MVP: Steph Curry G, Warriors
Curry’s argument for MVP goes well beyond the classic “best player on the best team” assertion. While that claim combined with Curry’s individual game-to-game brilliance may have been enough for him to win the MVP anyway, the Warriors played at a historic level during the regular season, making Curry’s title all the more hefty. The Warriors rank first in the NBA in defensive efficiency and second in offensive efficiency, while the team’s overall net rating of 11.4 is a historical mark. However, the Warriors success has been dependent on Curry’s lethal skillset as they outscore opponents by 16.8 points per 100 possessions with Curry on the floor, but that rating plummets to an even mark when he sits.
- James Harden G, Rockets
Harden has a healthy case, an organically-infused-level healthy case for MVP, as he has proved himself as the league’s deadliest scorer while also leading the Rockets to 56 wins and the two seed in the West. Harden also leads the league in analytical stats such as WAR and Estimated Wins Added, but even that isn’t enough to supplant Curry as the MVP who has been equally spectacular for the juggernaut that is Golden State.
- Russell Westbrook G, Thunder
Unless you were engaged in a Tom Hanks Castaway-style voyage this season, you’re well away of Westbrook’s eye-exploding numbers. While the gripes about his playing style possess some validity, his play has swept the conversation across the league.
- Chris Paul G, Clippers
Uhm…so this is Chris Paul’s the most famous vine of the season…but it’s actually indicative of Paul’s standing in the MVP conversation.
Paul’s vexatious on-court demeanor and dictatorial-type control over the game has overshadowed his perfectly legitimate MVP candidacy. His combination of efficiency, he nearly eclipsed the golden echelon of shooting just missing the 50-40-90 line and offensive burden, the Clips post a ridiculous offensive rating of 115 with Paul on the court, but an off-putting 95.4 when he sits, deserves recognition. Not to mention he led the Clips to the three seed in the nip-and-tuck Western Conference, despite an extended injury absence from Blake Griffin.
Coach of the Year: Steve Kerr, Warriors
Kerr is certainly thankful for the talent that already existed in Golden State before his arrival, but his creativity in his motion-heavy offense has helped the Warriors attain a new level of overall efficiency. Also Kerr has bred improved play in Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, while he has convinced prideful former All-Stars like Andre Iguodala and David Lee to fully accept bench roles for the benefit of the team.
- Mike Budenholzer, Hawks
- Gregg Popovich, Spurs
- Jason Kidd, Bucks
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green F, Warriors
Green oozes defensive versatility displaying the length and foot speed to become the Black Death of NBA offenses. Green is particularly adept at defending the pick and roll a lucrative skill in today’s NBA of pace and space basketball. Green allows 0.92 points per possession in pick and rolls this season, the second best mark in the NBA of the 104 players who have defended 500 pick and rolls, via nba.com. However, it’s Green’s tenacious trash-talking energy that gives him the edge to be perhaps the most-celebrated defensive enforcer in the NBA.
- Kawhi Leonard F, Spurs
- Rudy Gobert C, Jazz
- Tony Allen G, Grizzlies
Most Improved Player: Jimmy Butler G, Bulls
Most Improved Player is a difficult award to give out due to the questions regarding the criteria. Butler’s improvement has been obvious maintaining his upper-level defense, while significantly increasing his scoring output and PER. Butler’s shooting numbers also returned to an acceptable NBA level after a campaign full of misfires last season.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo F, Bucks
Giannis!!! I’m sorry I couldn’t help it.
- Rudy Gobert C, Jazz
- Dennis Schroder G, Hawks
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins F, Timberwolves
Wiggins flashed the potential to mature into a franchise player with the Timberwolves, displaying a tendency to maliciously attack the rim that sometimes curiously vanished during his time at Kansas. Wiggins is far from a finished product who experiences frequent inconsistency with his perimeter shooting and lacks a tight and low handle. However, ball handling and shooting are two skills NBA players regularly display an ability to refine. The most encouraging aspect of Wiggins’ rookie season was his approach and on-court demeanor. Oh yeah and this…
- Nikola Mirotic F, Bulls
- Elfrid Payton G, Magic
- Nerlens Noel C, 76ers
Sixth Man of the Year- Isiah Thomas G, Celtics
The Kings more-than willingly let Thomas walk in free agency during the offseason, then the Suns jettisoned him to Boston midseason. Thomas has starred for the Celtics since, proving to be the shot-creating closer Brad Stevens’ group desperately needed. Lou Williams has been scoring at a ridiculous rate off the bench for the Drakes this season, but he didn’t fuel his team to the postseason in the same vein as Thomas.
- Lou Williams G, Raptors
- Andre Iguodala F, Warriors
- Jamal Crawford G, Clippers
All-NBA 1st Team
Guards: Steph Curry, James Harden
Forwards: LeBron James, Anthony Davis
Center: Tim Duncan
All-NBA 2nd Team
Guards: Chirs Paul, Russell Westbrook
Forwards: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard
Center: Marc Gasol
All-NBA 3rd Team
Guards: John Wall, Kyrie Irving
Forwards: Pau Gasol, Paul Millsap
Center: DeAndre Jordan
Choosing three centers from Duncan, Gasol, Jordan, Boogie Cousins and Al Horford was as torturous as watching one of Cole Aldrich’s hook shots. Duncan has been underrated all season, especially defensively. He kept the Spurs afloat during their early-season swoon when the team was hit with injuries reminiscent of the Looney Tunes in Space Jam. Gasol and Jordan performed at a slightly-higher level than Horford over the course of the season, and Boogie’s combination of games missed along with his team’s faltering record was too great for me to grant him a spot. The only other headache-inducing decisions were putting Millsap on the third team over Griffin, and leaving off Klay Thompson.
All-Defense 1st Team
Guards: Chris Paul, Tony Allen
Forwards: Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard
Center: Rudy Gobert
All-Defense 2nd Team
Guards: John Wall, Khris Middleton
Forwards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Andre Iguodala
Center: Andrew Bogut