The NBA regular season and even the postseason is in the books. Even, the 2018 NBA Draft has been wrapped up and whether or not the timing is right, it's time for the NBA Awards.
A season-ending extravaganza to honour, recognize and appreciate the greatest players in their respective categories with the Most Valuable Player Award and Lifetime Achievement Award being the biggest of the night.
Here's a quick recap of all the awards given out at the star-studded night at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica:
Rookie of the Year Award - Ben Simmons
The Philadelphia 76ers rookie superstar gets voted in as the NBA 2017-18 Rookie of the Year Award. He was a huge reason the Philadelphia 76ers finished as the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference with a 52-30 record, including a 16-game win streak to end the regular season (the last 8 coming without All-Star Joel Embiid).
Simmons, after missing out the 2016-17 due to a foot injury, averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.2 assists in 81 games played. He is the first Australian and third non-American (Pau Gasol and Andrew Wiggins the first and second) and fourth player in Sixers' history to win the award.
Most Improved Player - Victor Oladipo
Trading away Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in exchange for Paul George, everybody believed the Oklahoma City Thunder won that deal. However, the 2nd pick overall from the 2013 Draft, averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.4 assists (led the league) at 47.7% shooting from the field and 37.1% from beyond the arc - all career highs.
He elevated himself from a role player in Orlando and Oklahoma City to a franchise player for the Indiana Pacers. He led the team to a 48-34 record for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. He is the fifth Pacer in franchise history to receive this award after Jalen Rose (1999-00), Jermaine O'Neal (2001-02), Danny Granger (2008-09) and Paul George (2012-13).
Defensive Player of the Year - Rudy Gobert
This was a no-brainer. Rudy Gobert was simply the best defensive player on the second-best defensive team not only in the regular season. He averaged 2.3 blocks and had a defensive rating of 99.5 (via Basketball-Reference). The difference between his Defensive Real Plus-Minus and the second place man is the same as the gap between the second and the 10th spot, which Embiid occupied.
He is the fifth non-American to win this award and the second player in Utah Jazz history (Mark Eaton won it twice - 1985, 89) to be named the DPOY.
Sixth Man of the Year - Lou Williams
For the second time in his career, Lou Williams has been named the Sixth Man of the Year. He previously received the award as a member of the Toronto Raptors for the 2014-15 season. Williams was a huge reason why the LA Clippers, even with a sub-par roster, finished the season with 42 wins with season averages of 22.6 points and 5.3 assists on 43.5% shooting in 79 games played.
He is the second player (Jamal Crawford) in LA Clippers history to win the award and only the fourth player ever to win it twice.
Coach of the Year - Dwane Casey
Despite being fired by the Toronto Raptors, Dwane Casey received the Coach of the Year Award at the 2017-18 NBA Awards for leading the Canadian franchise to it's best season in franchise history - 59 wins and Top 5 in defensive and offensive efficiency.
He even received the NBCA's (National Basketball Coaches Association) Coach of the Year Award in early May, not long after getting fired.
Although he got fired, the well-respected Casey, who has a tremendous track record, accepted another head coaching job to lead the Detroit Pistons.
Tyman Stokes Teammate of the Year Award - Jamal Crawford
NBA Community Assist Award - Kevin Durant
Lifetime Achievement Award - Oscar Robertson
The video made by the league would say more than we can ever write about the contribution of the Big O.
NBA Sportsmanship Award - Kemba Walker
In case anybody was keeping track, this award was introduced in 1996 and Kemba Walker is the second player in league history to win it in consecutive years after Jason Kidd (2012,13). Grant Hill has won the most ever - 3.
Executive Year of the Award - Daryl Morey
The Houston Rockets couldn't achieve their ultimate goal of winning an NBA Championship but their front office, led by Daryl Morey, certainly made sure they had the best chance possible to do the same.
They pushed the reigning champions - the Golden State Warriors - to a Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals but couldn't finish the job, largely in part to Chris Paul suffering a hamstring injury in their Game 5 win in Houston. To no fault of his, Morey, regarded as one of the best executives in the league, finally gets his due.
He is the second Rockets' executive to receive this award, first sine Ray Patterson way back in 1977.
Sager Strong Award - Dikembe Mutombo
Similar to Oscar Robertson, anything written will fall short to the video, as to why the Hall of Famer and 4-time DPOY truly deserves the Sager Strong Award.
Most Valuable Player - James Harden
James Harden, after finishing runners-up twice in the last three years, finally was named the league MVP. He led the Houston Rockets to a franchise-best 65-win regular season with averages of 30.4 points (led the league), 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds at 44.9% shooting in 72 games played.
He led the league in ESPN's PER (29.87), Basketball Reference's Win Shares (15.4), and NBA.com/Stats' PIE (Player Impact Estimate) - 19.4. So by pure numbers and advanced stats, Harden by far the league's best and certainly earned the recognition he has received.
He is only the third player in franchise history, after Moses Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon, to be named MVP.Published 26 Jun 2018, 09:16 IST