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In years past, we would find out who won the regular season NBA awards gradually throughout the playoffs. This year things are a bit different as we have to wait until June 26th to find out who will officially be named Most Valuable Player, 6th Man of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, etc. The NBA Award show will be hosted by Drake and airs on TNT, so get ready for a sensitive show about feelings. I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid.
In this article I will tell you who should win the NBA Awards and be named to the All-NBA teams.
Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon
There are several candidates this year for the Sixth Man of the Year award, Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala, Patty Mills, and Zach Randolph, among others. Eric Gordon separated himself from the pack by being a consistent scorer and defender for a team that finished with the third seed in the Western Conference. Gordon averaged 16.2 points while shooting 38% from three point range.
Rookie of the Year: Malcolm Brogdon
The 2016 NBA Rookie class is a very weak one. The most talented player is Joel Embiid who was actually drafted two years earlier. Embiid only played 31 games this season due to injuries. The former Kansas star didn’t play enough to deserve the award so that leaves us with only a couple of true candidates. I chose Malcolm Brogdon over Dario Saric. It was a very tough choice but Brogdon has a been a valuable part of a winning team all season providing perimeter defense and much needed spacing for the Milwaukee Bucks. This season he averaged 10 points per game while shooting 46% from the field, and 40% from deep.
Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo
There are a lot of valid candidates for Most Improved Player this season. Roby Gobert, Devin Booker and Seth Curry among others. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s improvement from last season to this one was incredible. The Greek Freak improved each and every facet of his game. During the 2015-16 season he averaged 17 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game, while shooting 50% from the field. This season he averaged 23 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 52% from the field. He lead the Bucks to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, improving himself and his team.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert
Determining who should win Defensive Player of the Year this season has been a very difficult job. We have had three very qualified candidates who made strong cases. Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green, and Rudy Gobert have all been the best defenders on great defensive teams. We know that their teams would not be nearly as good defensively without them. So what separates Gobert from the pack? Gobert is the anchor of the best defensive team in the league. The Jazz led the league in opponent points per game because of the presence of “The Stifle Tower.” Gobert led the league in blocks with 2.6 per game, changing and altering an abundance of shots each and every game.
Most Valuable Player : Kawhi Leonard
The subject of most basketball conversations this season has been the MVP (Most Valuable Player) race. Most basketball fans and analysts said that either James Harden or Russell Westbrook should be MVP because of their offensive exploits. You may have also heard rumblings about LeBron James being MVP even though his team under achieved during the regular season. I believe that the best two-way player in the league should be MVP. Kawhi Leonard averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game, while shooting 49% from the field, 38% from three point range and 88% from the free throw line. Leonard carried an aging roster to the second best record in the league being the best player on both ends of the floor. That sounds like the definition of valuable to me.
First Team All-NBA
The All-NBA teams have to consist of two guards, two forwards and one center. There are three All-NBA teams and here are the players selected to be on the very prestigious 1st All-NBA team.
Russell Westbrook – The one man band in Oklahoma City carried the Thunder to the six seed in the western conference by averaging a triple-double for the season and breaking the record for triple-doubles in a season. Westbrook averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game this year. The last time someone averaged a triple-double for an entire season was in 1962. (Oscar Robertson)
James Harden– The bearded one took on a different role this season as he assumed the point guard responsibilities. Harden did not disappoint as he was able to navigate the Rockets to the third seed in the Western Conference without another All-Star on his team. James Harden averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists (which led the league) and 8.0 rebounds per game. The Rockets’ fearless leader came very close to leading the league in points and assists. This has only been done once in NBA history by Nate Archibald in the 1972-73 season.
Kawhi Leonard – My choice for MVP has to be a first team All-NBA selection. Leonard has been a dominate force on both offense and defense this season. The quiet assassin is the only reason (outside of Gregg Popovich) the Spurs are considered championship contenders.
LeBron James – And still the best player in the world! The chosen one have always eclipsed expectations and this year was no different. The Cavaliers as a team did not perform well post All-Star break but that was not on “The King”. James averaged 26.4 points, 8.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game while shooting 55% from the field.
Anthony Davis – “The Brow” is a natural power forward and played that position later in the season after the Pelicans acquired DeMarcus Cousins but for over 60% of the season he played center and was the best player at the position. This season Davis averaged 28 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game, while shooting 50% from the field.
Second Team All-NBA
Steph Curry – The two-time MVP had another great season as he was one of the leading forces on the team with the best record in the NBA. The baby-faced assassin averaged 25.3 points and 6.6 assists per game while shooting 47% from the field, and 41% from three point range.
John Wall – The leader of the Washington Wizards has improved his game greatly over the past few seasons. This year, the improvement showed results in his game and his team’s wins. Wall led the Wizards to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference while averaging 23.0 points, 10.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – The Greek Freak had an awesome season leading the Bucks back to the playoffs. My choice for Most Improved Player, Antetokounmpo led his team in points, assists, rebounds, steals and blocks.
Kevin Durant – The former Oklahoma City Thunder standout made his transition from OKC to Golden State seem effortless as he put up similar numbers this year compared to his past with the Thunder. The difference is he was more efficient and played better defense. Kevin Durant averaged 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game, while shooting 54% from the field.
Rudy Gobert – My choice for Defensive Player of the Year was also very effective on the offensive end. As the Jazz made it back to the playoffs this season, a lot of their success came on the back of Gobert. The Stifle Tower averaged 14.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.
Third Team All-NBA
Isaiah Thomas – The height challenged point guard for the Boston Celtics has put the offensive load on his shoulders all season. I struggled with where to place Thomas between the second and third team. I ultimately chose to go with John Wall and Steph Curry over him because of Thomas’ defensive let downs. Thomas is so valuable on the offensive end that he has to be an All-NBA team member. Thomas averaged 29.0 points and 6.0 assists per game, while leading the league in fourth quarter scoring.
Demar Derozan – The throwback mid-range artist had a very good season. He is living up to the big contract he signed last off-season. Derozan helped lead the Toronto Raptors to the third seed in the Eastern Conference. He averaged 27.3 points per game on 47% shooting.
Jimmy Butler – The former Most Improved Player continues to do just that, improve. This season amongst all the mess going on in Chicago, Butler still had an impressive season. He averaged 24.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while also playing excellent defense.
Draymond Green – The emotional leader of the Golden State Warriors is more than just the verbal leader. Green’s versatile defensive abilities allows the Warriors to play a style of defense that only they can play. The Michigan State graduate doesn’t have the greatest offensive numbers but his play-making ability also allows Golden State to have Steph Curry and Klay Thompson play off the ball.
Karl Anthony-Towns – The young multi-talented big man had a great year for the Timberwolves. Karl Anthony-Towns also known as KAT dominated match-ups with other centers by being able to take them outside or inside and score efficiently either way. Towns averaged 25.0 points and 12 rebounds per game while shooting 54% from the field and 37% from three point range.
Thank you for reading this article. Let us know what picks you like and dislike.