James Harden Wins MVP
In perhaps the most controversial awards night in recent memory, James Harden headlined the night winning his first MVP award over LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Harden lead the Houston Rockets to a NBA best 65-17 record and first seed in the western conference. Harden averaged 30.4 points per game, 8.8 assists, and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting just under 45% from the field. The Rockets lost to the Warriors in seven games falling one game short of reaching their first NBA finals since winning the 1994-95 NBA Finals.
The decision comes with much controversy as many critics think that LeBron James should have been the rightful winner of this year’s MVP award, after carrying a less than adequate roster to the fourth seed in the east.
Ben Simmons Wins Rookie of the Year
Ben Simmons won Rookie of the year last night over Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum. While there isn’t much controversy that Simmons had the best regular season of the three, Donovan Mitchell shared his thoughts midway through the 2017-18 season on how Simmons shouldn’t have been eligible to win Rookie of the Year despite not playing a game in his first year with the Sixers. Simmons averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game for a Sixers team that has finally come to fruition after years of last place finishes.
Rudy Gobert Wins Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz won the Defensive Player of the Year award over Al Horford of the Celtics and Joel Embiid of the Sixers. The French international known as the “Steiffel Tower”, Gobert lead a team that in turn lead the league in defensive efficiency. The Jazz’s defensive efficiency rating of 97.4 was a full four points better than the number two team. Gobert was a force inside the paint averaging 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 56 games played this season.
Victor Oladipo Most Improved Player
From role player on the Thunder to All-Star on the Pacers, Victor Oladipo won most improved player of the 2017-18 season. Oladipo was an eastern-conference all-star this season and improved in every important statistical category across the board.
Oladipo was nearly able to take his success deep into the playoffs, but fell in seven games to LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Lou Williams Wins Sixth Man of the Year
Lou Williams won Sixth Man of the Year over Will Barton and Fred VanVleet after putting up borderline superstar numbers with 22.3 points and 5.3 assists with the Los Angeles Clippers. It was the second sixth man award for Williams who also won the award in the 2014-15 season with the Toronto Raptors. Williams signed a contract extension this year to stay with the Clippers for three more years.
Dwane Casey Wins Coach of the Year
Despite losing his job just a few days after the Raptors got bounced in four games by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dwane Casey won Coach of the Year over Quin Snyder and Brad Stevens. Perhaps proof that the Raptors shouldn’t have parted ways with Casey, he lead the Raptors to a franchise best 59-wins. Casey has already signed a deal with the Detroit Pistons for the next five years.
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