The 2016-17 NBA season has ended, but the award winners will not be announced until June. Fortunately, this gives us plenty of time to analyze the selections across the board. With the ballots being cast, and the playoffs gearing up, here are the Sport News Magazine 2016-17 NBA Awards Predictions:
Most Valuable Player – Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Yes, Westbrook did average a triple-double. Even so, there is more to this than just the numbers. The Thunder lost the best player on their team in Kevin Durant, had nothing to replace the void he left, yet still came near to a 50 win season. The narrative, the numbers and the historic magnitude of what Westbrook has done this season should be acknowledged by naming him the Most Valuable Player.
Rookie of the Year – Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Milwaukee Bucks
Joel Embiid was one of the greatest rookies ever over his 31 games played. However, that was not enough for us to hand him this award. Brogdon shot over 45 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range, and ranked fourth in scoring among rookies. He played a strong role on a playoff team, and more importantly did so while playing the majority of the season.
Defensive Player of the Year – Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert is a true center and the anchor of the Utah Jazz. His dominant rim protection throughout this season, leading the league with 2.6 blocks per game, proves his worth on the defensive end. When you add his 12.8 rebounds per game (4th in the league), the case for Gobert only gets easier. His ability to cover the floor and be a defensive predator made the Utah Jazz a top-three defensive team.
Sixth Man of the Year – Eric Gordon, SG, Houston Rockets
Eric Gordon and Andre Iguodala raced to the finish for this award. It would be fair to argue that Iguodala is better all around; however, consider the fact that Eric Gordon is embracing this role for the first time in his career and is ranked second on his team in scoring (16.2 ppg).
Most Improved Player – Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks
This vote should be unanimous. The Greek Freak turned his potential into production and became an All-Star. Antetokounmpo improved in every statistical category over last season and had easily earned this award.
Coach of the Year – Mike D’Antoni, Houston Rockets
Mike D’Antoni turned the Houston Rockets around by taking a group in confusion and putting them in a position to succeed. D’Antoni made James Harden a full-time point guard and it paid off. Harden flourished with this move as he averaged a career high in points, assists, and rebounds. Houston finished third in the Western Conference and improved their record by 14 wins over last season.
Executive of the Year – Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets
Daryl Morey hired Mike D’Antoni (potential Coach of the Year), signed Eric Gordon (potential Sixth Man of the Year), and put more faith than ever before in James Harden (potential MVP). Enough said.
All-NBA 1st Team
G – Russell Westbrook
G – James Harden
F – Kawhi Leonard
F – LeBron James
C – Rudy Gobert
All-NBA 2nd Team
G – Isaiah Thomas
G – Stephen Curry
F – Giannis Antetokounmpo
F – Draymond Green
C – Deandre Jordan
All-NBA 3rd Team
G – Kyrie Irving
G – John Wall
F – Paul George
F – Kevin Durant
C – DeMarcus Cousins
Comment and tell us where we went wrong. Our staff at Sport News Magazine would love to debate.