It's NBA Awards SZN, Who Ya Got?

2017 NBA Awards Show

It’s that time of year everyone loves! You know where we all go on the internet to talk about who we personally would rank for all the NBA awards only to be told that our opinion is stupid and that someone ELSE’S opinion is really what it should be. Love this time of year. With the NBA season coming to a close in a matter of days I figured what better time than now to look at all the awards and see who comes out on top. The best part about this is I’m almost positive you’ll disagree, so let’s talk about it. Speak your mind in the comments, hit me up on Twitter, hit up the Greenie Bag, whatever you feel you have to do to tell me how wrong and stupid I am, I’m all for it.

We’ll begin with the big ones….


Candidates: James Harden, Lebron James, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Damian Lillard

For me personally, this award has been decided for quite some time. Every year it seems like the criteria for this award changes. Is it the best player on the best team? The player who is truly most the valuable to their own team? Should it be based on stats or team success? Who the hell knows. So much goes into it to expect any sort of consistency would be foolish. We all know Lebron James has been the best basketball player on the planet for the last 15 years, but there are times where voters get tired of voting for him and you see someone like Derrick Rose win an MVP.

Of the “contenders” on this list really it’s a two man race between Harden and Lebron in my opinion. Anthony Davis has been great since Boogie went down, but his team might miss the playoffs. Dame has been amazing and he deserves praise, but he’s not the MVP. Same thing with DeRozan. The seasons that Harden and Lebron have had put them a step above everyone else and you can certainly make a case for either. For Lebron he’s playing the best basketball of his career at a time when that shouldn’t make sense, and we all agree the Cavs are going to be hot garbage once he leaves. There is no more important player in relation to their team’s success than Lebron. That’s a fact.

But Harden’s season has been something special. He’s adjusted to playing with another alpha in CP3 better than we all thought while not taking even the slightest step back in terms of his production. He leads the league in scoring, is 3rd in assists, leads in PER and usage rate and plays on the best team in the NBA that’s had to go long stretches with guys missing games. Add in he’s a fellow Sun Devil and this is maybe the easiest decision of all time.

I will say this though, Westbrook’s ability to average a triple double for the season is still in play, and if he does that don’t we have to give it to him based on the rationale that was used last year? I’d love to see that chaos.

Greenie Pick: James Harden

Most Improved Player

Candidates: Jaylen Brown, Victor Oladipo, Clint Capela, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle

Much like MVP, there are a lot of worthy candidates for this award. We’re seeing some of the best young promising talent in the league make a jump and that’s certainly exciting. This history of this award is basically a who’s who of the NBA. Names like Giannis, CJ McCollumn, Jimmy Butler, People George, Kevin Love etc have all won it, and no matter who wins it always feels like someone was robbed. This is one of the hardest awards to decide in my opinion because so much relies on the individual team and role of each player. For example, look at Julius Randle. The guy has been on an absolute TEAR since January and has played his way into a guy the Lakers really shouldn’t want to lose. That’s a very different story from what his perception was to start the year. Then you have guys like his teammate in Ingram and then Jaylen Brown who were given much more responsibility in their Year 2 seasons, each responding really well and having mini breakout years.

But just like with Harden, Victor Oladipo is the run away winner in my mind. You want to talk about breakout seasons, well the season Oladipo has put together is the very definition of that statement. We all laughed when IND made that trade this summer, and it’s fair to say now that things have played out, they got the player who had the best season of everyone involved. So how much did he improve? Well, in basically the same minutes as last year we saw Oladipo improve his FG% form 44% to 47% despite 5 more FGA a night, he had a career year shooting the three at 36.8% while making a career high 2.2 3PM a night, he had a career high in rebounds, assists, and steals. Most importantly his scoring average had the biggest jump, from 15.9 to 23.3. This isn’t taking away from what the other candidates did to improve their game, but we can all agree Oladipo took the biggest leap out of everyone


Greenie Pick: Victor Oladipo

Sixth Man Of The Year

Candidates: Eric Gordon, Fred VanVleet, Lou Williams, Terry Rozier

In my eyes, this is a two man race. In one corner we have Eric Gordon, who is looking to repeat as the league’s best reserve and in the other corner we have Lou Williams, another former winner who is doing stuff coming off the bench for the Clippers that not even starting guards are doing. When you compare the numbers between the two, things are crazy close. They both play around the same minutes (31 vs 32), both shoot 43% from the field and their 3p% is close as well (36% for Gordon and 35% for Lou). In terms of scoring, it’s no secret the Rockets offense is about a billion times better, and Gordon is more of a threat from deep, but that’s where his advantage stops. When you look at the season Lou Williams has had for the Clippers, he’s basically saved their season. Now despite not making the playoffs, Williams is on pace to average more points (22.5) than almost every previous 6th Man winner. He led the NBA in scoring in January, not just for reserves, but for EVERYONE. Add in that he also averaged over 5 assists and we’re looking at a guy that should win his second 6th Man award in the past three seasons

Greenie Pick: Lou Williams

Defensive Player Of The Year

Candidates: Rudy Gobert, Al Horford, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant

So far all of these awards have for the most part been a no brainer. Once you get to DPOY, this is where things could go in a wide range of directions. Nobody can deny the impact of a healthy Embiid defensively, the guy is an absolute monster that anchored one of the best defenses of the second half. Then you have guys like Horford who while not flashy, is the leader of one of the best overall defenses in the NBA. AD and Durant certainly are no slouches either.

