Negative Effects of Gambling

In the following sections of this Buzzle article, we discuss the negative effects of gambling on the individual and society.

? People continue gambling with the greed of winning money. ? According to the University of New York, in people with alcohol use disorders, the chances of developing an addiction to gambling are 23 times higher.

Games offered in casinos, table games like poker, Red Dog, and Blackjack, as also electronic games like Slot Machine and Video Poker are some of the common types of gambling. The National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG) describes this type of gambling behavior as problem gambling.

Compulsive gambling leads to bankruptcy

Initially, one looks at gambling as a way to run away from life’s problems, or from stress, anger, and loneliness. Forget satisfaction or peace, it is not even refreshing in the real sense. On giving a serious consideration to the negative effects of gambling, we realize that it is best avoided.

? Gambling has proven to be addictive. The effect is similar to that of having a drug or a drink, which is why gambling changes one’s mental state and mood.

? Similar to how an individual keeps consuming substances like drugs or alcohol to experience an altered mental state, he continues to gamble. Due to lost mental peace, they may ill-treat their spouse and children. Some go that way to forget the sorrow of losing big sums when gambling.

? People who fall prey to gambling tend to remain away from their families and waste money on other bad practices. Over time, it becomes a habit, and eventually an obsession that can’t be overcome. Addiction to gambling, coupled with substance abuse can make the gamblers physically abusive towards their family. Sports betting and arbitrage betting are the other types. This proves to be detrimental to their social and family life. The skill of a gambler lies in weighing the three parameters and making a decision about what amount should be staked and how much should be expected in return.

? Apart from absence at work and drop in efficiency, a common observation is that gamblers tend to steal money and engage in fraudulent behavior to recover from financial losses incurred when gambling, or to get more money to bet.

? The addiction to gambling can leave one in bankruptcy. The addiction robs a gambler of all the productive time and leads to loss of efficiency at work. Betting is a mentally taxing activity, and as one goes on risking more and more money, anxiety starts building.

? According to a study by the George State University, 50% of the problem gamblers commit crime. A study by the same university suggested that 73% of the individuals who are imprisoned are found to be problem gamblers.

? Gambling at the cost of one’s job results in a decline in the quality of his professional life. The two go hand in hand. When they lose the money they had risked, they further gamble to recover the lost amount and it becomes a vicious circle even they can’t escape from.

? Gamblers often exhibit mood swings and a strangely secretive behavior. Their mental state can even lead to suicidal tendencies.

Mental and physical health problems, financial issues, and conflicts in the family are among the common negative effects of gambling. According to the National Research Council, 10 to 17% of the children of problem gamblers have been abused and so have 25 to 50% of the partners of problems gamblers.

? As gambling leads to increased criminal activities, in a way, gamblers add to the burden on prisons and the legal system.

Gambling = Thoughtless Expenditure + Waste of Time

? They start borrowing money and take secret loans. Six to eight million people in America are estimated to have a gambling problem.

? Additionally, rehabilitation and public assistance systems are taxed.

? The stress from gambling may lead to health issues like ulcers, stomach problems, muscle pains, headaches, and problems with sleep.

? Gambling can lead to criminal activities. Because of this, they land in worse situations and take the wrong decisions in life.

? Children of parents who are problem gamblers or gambling addicts tend to feel abandoned and angry, further increasing stress and leading to strained family relations.

? The costs of treating compulsive gamblers are huge. The addiction leads people to continue with gambling irrespective of whether they earn or lose in the deal. In spite of the losses incurred, they continue betting. The stress of risking huge amounts of money or the frustration after losing it can increase the tendency of abuse in gamblers. The addiction has negative effects on one’s physical and mental health and it proves to be detrimental to one’s social, personal, and professional life. The addiction gets on to the gamblers to such an extent that they fail to think wisely before acting. It soon becomes a habit that can’t be broken.

You could be at gunpoint or holding the gun. Thus, gambling practices cause a huge financial burden on the families of the affected and on the society at large.

? An Austrian study said that around 1 in 5 suicidal patients had a gambling problem.. It causes a decline in his/her work performance, thus hampering his career.

