We can call a few first round match up's "over" already
In the words of Kenny Smith "it's over ladies and gentlemen!"
As the NBA regular season winds down and the league playoff race comes to a close, it is time to look back on another incredible year of basketball.
Now as the League continues to push back the awards season every year (this time all the way to June 25th) it becomes apparent that some voters are going to begin, or continue, taking the post season into account during voting for awards and All NBA teams. So that is what I did as well, even though I still await my acceptance letter to be able to actually cast my vote for MVP and such here are my (completely correct) takes on who will go home with new decorations for their trophy room.
Lets start with some obvious ones.
6th Man of the Year - Lou Williams
Now no one really has a big argument against Lou Williams walking home with another 6th Man of the Year award, the closest competition is Eric Gordon, but as a previous starter and with Chris Paul missing time he ended up starting nearly half the games he played in (30)
Most Improved Player - Victor Oladipo
This is the easiest award by far, after three miserable seasons with the horrible Orlando Magic, and a short stint being Russell Westbrook's punching bag Oladipo is having a career year in nearly every single column including adding 6 points to his career average PPG with 23 this season.
Rookie of the Year - Ben Simmons
Now while I personally disagree with the league rules on what defines a “Rookie”, Ben Simmons clearly is the favorite to win this years honor with 15.9 ppg 8.2 Rebounds and Assists. If the League rules were based purely off who is actually in their first year in the league we would've had a really fun argument between Utah's Donovan Mitchell and the Celtics Jayson Tatum.
Executive of the Year - Danny Ainge
With only three members of last seasons number 1 seed in the East returning and a year later still being the 2 seed in the East with a injury riddled season is an impressive feat that cannot be understated. Which bring us to…
Coach of the Year - Brad Stevens
Game one of the season, the Brad Stevens lead Celtics lose his honorary son and NBA All Star Gordon Hayward, and shortly after go on nearly a 20 game win streak. Not to mention coaching almost an entirely new squad this former Butler coach turned one of the youngest teams in the NBA into a legitimate contender before late season injuries gutted the team.
Now for the two deepest and will be the most controversial awards.
Defensive Player of the Year - Al Horford
Al Horford was the glue that held the Celtics together when Gordon Hayward was injured, as well as the defensive focal point and leader of the leagues best defense. Leading the team to top 5 defensive performances in the following categories: Field goals allowed, Field Goal %, 3's Made, 3pt %, Assists Allowed, Blocks and Points.
My bias may being showing but I believe Horford's performance just edged him over the likes of Rudy Gobert and Joel Embiid
Most Valuable Player - Lebron James
Ask nearly anyone who is the Best player in the NBA of the past 15 years, most will respond easily and quickly with Lebron James, but why does his MVP collection not reflect it? Because we have just become accustomed to the insanely impressive performance he puts on night in and night out. With the Cavaliers entire roster flipped upside down midway through the season and Lebron's continuous dominance it is hard to argue against him, he is doing it all by himself.
Unlike his competitors for the award, Westbrook has Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, James Harden has Chris Paul. Though it is worth mentioning Russell Westbrook is now the only player ever to average a triple double in two seasons.
The only competitor that truly had a shot to steal the MVP away from Lebron was Anthony Davis of the Pelicans. After losing DeMarcus Cousins to injury early the Pelicans didn't miss a step. The factor that became a difference maker is championship contender. The Pelicans are fighting for a playoff spot and might miss them entirely while everyone still in fear of playing Lebron no matter that his team is only a 4 seed.
“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential” - Winston Churchill