Most Valuable Player
Best player on the best team. Yes, he had a great supporting cast and Chris Paul would easily win Best Actor in a supporting role. But Harden is the perfect weapon at this point. With a team full of spacing shooters, he has become the best isolation scorer in the NBA. His defense, will never be great, but that’s fine.
Best player on the Earth, still. He’s wildly valuable, but because there were plenty of games that CLE should have won and didn’t, he has to take a hit for that. So, he finishes second in our MVP voting, which I’m sure he’ll lose a ton of sleep over. Sheesh.
Defensive Player Of the Year
UTA finished as the second best team defense, behind BOS, this season according to Ben Falk. Gobert is the reason they finished second…for a couple of reasons. His block% and defensive win share are really high. One of the best in the league. But he only played in 56 games. If he played in 75 games, they’d have finished as the top defense (we didn’t check the math, but it seems accurate). Either way, he brings the most impact to the defensive side.
His first season getting to 200 stocks, 161 steals + 39 blocks. OKC as a team finished at the top in TO% on defense and was top-10 in points/poss. George draws the tough assignment all night, every night. He needs to get some credit for that.
Rookie Of the Year
An absolute freak of nature. The 76ers are a legitimate force, with Embiid being healthy for most of the year and Simmons stepping into super-stardom. 16/8/8 is impressive across the board. And he spent a lot of time defending point guards as well, which threw a huge wrench in offensive schemes. It will be a fun few years in Philly with Simmons leading the way.
Somewhat of a surprise to the common person. Mitchell was the beneficiary of filling the minutes that were opened up by Gordon Hayward’s departure. He crushed it. The fact that there is even a discussion that Ben Simmons isn’t the clear-cut choice shows how impressive Mitchell has been this year. 20+ points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.5 steals…those numbers aren’t far off from Victor Oladipo this year!
6th Man Of the Year
This award may eventually get re-named for one of these guys, or Jamal Crawford.
Most Improved Player
On his 3rd team and 5th coach in the NBA, it’s awesome to see the former #2 pick start to come around. There has been a lot of hard work and he’s taken advantage of his newfound opportunity. He’s also finally at the age where NBA players have figured out who they are and start to really play to their strengths.
Coach Of the Year
Brad Stevens (narrow victory over Brett Brown)
He’s the best coach in the game right now. D’Antoni is the offensive guru, Thibodeaux has the reputation on the defensive side. Stevens is the guy who does it on both ends. It doesn’t matter who is in the lineup, he finds ways to get his players in position to win games. And that is what coaching is all about.
D’Antoni has 2 Team USA guys, 1 of them being the MVP this year. He’s impressive, but not the best coach. Dwane Casey is in a similar boat. 2 Team USA guys and DeRozan is entering his prime, so his coaching vote gets diluted.
Stevens had Kyrie and Horford, but they lost Gordon Hayward on opening night! Read that again. Name another coach who has lost his best players for as many games as Stevens has this year…Frank Vogel, think about that. Semi Ojeleye, Jaylen Brown, Daniel Thies, Shane Larkin, Aron Baynes, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris, and Marcus Smart all looked better this year because of the coach. Not the other way around.
Brett Brown is fantastic, as well. He survived some of the worst NBA seasons and kept his players engaged. Even when they were losing, they played extremely hard. And they played the right way. Anyone who has watched a game during his tenure can attest to that. It’s refreshing to see an ownership group do what’s best for the players and not make a rash decision regarding their bottom line. Brett Brown/Sam Hinkie are the prime example of perseverance. They stuck to their plan, created a winning culture, and were given enough of a leash (well, one of them) to let the team develop organically. Kudos to the 76ers owners (except that you got rid of the guy who designed the entire plan) for sticking through it.
Media Rookie Of the Year
His site is awesome. They keep adding new content and contributors and if he doesn’t want to get hired by a team, he’ll have a huge following by the time next season rolls around. Great work.
Media Most Valuable Player
ZLowe works the phones more than people know. He’s constantly reaching out to sources to get the correct information, not just throwing stuff at the wall. Fabulous writing style and well timed subject matter. Zach, you’re great. We meant that.