? Studies show that children with a sibling or parent addicted to gambling, are more likely to take to substance abuse.

? Research has shown that gambling can lead to harmful behavior in people. To add to the so-called merry atmosphere, gamblers often smoke or drink while playing.

? Over time, the practice of gambling starts becoming a habit and begins to have damaging effects at psychological, physical, and social levels. It can drag you into crime, gambling isn’t fun.

? Addiction to gambling has been linked with substance abuse. Their debt keeps building and it may reach an amount that exceeds their capacity to repay.

? Gambling is practiced as a means of recreation. They tend to stay away from their near ones, resulting in distrust between them and their loved ones.

? According to a research by NCPG, 76 percent of problem gamblers are likely to have a major depressive disorder.

? A majority of those addicted to gambling have substance abuse disorders.

Gambling refers to the betting of money on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the intent of winning additional wealth. Card games, coin tossing, and dice-based games are some non-casino based forms of gambling. The decision to gamble money is based on three parameters namely; how much to bet, the predictability of the event, and the conditions agreed upon, between the gamblers. Some take to substance abuse to supplement the high they get from winning huge sums while gambling. The greed never ends and they keep betting more and more. Rehabilitating the gambling addicts needs money and time, and the process is not very easy. It only leads to a thoughtless expenditure of money and valuables.

? Problem gamblers and addicts tend to abuse their family members. Thus, gambling can have a grave economic impact which is difficult to reverse.

? Substances of abuse are served at casinos and in pubs and clubs, thus increasing the likelihood of gamblers consuming them. A recreational activity is supposed to be refreshing and relaxing, but something like gambling is contrary to the very purpose of recreation. They engage in gambling activities at the cost of their time with family and friends

NBA awards ballot, Part 1: More wins for the Warriors

Gentle reminder: I consider every speck of information — game film, public stats, secret stats I wrangle up, exchanges of intel with team officials — and I don’t hate your team.

1. For all the angst over whether Leonard can generate offense when everything else stalls out in crunch time, he ranks among the league’s best one-on-one scorers — from both the perimeter and the post, per Synergy Sports research.

Jabari Parker and Julius Randle are basically rookies. He can slide more easily between the two big-man positions, hang with guards on switches, and swat damn near everything around the basket.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

He likes to hang back on the pick-and-roll, inviting disaster against sharpshooters like Curry and Damian Lillard, who need only a sliver to unleash pull-up 3s upon turning the corner. He’s a horse on the glass, always does his job in transition and plays hard on every damn possession.

Additional apologies to (deep breath): Barton, Crowder, Capela, Whiteside,  Kent Bazemore, Zach LaVine, Allen Crabbe, Evan Fournier, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lance Thomas, Khris Middleton, Marvin Williams, Reggie Jackson and many other nice people.

I haven’t wrapped my head around what to do with the second type — notably Curry, Green and Leonard. Stotts placed cast-offs and unknowns around Lillard and forged a playoff team in Portland.

Towns should win unanimously. 2 slot. Do that now, and Walker is roasting you from deep.

The fully engaged Warriors are a perfectly coordinated swarm. Gregg Popovich

3. Remember: I was touting Whiteside early in the season when commentators who didn’t bother digging into even one layer of context would robotically recite the stat showing the Heat defended better with Whiteside on the bench.

I have an official ballot again this year, so these votes count. He doesn’t snap at teammates or manufacture chaos with calculated, passive-aggressive social media fits. McCollum is really a Category 1 type on a one-year delay, but unlike a lot of young guys thrust into larger roles, he’s pulling this as the second-best player on a playoff team. You could build an argument for James Harden, carrying the wheezing wraith of Houston on his back, but he showed up out of shape and played zippo defense for a would-be contender about to limp into the No. Not here.

Millsap’s comfort zone extends across the full court, and every playing style. Karl-Anthony Towns

2. Their ascension is almost expected. He has been a two-way force with the inside-outside skill set a big-man star needs in the modern NBA. He is much better than his traditional numbers suggest. 3 spot will raise some eyebrows, especially in Miami, where Hassan Whiteside rejected everything in sight. And alas, DeAndre Jordan is not quite as good as his reputation.

