fixings are crucial — and you can’t have your best possible sandwich without them.
It’s not all jokes, though. Matt’s insight into the Spurs system, where you move the ball instead of hogging it, puts Kawhi’s 25.7-point average in perspective:
And since there’s so little ball domination in that system … it makes it pretty impossible for any one player to put up a huge scoring average. Even Tim Duncan — arguably the greatest power forward to ever play the game — never had a season in which he averaged 25.7. And that’s really all you need to know.
Last night, the Spurs lost in Portland by 1 point. It was a game that didn’t matter much, so the Spurs bench finished the game. Portland’s win was mostly a fluke — a Spurs turnover at the end, then a steal that was mishandled and fell to Blazers’ Noah Vonleh for the buzzer-beater layup. But here’s the important point: the Spurs probably wouldn’t have lost if Kawhi was in the game for the final minute.
That’s not to take anything away from the bench. Those guys are great. Living in Austin, we got to watch Kyle Anderson and Jonathan Simmons finish plenty of great games for the D-League. It’s just that San Antonio has played many close games this season, and this is what happens when Kawhi is in the game late.
I’ll be shocked if Russell Westbrook doesn’t win MVP this year. But any of the top 5 candidates deserve it, and Kawhi is focused on other things. Maybe it’s fitting that the award will end up going to a player like Westbrook and his fans who seem to care so much about whether he wins.