MVP: James Harden
Runner-up: Steph Curry
I spent quite a few words before explaining why James Harden should be the MVP, but I’ll reiterate my point again. No player does more for his team than Harden has done all season. One could make the argument that Russell Westbrook has done more, but after he took 43 shots against the Pacers it’s clear he’s just going bonkers trying to make anything work.
Steph Curry has the privilege of playing with someone who appears on this list twice, and Klay Thompson. Harden has a Dwight Howard, which isn’t saying much, and a bunch of decent role players. Without Harden the Rockets wouldn’t have 55 wins let alone make the playoffs. Without Steph Curry it’s possible Thompson, Green, and company would have made the playoffs. James Harden is your MVP.
Most Improved Player/Defenisve Player of the Year: Draymond Green
MIP Runner-up: Jimmy Butler
DPOY Runner-up: Kawhi Leonard
If you’re going on points alone then Jimmy Butler probably wins this award over Green, but Green does so much more for the Warriors. Green plays defense, blocks shots, makes the a three when needed, and is the heart of the Warriors.
Also, because people tend to mostly pay attention to just stats, Jimmy Butler averaged seven more minutes per game over the course of the season than Green. While he wouldn’t average 20 points like Butler, his stats would still be much more inflated.
Sixth Man of the Year: Louis Williams
Runner-up: Tristan Thompson
Sixth Man of the Year is a little tough this year, but the main contenders are Williams, Isaiah Thomas, and Tristan Thompson. However, the Raptors very quietly won the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and with very much thanks to Louis Williams.
Though I really like Tristan Thompson, Williams value to the Raptors was greater than Thompson to the Raptors. Williams doesn’t really shoot a good percentage, rebound well, or get assists, but he scores when the Raptors need him. He’s like a poor man’s Monta Ellis, and was pivotal in a lot of close fourth quarters for the Raptors.
Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer
Runner-up: Steve Kerr
You could make the case for almost any coach of a Western conference team that makes the playoffs, but Budenholzer led the Hawks to the best record in the East to go along with four all stars.
There really isn’t much to say considering the Hawks blew through the East, but Budenholzer will really earn the award if he can get to the finals, and at least put up a fight.
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins
Runner-up: Nerlens Noel
This became a really good race between Wiggins, Nikola Mirotic, and Nerlens Noel. I wanted every reason to not give Wiggins the award, but he’s earned it. I honestly didn’t expect Wiggins to fair so well, I thought he was going to be more of a super athletic Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but I was wrong.
Wiggins averaged 16.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and a steal. While he didn’t shoot particularly well his 43 percent from the field, and 75 percent from three are solid numbers from a 20-year-old. The T’Wolves did a fine job getting Wiggins in return for Love.