And this:

Whiteside doesn’t, though he has found another gear over the past three months. It’s a big reason Charlotte gradually found its footing in those minutes when Walker leads the offense without Nicolas Batum as co-pilot.

This is why, as queasy as it makes me, I can look past the fact that serious health issues kept Kerr off the sideline for half the season. When Stotts asked Davis to defend power forwards so that Leonard could hang closer to the hoop against centers, Davis accepted the shift out of position — and busted his butt to make it work.

Crawford’s limitations on defense matter even more when he plays with those guys, since that means he’s probably also playing against opposing starters — lineups that might not offer him a safe hiding spot.

Westbrook remains a manic gambler who submarines too many possessions with reckless choices. pro sports leagues, and at the top, that’s true. They respect Paul, but they don’t shudder at the possibility of him smashing through their entire team — and the concept of normal basketball — for two or three pivotal minutes.

Davis’ 21 minutes drove Portland toward the unexpected. The NBA is considered the most predictable of the four major U.S. There was almost nothing in Mahinmi’s dossier to suggest he could work as the dive man in a semi-functional pick-and-roll offense. Young players get better with experience, and they get to play more.

Additional apologies to: Crawford, Turner, Patterson, Thompson, Mirza Teletovic,  Jeremy Lin, Shaun Livingston, Dennis Schroder, Clint Capela, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison, Patty Mills, Cory Joseph, Manu Ginobili, Bismack Biyombo and Matthew Dellavedova.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

I lean toward Green because of his versatility — and especially his unique ability, at 6-foot-6, to credibly guard centers. Durant seized more possessions, dished more dimes and drove Oklahoma City to a better scoring margin in his non-Westbrook minutes than in the opposite scenario, per NBA.com research.

So, screw it: I’m going with the blue-collar, unheralded Ed Davis — a journeyman who became essential for Portland, and has long slapped up per-minute numbers that blow away almost every other sixth-man candidate. But Porzingis logged nearly 400 more minutes and did heavy lifting as the No. Millsap is averaging 1.7 blocks per game, by far a career high, and he’s the only rotation player in the league topping 1.7 blocks and 1.7 steals per night.

Even so: There are matchups that trouble him. Evan Turner fills every gap for the Celtics.

He has also played 900 more minutes than Jokic, the equivalent of 19 full games, while shouldering a much heavier load; Jokic averages a hair fewer than 10 points per game, and sometimes looks reluctant to assert himself. But no other candidate has done enough in every facet of the game to unseat him — especially given Golden State’s historic success.

I understand if some readers might not be able to identify Jokic if he walked by them. Patrick Patterson’s candidacy suffers from the same lack of raw production, but his 3-point shooting at power forward and ability to guard multiple positions make him a key part of almost every successful Toronto lineup. Both will make a lot of ballots, and that’s fine.

That left Durant, Westbrook and Paul for two spots. Brutes with touch and the heft to get into Whiteside’s body have done damage on the block; opponents have hit 51 percent of their post-up shots against him, per Synergy Sports research, 10th worst among 72 defenders who have faced at least 75 post-ups this season.

You could give the third slot to at least two-dozen guys, but I’m going with Mahinmi, Indy’s only source of reliable front-line play over the full season. Will Barton

3. Redick and Jordan. Andre Iguodala

2. He’s a slick passer from the post, the elbows and in transition.

He’s also a better, more versatile defender — quick enough to guard any wing, and so long, he can dart in from the strong side to snuff a drive and veer back to a sharp shooter without conceding a thing. Paul Millsap

Also: Win 72 games — and maybe 73! — and I break my long-standing rule of voting for Popovich every season.

But those teams had more continuity in talent; we knew most of them would be at least decent. He loosed Isaiah Thomas without worrying about his defensive limitations, encouraged Avery Bradley to chuck more 3s and pushed Jae Crowder to test his off-the-bounce game. Steve Kerr

2. Crawford thrives with Paul, J.J. Towns kills by those metrics, sources tell me, and he laps the field by most other public statistical measures.

