It’s a yearly argument that basketball fans debate on throughout the NBA regular season, and often-times prematurely. If the season ended now, who’s the MVP? Who’s the Sixth Man of the Year? Who’s the Rookie of the Year? Well, with the NBA season not expected to spark back up anytime soon, there’s a chance that we may have to make the final decision sooner than expected.
So, I figured I’d give my awards based on the 64 games I’ve watched. Remember, this is solely based on a 64-game sample size and not based on expectations, playoff implications or anything associated.
Most Valuable Player:
For me, it was between Lebron and Giannis which was a tough choice, but come on, Giannis is averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game in 30 minutes while shooting 54.7 percent from the field. Lebron started to build steam as he usually does around this time of the season, but remember, as of now, Giannis is the NBA’s MVP.
Rookie of the Year:
Zion Williamson is very obviously the future of the league, and many experts will vote for him as this year’s ROY, but Morant is more of a complete player and that’s extremely clear to me. He’s averaging a balanced stat-line across the board. 17.6 points and 6.9 assists per game with only 3.2 turnovers per game. For reference, Morant’s numbers are better than Westbrook’s rookie numbers (15.3 points and 5.5 rebounds with 3.3 turnovers per game). Again, Zion is transcendent and a generational player, but so is Morant, and he’s been doing it for 59 games versus Zion’s 19.
Sixth Man of the Year:
Dennis is a hometown kid, but I promise I’m not being a homer with this one. He undoubtedly deserves to win this year’s 6th Man award. One may argue that Lou Williams should win it, but he has three. He’s tied with Jamal Crawford for most in NBA history. Let some new blood in, Lou. Schroder’s numbers reflect it and his team’s success is more dependant on his performance, much like Williams’s role on the Clippers last season. Schroder is averaging 19 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 31 minutes per game off the bench. This is simple: there isn’t another NBA player as important as Schroder is to the Thunder.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Giannis should be the winner of this award and that plays into why I believe he’s also the NBA’s MVP. Remember, when drafted, scouts boasted Giannis’ defensive ability, not what he could do on offense. The truth is that he may be better defensively than offensively. Opponents only score 96.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor, so why not make him the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1993-1994 to win both.
Most Improved Player:
This was one of the easiest selections because I remember him from last year and have seen where his game has ascended to since then. The 22-year old big man has turned into one of the most versatile, well-rounded players in the league. Bam is averaging a double-double 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and an uncharacteristic 5.1 assists per game. Last season, he only averaged 8.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. Adebayo is also a versatile defender.
Coach of the Year:
Again, not a homer vote and a lot of people would go for Nick Nurse who’s more than eligible for this award, but the Thunder lost two perennial all-stars in Russell Westbrook and Paul George and are (were?) on pace to win 51 games. That would make them better than they were last season, with significantly less talent. Plus, the storyline is better with Donovan. This has been a redemption season for him after many around the league and Thunder organization were questioning his ability to coach in the NBA after three-straight first-round exits.