But there’s just something different about Rudy Gobert. Once he came back everything changed for the Jazz on the defensive end. With Gobert off the court the Jazz give up 111.8 points per 100 possessions. Since he came back? That number is down to 97.7. UTA gives up the fewest points in the paint largely because of Gobert and when you watch teams try and score against them even if Gobert isn’t in the play, the shear fear of him is impacting shots. Guys are hesitant to do anything around the rim with him in the game and that’s been a huge reason for UTA’s success. It’s actually pretty staggering, the Jazz are 11-15 without him in the lineup and 35-18 when he plays. With him in the lineup the Jazz are 1st in points allowed, 1st in Drtg, 1st in opponent FG%, 3rd in net rating, 4th in points per game differential, 2nd in rebounds per game differential, 2nd in rebounding% and 1st in opponent FGs in the paint. If that doesn’t scream DPOY than what the hell does?


Greenie Pick: Rudy Gobert

Rookie Of The Year

Candidates: Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, Baby Dirk

Maybe the most controversial award simply because it all depends on where you stand on Ben Simmons. Is he a rookie in the sense that this was the first year he played in an actual NBA game? Yes. Does already being a part of the NBA world for an entire year give him a leg up on the rest of the rookie class? Yes. Anyone who says it doesn’t is most likely just a Sixers fan. Part of dealing with the travel and the lifestyle of the NBA is a huge part of adjusting to life as a rookie, and he already had a head start. This isn’t the first time this has happened, with Embiid and Blake also being in similar positions, and I can totally get why some (Jazz fans) think he shouldn’t be eligible.

This wouldn’t be a big deal if not for how fucking good Donovan Mitchell has been. I think it goes without saying that in any other year it would be a no brainer. Even I said that if he carried the Jazz to the playoffs that he should get the award. But, look there is no denying the production of Ben Simmons. Triple doubles coming left and right, his team has outperformed expectations, and he is doing shit we haven’t seen since Lebron. I just can’t sit here and look at what Simmons is doing night in and night out, all without really being able to shoot, and say that if we are going to consider him eligible, that someone else should win the award. His 15/8/8 on 54% shooting and 19.86 PER is simply too impressive for me to overlook. Again if Mitchell does end up winning it will 100% be deserved, but I don’t think it’ll happen.

Greenie Pick: Ben Simmons


Coach Of The Year

Candidates: Dwane Casey, Brad Stevens, Quinn Snyder, Mike D’Antoni, Terry Stotts, Nate McMillan

Another tough choice. With so many teams outperforming expectations, it’s really not a bad decision no matter where you go. Of this list though two really stand out and that’s Brad Stevens and Quinn Snyder. Both have their teams in the top 4 of their conference despite having to deal with a crazy amount of injuries to key players. People want to pump up Casey because he “reinvented” the Raptors, but they are basically as good record wise as last year and have had no real injury issues. The work that Snyder and Stevens have done over the entire season puts them a cut above in my opinion.

So of those two, I think at this point you have to go Stevens. Not just because I’m a Celtics guy, but think of another team that can lose it’s second best player 5 minutes into the season, and then also lose it’s best player and best reserve for the remainder of the season as well as a solid big man and STILL win 53+ games while having the league’s best defense. This recent stretch, where they won 6 games against current playoff teams sort of sealed the deal in my mind. Stevens has found lineups and rotations and has mixed and matched his way to wins without his best talent. The Celtics are going to pass the 200 mark in games missed due to injury which is more than double what they had last year, and yet they still win. Credit the players for stepping up, but also credit Brad for being a goddamn wizard.

Greenie Pick: Brad Stevens

All NBA 1st Team

What makes this tough is that injuries have really impacted a couple spots. This means that despite their strong seasons, I’m leaving Curry, CP3 and Kyrie off. They’ve simply missed too many games. If I had to separate all three teams out given everything we know, this is how I’d do it

G – James Harden

G – Damian Lillard

F – Lebron James

F – Giannis Antetokounmpo

C – Anthony Davis

All NBA 2nd Team

G – DeMar DeRozan

G – Russell Westbrook

F – Kevin Durant

F – Draymond Green

C – LaMarcus Aldridge

All NBA 3rd Team

G – Victor Oladipo

G – Bradley beal

F – Paul George

F – Al Horford

C – Joel Embiid

Now looking defensively…

All NBA Defense 1st Team

PG – Ben Simmons

SG – Victor Oladipo

SF – Robert Covington

PF – Draymond Green

C – Rudy Gobert

All NBA Defense 2nd Team

PG – Donovan Mitchell

SG – Jaylen Brown

SF – Paul George

PF – Al Horford

C – Joel Embiid

And now looking at the rookies….

All Rookie 1st Team

G – Ben Simmons

G – Donovan Mitchell

F – Jayson Tatum

F – Josh Jackson

F – Kyle Kuzma

All Rookie 2nd Team

G – Dennis Smith Jr

G – Lonzo Ball

F – Dillon Brooks

F – Lauri Markkanen

F – John Collins

The fun part about doing this is there really isn’t a wrong answer. It’s all about personal preference. But this is also the internet so if you disagree with anything I’ve listed, maybe you would rank them differently or you thought I should have included someone on your favorite team, let me know in the comments.