The final spot came down to a bunch of guys whose teams play together, play hard and know who they are: Stotts, Dwane Casey, Brad Stevens, Steve Clifford, Erik Spoelstra, Dave Joerger, Quin Synder, Stan Van Gundy, Mike Budenholzer and Carlisle. No one is. Players embraced those challenges, in part because they thought their coach and their superstar had already embraced them.

Two broad player types give me trouble here: the second-year guy who thrives with increased playing time, and the superstar who somehow becomes even better. Jokic leads all rookies in adjusted plus-minus by a mile; he’s ninth in the whole stinking league, right ahead of DeMarcus Cousins! He’s an intuitive, nasty defender — better than you’d guess, given his ho-hum athleticism.

There is more to winning basketball than shooting and scoring. Both guys can defend up a position, but Durant sliding to power forward opens more lineup possibilities than Westbrook muscling a shooting guard.

Defenders have to chase Walker over picks, and that means he can ankle-break his way into the paint — drawing help and opening up 3-point looks for Charlotte’s army of shooters. He empowered Curry to test the limits of his revolutionary game, sold stars on passing and cutting, convinced big names to sacrifice and gave everyone a voice in choosing strategies. McCollum worked as Portland’s de facto backup point guard when Lillard rested, and the Blazers outscored opponents during those minutes, per NBA.com research. Some smaller guys can fake it for a possession or two, provided some crisis — like a rebound bouncing in their direction — doesn’t happen. Terry Stotts

1. What a season.

Porzingis can’t match Jokic’s advanced numbers, and he actually shot a tick worse from downtown. Ian Mahinmi

Mahinmi doubled his career assist total, nearly doubled his scoring average and obliterated almost every past statistical marker — all while maintaining his SMOTHERED CHICKEN presence around the rim on defense. Much of that gravitates from Stotts. Casey, Clifford and Stevens were the final, painful cuts; all of them have real arguments for the top spot.

Now, he’s doing stuff like this:

Advanced stats wonks have argued he should win the award, and he has a strong case to leapfrog Porzingis for the No. Some combination of injuries, infighting and confusion undid Washington, New Orleans and Phoenix. Nikola Jokic

But Crawford is barely shooting 40 percent from the floor. But Kerr was very much present during his absence, especially when the Warriors were at home.

Durant gets the nod by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin. It’s a little corny how Boston’s Stevens talks about wanting players to “soar with their strengths,” but he lives up to the motivational mantra. 8 spot with a win over the tanking Kings.

He didn’t just maintain his per-minute stats over triple the minutes. The first type is packed: Gary Harris, Doug McDermott, Clint Capela, Rodney Hood, JaMychal Green, Jerami Grant and many more. He doesn’t take possessions off. It’s like a 60-win team pushing for 70 the next season.

But on a night-to-night basis, Paul is the more calming, precise player, and he has to be on the ballot after keeping the Clippers afloat amid Blake Griffin’s injury melodrama.

1. He blew them away. Popovich re-centered his offense around Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge without completely losing the pass-first mojo that powered the 2012-2015 versions of the Spurs borg; you especially see it on bench-heavy units. He sure scored a lot, though!  Devin Booker got started too late, defended air and finished with an ugly — if understandable — uptick in turnovers. LeBron James

4. They are active with such synchronization; you barely notice the activity. Isolating a coach’s work from Halloween through tax day is a strange conceit.

He’s not LeBron in those situations. Whiteside has been more diligent taking an extra step out toward such players over the past 40 games, but he’s wobbly — and vulnerable to blow-bys — outside his comfort zone.

But from start to finish, Leonard had the better season, for the better team. But he’s plenty good, with a jumper that clicked as LeBron’s broke apart, and he has been the league’s second-best player.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

None of the league’s perimeter stoppers — including Paul George and Jimmy Butler — matched the consistency of these three studs.

COACH OF THE YEAR

There isn’t a case for anyone else. 5 or No. Only Rick Carlisle, a confirmed warlock, and perhaps now Kerr can touch Pop’s in-game strategy and lineup optimization.

Stotts empowers players to stretch themselves in his whirring motion offense, knowing that if they feel involved on that end, they’ll buy into the grunt work. Most of the Clippers’ bench mobs have stunk, anyway. He’s just not as good as these other guys.

