The NBA regular season awards were handed out Monday, and in my opinion there were many mistakes made.
First of all, the timing. Eleven weeks after the regular season ended, after the playoffs ended, after teams have drafted players for the next season, we finally get the results for awards given out for the regular season. A lot of people, including myself, have put the last season behind them and are already looking forward to the next. Following the draft and with NBA free agency about to heat up, I’m ready to get onto next season. Enough about that though, let’s get on to the awards themselves.
NBA Winner: James Harden
My Winner: LeBron James
This award confuses me. I feel like the NBA likes to give turns to who should win this award. Last season, Russell Westbrook won the award after averaging a triple double for the season. I mean, it’s an amazing accomplishment that hadn’t been done since 1962. Why weren’t people ready to name Westbrook league MVP this year though? Oh, because this year it was given to the guy with the best stats on one of the league’s best teams. When I think of which player is actually the most valuable to their team, it has to be LeBron. The Cavaliers don’t make it the Finals without him. I’m not even 100 percent sure they make the playoffs without him. If you take Harden off the Rockets, they still easily make the playoffs. I’m not mad at the decision because this is usually what the league does. In the future, I’d like to see the league actually give the award to the most “valuable” player, because for the past decade, LeBron has been more valuable to his team than any other player in the league.
Rookie of the Year
NBA Winner: Ben Simmons
My Winner: Ben Simmons
Whether you think Simmons is actually a rookie or not is not under debate because as of now, he fits that definition. Should the league only allow true rookies obtain the hardware? Yes; Simmons has had a year to fit into the NBA system. Should the NBA only allow first year players win the award, I’m picking Donovan Mitchell. As of now though, Simmons is a rookie and deserved the award.
Coach of the Year
NBA Winner: Dwane Casey
My Winner: Brad Stevens
It’s comical that this year’s Coach of the Year was fired before the NBA could actually give him the award. Casey surely didn’t deserve to be fired because his team lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Place that blame on DeRozan and Lowry, not Casey. The award should have gone to Celtics coach Brad Stevens, though. The Celtics lost Gordon Hayward during the first game of the season and only had Kyrie Irving for 60 games, and the Celtics still managed to finish second in the east. Congratulations Dwane Casey, you also led the Raptors to a great season and the Pistons now have themselves a Coach of the Year winner.
Sixth Man of the Year
NBA Winner: Lou Williams
My Winner: Eric Gordon
Lou Williams played 32.8 minutes per game last season. 32.8 minutes per game was second on the team only to Blake Griffin (who is no longer a Clipper). By definition, he fits the sixth man category, as he only started 19 games, but he did not get sixth man minutes. I’m still impressed with what Gordon can do in the second unit for the Rockets. On most teams he’s a starter, but he doesn’t get that chance with James Harden and Chris Paul on the roster.
Most Improved Player
NBA Winner: Victor Oladipo
My Winner: Victor Oladipo
This one is obvious. I’ve went on all year about Oladipo’s play. The Pacers were supposed to be a lottery team after trading Paul George, but Oladipo not only took this team to the playoffs, but took the Cavaliers to game seven. Oladipo improved his points per game by 7.2 points and improved nearly every other category. No other player should have even been considered for this award: it was Oladipo’s all along.
Defensive Player of the Year
NBA Winner: Rudy Gobert
My Winner: Rudy Gobert
Another one I can’t argue with. He averaged 2.3 blocks per game and is the best defensive big man on one of the league’s best defensive teams.
If the league wanted to make a few changes to improve their award system, I have a few tips: move the award show itself earlier, and move it to within days after the Finals end You know, after the league’s champion finishes their celebrations. This brings me to my next point: I’d also like these awards to include playoff games. The playoffs are where we can see these athletes show up in big situations. For example, Jayson Tatum would have a legitimate shot at winning the Rookie of the Year award if this were the case. Lastly, can we clear up this rookie definition?
Because no one (mainly NBA Twitter) knows the definition.