15 February 2019 02:33
Zach Beeker/Getty Images If it was up to Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George would be the 2018-19 NBA MVP. Westbrook believes George's consistency should give him the edge over the rest of the field, per ESPN's Royce Young: "I mean we are tied, maybe third seed, whatever, but the way he's playing consistent. The one thing I always continue to pride myself on is being consistent. And this year, in my opinion, P has been very consistent. It's something that I don't take for granted.
I think a lot of people around the world that don't play basketball, that don't play sports, don't understand what it takes to be consistent and get your mind right every night to be able to do something, so for him to do that and stay on the path to do that, he's definitely the front runner for my MVP." That's high praise coming from a former MVP. George has been on another level this season and earned his sixth career All-Star selection. After re-signing with OKC this past offseason, he is averaging career-highs in scoring (28.7 points per game), assists (4.1, which matches his career high), rebounds (8.0) and steals (2.3). The 28-year-old's strong campaign has been highlighted by six 40-point games, including a 47-point performance in December that saw him drop 25 in the fourth quarter while helping his team rally from a 23-point deficit for a come-from-behind victory over the Brooklyn Nets: And he has only gotten better since that unbelievable game. George has averaged 39.7 points per game so far in the month of February while being held to fewer than 37 points in a game just once this month.
Reigning NBA MVP James Harden has elevated his game even further this season while leading the league in scoring at 36.5 points per game, reaching 30-plus points in each of the past 30 games. Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.1 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists) is also in the mix. Enes Kanter will spent the rest of the season with Portland Center Enes Kanter has joined the Portland Trail Blazers. Kanter was waived by the New York Knicks along with Wesley Matthews following the trade deadline last week. The 26-year-old announced on Twitter that he had signed with the Blazers for the rest of the season. Kanter was once a starter for the Knicks but fell out of the rotation altogether when the team, who have the worst record in the league, turned its focus to younger players. The Knicks could not find a deal to move Kanter before the trade deadline. The center from Turkey came to the Knicks from Oklahoma City in the Carmelo Anthony trade in September 2017 and averaged 14 points and 10.8 rebounds in 115 games over two seasons. He had become frustrated after first losing his starting spot and then being phased out completely in recent weeks. Westbrook endorses Thunder team-mate George for MVP Omnisport FOLLOW NEWS News 45 // 14 Feb 2019, 07:58 IST SHARE Share Options × Facebook Twitter Flipboard Reddit Google+ Email Russell Westbrook and Paul George Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook believes Paul George is the "frontrunner" for the NBA's Most Valuable Player Award. George is averaging career highs in points (28.7), rebounds (8), assists (4.1) and steals (2.3) for the Thunder this season. The five-time All-Star is shooting 45.4 per cent from the field and 41.3 per cent from three-point range. And Westbrook has endorsed George for this season's MVP following his 47-point triple-double against the Portland Trail Blazers. "The way he's playing [is] consistent," Westbrook – the 2016-17 MVP – told reporters on Wednesday. "To be able to do the same thing every night is not easy to do. "I think a lot of people around the world that don't play basketball, that don't play sports, don't understand what it takes to be consistent and get your mind right every night to be able to do something. "So, for him to do that and stay on the path to do that, he's definitely the front-runner for my MVP." George signed a new four-year, $137million contract with the Thunder in the offseason. The Thunder started Wednesday third in the Western Conference with a 37-19 record.