That is why Jamal Crawford is a two-time winner and such a popular candidate as he finishes this season with a flourish of crossover goodness. McCollum

2. Most of those chuckers can slide into a secondary role alongside starters in crunch time.

The only drama comes in the last four spots, which means it really doesn’t matter much for historical purposes. He can play with any lineup, and against any lineup. The bigs who might normally displace him have battled injuries, or slipped a bit from peak form: Joakim Noah, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Rudy Gobert, Andrew Bogut, Tim Duncan, Anthony Davis and a few others. Paul can’t match Westbrook’s gaudy triple-double numbers, or turn a game on its head with 45 seconds of snarling athleticism. Chris Paul

But you can’t make a case based on a single, all-in-one stat, especially one questioned by team insiders with access to the real secret sauce: analytics derived from SportVU tracking data. A lead ball handler polishing his long-range shot is the rare isolated skill development that ripples across an entire roster. Leonard and Green are the two most important, cruelest, most unfair defenders in the league, and it isn’t close. He works as a co-point guard off the bench, defends the other team’s best wing players, drains 40-plus percent of his corner 3s when Curry is on the floor and shares a genius-level defensive mind-meld with Green.

But he has developed into the keystone of the league’s stingiest defense since Jan. Chicago lost its way, and by the end of the season, the Bulls were just throwing crap against the wall on offense — lifeless possessions with no purpose. C.J.

Choosing Millsap for the No. Davis has better stats across the board: 61 percent from the floor as a basket vulture, the fourth-best offensive rebounding rate in the league and much better rim-protection numbers.

Below that stratosphere, team identity and culture are fragile. You cannot imagine Golden State with a league-average point guard in Curry’s place. Houston found something last season as a carefree, go-go outfit, brought back the same cast and fell apart amid chemistry issues, laziness and a staleness of spirit. The Raptors love Casey and play hard for him. The drudgery of travel and in-the-moment decision-making are big parts of coaching. Without further ado:

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

I gravitate toward the squishy middle — mid-career guys who make an overall leap, or hone one key skill that unlocks other parts of their game. Green can play up a position for entire games if need be, and that is the launch code to basketball’s nuclear bomb: the Death Lineup, with Green as a sneering, rampaging, fast-breaking center, and shooters raining death around him.

Somehow, it’s already time to hand out regular-season awards. Everything about the Warriors — their style, their identity, their strut — emanates from his historically unprecedented shooting.

But Curry and Leonard were already so damn good, they had only so far to leap. Myles Turner is coming off the bench again.

1. He stabilized the team’s iffy defense with some key midseason tweaks, including a few that nudged players into uncomfortable new challenges. Who doesn’t?. They’re going to win mega-awards, anyway, and one of them will likely snag the championship.

Clifford reimagined Charlotte’s offense as a high-octane triple machine without conceding an inch on any of his conservative (basketball) principles: low turnovers, fast-break paranoia, and killer defensive rebounding. He logs about 21 minutes per game, the same as Kanter, and half-dozen fewer than Tristan Thompson, his burlier doppelgänger in Cleveland, working the same role as a hybrid, rim-running big.

This is partly a multiyear achievement award for Kerr and Popovich, and it should be. Green and Curry lean on each other, and lift the team together, but the value gap between them is large enough to shove Green off this ballot.

Creating a cohesive ethos that sticks is a rare thing. Jokic has more competition for minutes and touches, but it’s not as if he’s stuck in a loaded roster; the Nuggets are only four games ahead of Minnesota, and Jusuf Nurkic, one of Jokic’s main competitors for playing time, spent half the season injured and in Mike Malone’s doghouse.

This was just a brutal category.

Lowry became a superstar, always in hunched motion, waiting to spring into open space when you take a breath. They help in one spot, bend away from another and return there before the offense even realizes anyone was open. They don’t think of him much at all, really. Kanter is trying harder this season, and he can usually survive if the other team plays at least one traditional big man.

