Predicting the 2016-17 Regular Season Award Winners
The regular season is finally over and on Saturday afternoon the NBA Playoffs officially kicked off. So what does that mean?
Award season is upon us!
Now while it would be nice to give everyone in the NBA participation awards for making this the best season ever, unfortunately we have to boil down our winners to one per award. So apologies in advanced to Bruno Caboclo of the Toronto Raptors who thanks in large part to a career game in the season finale finished the campaign with a PER of 14.6, a big improvement from last seasons -7.7 PER.
Mr. two years away from being two years away will have to wait a little bit longer for his first Most Improved Player of the Year award, but he can for sure get our ‘most likely to succeed award’.
And now without further adieu, let’s take a look at who deserves to take home this past regular season’s hardware!
Most Improved Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
There cannot really be any debate here.
The world knew it was going to come sooner rather than later and now, ‘The Greek Freak’ is truly a freak of nature and an absolute force on both ends of the basketball court. Giannis Antetokounmpo went from a very solid season in 2015-16 to a breakout season this year, a year in which he became a star and quite possibly one of the top 10 basketball players in the world.
Who can guard this dude? He is 6’11”, 220-pounds, can get from one end of the court to another in two or three dribbles and can dunk from the elbow with the greatest of ease. He is the only player in NBA history to lead his team in steals, blocks, points, rebounds, and assists in a single season and in the absence of Jabari Parker, willed the Bucks to a sixth seed.
Most Improved Player of the Year? This is simply too easy.
Honourable Mentions: Gordon Hayward (UTA), Isaiah Thomas (BOS)
Rookie of the Year: Malcolm Brogdon (MIL)
More incoming hardware for the Bucks on its way.
With Joel Embiid playing only 31-games the entire season, Malcolm Brogdon should be rewarded for being healthy and effective the entire season as well as being a big part behind the Bucks playoff push. Leaving school for the NBA as a senior, Brogdon immediately showed the poise, the maturity, and the basketball IQ of a veteran.
Aside from the great makeup, the rookie out of Virginia averaged 10.2-points and 4.8-assists per game, while shooting 40.2% from three-point range. A great defender as well, Brogdon has become a big part of what looks to be a very bright future for the Milwaukee Bucks franchise and therefore deserves to take home Rookie of the Year.
Honourable Mentions: Dario Saric (PHI), Joel Embiid (PHI)
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green (GSW)
Needing a new defensive anchor with the offseason loss of Andrew Bogut, the veteran forward out of Michigan State Green came into his own. With his agility and athletic ability, Green was able to handle to quicker guards in the NBA, while with his strength and lower centre of gravity he was capable of battling with the bigs.
With a career high 2.0-steals per game as well as 1.4-blocks per night, Green led one of the more stingier defense in basketball as well as quite possibly the best defense in basketball.
There should be no controversy this where Defensive Player of the Year is concerned.
Honourable Mentions: Rudy Gobert (UTA), Kawhi Leonard (SAS)
Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon (HOU)
Leading one of the more prolific offences in NBA history, Eric Gordon was a spark plug off the bench for the Houston Rockets.
Finally healthy, Gordon was drilling three-pointers all season long, allowing the Rockets to stay afloat while their M.V.P. candidate rests on the bench. Gordon averaged 16.2-points per game while shooting the three at a 37.2% clip. A PER of 13.2 off the bench isn’t too shabby either.
A great individual season for Gordon deserves recognition.
Honourable Mentions: Andre Iguodala (GSW), Zach Randolph (MEM)
Coach of the Year: Mike D’Antoni (HOU)
How nice would it have been to give Eric Spoelstra this award for the mastery of a job he has done in Miami. The Heat had no business competing for a playoff spot with the talent they had at their disposal, yet somehow, Spoelstra brought them within a win of a playoff spot.
That is not to diminish the job of Mike D’Antoni. He has an offensive system and he was given all the right pieces in Houston. With those pieces, D’Antoni orchestrated one of the top offences in NBA history, taking a dysfunctional Houston team to a third seed in the Western Conference.
Not bad for a guy who doesn’t believe in defense!
Honourable Mentions: Brad Stevens (BOS), Eric Spoelstra (MIA)
Executive of the Year: Bob Myers (GSW)
The guy got Kevin Durant while maintaining the core of the his championship blueprint. The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the West and yet again are the NBA Champion-winning favourites.
What more needs to be said?
Honourable Mentions: Masai Ujiri (TOR), David Griffin (CLE)
Most Valuable Player of the Year: Russell Westbrook (OKC)
Most triple-doubles in a season in NBA history, a few buzzer beaters along the way and leading his team into the playoffs without an old friend in Kevin Durant around. Not too shabby of course. Westbrook did all he could to get his Thunder team to the promised land and still deserves recognition.
Honourable Mentions: James Harden (HOU), LeBron James (CLE)