The bedrock principles of San Antonio’s culture have been unassailable for 20 years. When two bets in a row hit, it looks spectacular, and we laud Westbrook’s ability to bend the game to his will. Pair him with a drive-and-kick star like Westbrook or Durant, and Kanter morphs into perhaps the league’s pre-eminent scoring mooch — gobbling up drop-off passes and offensive rebounds when his man leaves to help on a Thunder stud.

The Blazers snagging the No. People don’t think of Millsap as an elite defender. He also absorbed a larger burden during Griffin’s absence.

Traditionally, this is an award for gunners. Cousins could crack this ballot if he tried hard all the time. The Blazers don’t rise from the ashes without McCollum maturing into a borderline star.

A word on the Leonard-LeBron debate: LeBron at full throttle is the better player, and perhaps still the best player in the league. An MVP sharpening skills-within-skills to transform into an historic superstar might be the hardest advance, and certainly the most unusual. He envelopes opponents, and he’d be the captain of my Mirror Guy team for defenders who move in such exact sync with a ball handler, it almost appears as if the ball handler is dueling with a reflection.

Green is the firing brain circuitry of perhaps the greatest team ever, nearly as important to Golden State’s top-five defense as Curry is to their all-time offense. No one watches the Nuggets — not even in Denver. The Magic still don’t know what in the hell they are.

The Warriors’ offense falls apart without Curry, and for the second straight season, opponents outscored Golden State — by a huge margin — with Curry on the bench. By some measures, the dude is wrapping up one of the best all-around seasons ever for a rookie center. Being a low-key dude in Utah and Atlanta will do that.

D’Angelo Russell combined hot shooting with beyond-his-years playmaking after finally earning Byron Scott’s trust, only to betray Nick Young’s and deflate the Lakers’ locker room.

Coming later this week: my picks for All-NBA, All-Rookie and All-Defense.

Confession: I had no idea what to do with this award once Iguodala started missing games — and with Whiteside ineligible.

He has been Portland’s best big man; he plays a lot of crunch time, and has stepped into an even more important role with Meyers Leonard hurt and Noah Vonleh fading. Draymond Green

2. Kristaps Porzingis

3. He became a different player.

1. Kevin Durant

5. He has remade himself into a natural fit for Stotts’ catch-and-go system, and works hard on defense.

Leonard might be an even better one-on-one defender, though, and he could toggle between positions more often if Gregg Popovich demanded it. He would be a star anywhere. There is some merit to that. Post-up brutes do better against backups; dump the ball to Kanter against some second-unit sad sack, and he’s eating buckets. Kemba Walker

3. 2 option for the Knicks. Iguodala laps the field as a playmaker and defender. He’s like a five-tool center! If he’s not a top-15 player already, he’s going to be soon.

He gets those numbers without gambling, and he can guard any position in a pinch. Thompson has been great, but the Cavs would have finished first or second in the East even if he had held out the whole season. Popovich tweaks the stylistic fringes to fit every new cast, and that’s why this second-place vote isn’t just a lifetime achievement trophy. He hit 3s at nearly a league-average rate, led fast breaks and assisted on 18 percent of Denver’s buckets while on the floor — the fifth-best mark in history for a rookie big. Kawhi Leonard

3. 6 seed after losing four starters is perhaps the happiest story of the season. Leonard doesn’t think, or pass, two steps ahead of the defense, and he’s not strong enough to bulldoze his way to the rim every damn time. 1 — a jack-of-all-trades with the speed to extinguish pick-and-rolls 30 feet from the basket, glue-trap hands that rip more steals than almost any big man in league history, and the guts to initiate an airborne collision at the rim. They switch and re-switch without cracking open even the teeniest lanes. Other teams fear Westbrook. No team plays, and lives, with a better spirit. You trust Stevens’ play calling a bit more than Casey’s in crunch time.

1. He finally made good. LeBron can be the fastest all-court defender in the league when he wishes; remember, he outperformed computerized ghost defenders programmed to be perfect!

There are too many six-point, five-rebound nights for Davis to win this award, but he deserves a hard look. Ed Davis

This is like choosing between Elastic Man and a fire-breathing version of The Thing. Crowder and Whiteside are matching what they did last season in more limited runs in Boston and Miami, respectively.

There are seven candidates for the last four spots: the four listed, plus Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry and Draymond Green. He isn’t the only one responsible for building it, but he was the driver, and he’s one of the few who’s powerful enough to undermine it if he ever chose.

Yeah, Iguodala will end up missing 25 percent of the season. We don’t do a good enough job noting the other three or four bets that come up snake eyes, leaving shooters open and hanging teammates out to dry. Westbrook’s decision-making at money time can be scattershot.

Still: Kanter gives back a lot of points, and the Thunder will have to cut his minutes against elite postseason offenses who target him like chum.

He redefined the tone of the organization the moment he walked in the door. Opponents for years clogged Charlotte’s dreary offense by ducking under screens against Walker, walling off his driving lanes and leaving the Bobcats/Hornets heaving up junk late in the shot clock. Stephen Curry

2. Both engineer decent shots from nothing, but only LeBron can steamroll to the rim almost whenever he wants. LeBron resides in another universe as a passer. Jahlil Okafor missed 35 percent of the season, played some of the worst big-man defense in NBA history and exacerbated an internal crisis with embarrassing off-court behavior. But you could imagine these Warriors playing good defense without Green; they did under Mark Jackson, using a more traditional scheme. It takes nurturing over years. He had never started more than 12 games, and he entered this season with 107 career assists; ask him to throw a quick-hitter on the move, and he was more likely to fling the ball five rows deep in the stands.

Barton and Enes Kanter might represent superior versions of the classic Crawford candidacy. He’s already a bright, shining plus at everything: post scoring, jump shooting, passing, defending the rim and scampering around in space. Curry has been the best and most valuable player in the NBA — a glitch in the system who transformed a sport. He might win, and he’d deserve it.

SIXTH MAN AWARD

Westbrook is incredible, and he might finish in the top three once the votes are in. There isn’t much difference between them statistically, and Durant reclaimed some control of the Thunder offense once Billy Donovan started staggering the Westbrook/Durant minutes in February. The better team usually wins a best-of-seven series, and the best teams with the best players win championships.

Walker vowed for years he would do this. Even piss-poor bench lineups relying on such tough jumpers can redistribute some of those shots to other players, and not lose much. The Warriors would have to reinvent their entire offense, and they might not be very good.

Walker reinvented only one part of his game, but that single change — morphing into an above-average 3-point shooter — transformed everything for the Hornets. Green is the yapping nervous system of that defense.

Kanter might win the damn thing, and I’d have no problem with that. No one else should get a first-place vote.

He’s still bad on defense, but not as bad as he once was. Kawhi Leonard

3. That culture of openness and community held up as Kerr recovered. That is remarkable. A lot of bench-heavy units are light on shot creators and need someone, anyone, to chuck when the shot clock dwindles. Barton outshot Crawford despite a late-season slump, revved up Denver in transition, rebounded like a power forward and defended more reliably across both wing positions. If you’re looking for a high-volume chaos engine, this is your guy.

That leaves an impossible choice between Westbrook and Durant — a choice that almost seems unfair given the Thunder’s hit-or-miss supporting cast

Free Fantasy Sports Streak Games and Contests with Cash and Prizes

See the table to the right for a breakdown of the prizes.

Covers.com is a sports betting information website that runs a free streak style contest with a top prize of $100,000.

Many of the picks are not just picking which team will win. If you get your pick correct, your streak goes up. Basketball and football include picking ATS (against the spread), which makes Covers.com the closest thing to actually betting on sports on this list.

The ultimate goal is to build a streak of 24 correct picks for the overall grand prize of $100,000. Other prizes are available for smaller streaks. My longest streak was seven in a row and my girlfriend had 11 in a row during basketball season. Each day you can make one pick from a list of games that Covers.com chooses. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it is a contest that a smart sports fan has a reasonable shot at winning. We have found that during basketball season it was much easier to find a good pick than it has been during baseball season.. You do not have to pick everyday, but you must pick once every six days to keep your streak alive.

Only having the option of picking one game a day makes this contest one of my favorites. If you get it wrong, your streak resets to zero