Most Valuable Player
Pat: Russell Westbrook is my pick for MVP. Don’t get me wrong James Harden is a phenomenal player, but I just believe Russ had too good of a year to not give him the Award. Westbrook averages a Triple-Double and also leads the league in scoring. The Houston Rockets do have the better record, but I don’t think that will be enough for Harden to win MVP. Westbrook will walk away as the 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player.
Donald: My second favorite NBA player and my preseason MVP pick Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is dynamic and and he's averaging a Triple-Double and leading the league in scoring, but he also broke Oscar Robertson's single-season Triple-Double record. He carried his team to the 6th seed and with his stretch of outstanding games he solidified himself as the MVP.
Kaley: I've been a firm Westbrook-for-MVP person for a few months now, and it shall remain that way. Not only did he average a triple-double this season - take a second to attempt to fathom that - Westbrook's team went 33-9 when he did score a triple-double in a game. Yeah, Westbrook scored forty-two TDs. The league hasn't seen a player average a triple-double in 55 years. And that isn't the only reason why Russ should win MVP. One incredibly overlooked factor is that when the Thunder moved from Seattle to OKC, it was Kevin Durant's team, and they had James Harden, too. In just a few year's time, both of those guys were long gone, leaving Westbrook all alone. Any player in Russ' position would leave and go for that ring. Not Westbrook. Despite being in the free agent mix recently, he's staying put in OKC and staying true to the fanbase that's endured a lot in recent years. That's what MVPs are made of.
Jordan: I've been a big James Harden guy for pretty much the entire season now. But honestly, I've given in. Despite the fact that the Thunder are going to finish the year as the 6th seed in the Western Conference, that isn't enough to derail the greatness and the history that has been made by Russell Westbrook in the 2016-17 season. I mean, 42 triple-doubles in one season is just unreal, and he's got like 10 more games where he's come close to getting ANOTHER triple-double. It would just be inhumane for the NBA to award anyone else than Russell Westbrook at this point. Just give him the damn award already!
Rookie of the Year
Pat: Dario Saric will be the 2017 Rookie of the Year. If Joel Embiid hadn’t of got hurt, he would have been my pick for Rookie of the Year without a doubt. Sadly, you can’t say the best Rookie is a guy who played only 31 games. Saric on the other hand played 81 games and averaged 12.3 points and 6 rebounds which aren’t bad stats considering the trash rookie class. If Ben Simmons hadn’t of gotten hurt he would have definitely made a splash in the NBA this season. The Rookie of the Year race next year is going to be insane, 30x better than this year I can tell you that.
Donald: Malcolm Brogdon is gonna be my pick for 2017 rookie of the Year. Brogdon has been the definition of consistency for the playoff-bound Bucks. His player efficiency rating is first for rookies with 14.8, he's also first in assists, steals, 3 point percentage, and +/- for all rookies. They're other picks that could be possibilities but Brogdon is my pick.
Kaley: My pick would have to be Joel Embiid. This one is rightfully controversial, given that he only played in 31 games this season due to yet another season-ending knee injury. Embiid only played 786 minutes over that span, essentially playing half of each game, but still ended up averaging 20.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 8 blocks per game. Those numbers are comparable to only rookies who would go on to become Hall of Famers, such as Tim Duncan, Shaq and Hakeem Olajuwon. Pretty good company. He did this with a minutes limit, too. He blocked more shots per game than anyone in the league other than Rudy Gobert. After Embiid went down for the season, the RoY spot was open for anyone's taking, but nobody really rose to the occasion.
Jordan: Going to sound like a bit of a homer here, but my pick for rookie of the year is Jaylen Brown. Not only has he come in to a team that, apparently now, actually thinks they have a shot at an NBA title, but because he's a big reason for that. Now don't let the 6.6 PPG deceive you, because that's due to a lack of consistency in his minutes. The more he plays, the better his numbers are. And, not to mention, he's the only candidate, aside from Malcolm Brogdon, who is making the playoffs this season. Other guys like Dario Saric, Brandon Ingram, etc. are watching it on their respective sofas. Brown has endured great pressure this year, and that's why he's my pick for the NBA's 2017 Rookie of the Year.
Defensive Player of the Year
Pat: As much as I hate this guy and his team, I can’t bring myself to not give him the award. The 2017 Defensive Player of the Year will be Draymond Green. The guy is just a monster on Defense. He’s one of the main reasons the Warriors are so good in my opinion. Sure you have Steph, Klay, And KD but Draymond adds a different element to that team, especially on defense.
Donald: This guy could arguably win Most Improved Player as well but I'm going with Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi has taken himself to a whole new level this year. He continues to lockdown star player after star player and is averaging 1.8 steals per game while leading the Spurs to the two seed.
Kaley: I'd have to go with Rudy Gobert. From his insane length that allows him to decrease his man's shooting space, to his patient style of rim protection leading to monster blocks, to leading the league in defensive rating, Gobert has and does it all. While his competition, presumably Leonard and Green, have the history, in my opinion, neither have been the best defenders in the NBA, while Gobert has. Not only is Gobert a defensive animal, he's literally the center of Utah's defensive scheme. Everything they do on the defensive end revolves around him, and it's worked out pretty well for them thus far.
Jordan: Going to agree with Kaley here. I'm going with the Stifle Tower as well (aka Rudy Gobeert). The Jazz really burst onto the scene this year, after years of being average, and actually were one of the better teams in the West for much of the season. They wound up finishing in 5th place, but still a success considering where they had been in previous years. They got in because of their rim protector, Rudy Gobert. Averaging 2.6 BPG is nothing to scoff at either. He earned this recognition.
Most Improved Player
Pat: The Most Improved Player Award goes to Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak made a splash this year with people starting to draw comparisons to Lebron and KD. Giannis was one of the better players in the entire NBA this year and I really believe he is a future MVP. But for now he is going to have to settle with a Most Improved Player Award.
Donald: Giannis Antetokounmpo is for sure my pick. He's the first player in NBA history to finish top 10 in all 5 of the major stat catagories. That is utterly absurd, each year Giannis has had steady improvement in the league and this year was his true coming out party and it was amazing to watch.
Kaley: My bias might be showing when I say Isaiah Thomas. I don't know if it's possible for a player to have two breakout seasons, but I think The Little Guy did just that in 2015-16 and 2016-17. In '15-16, Thomas exploded into a first-time All-Star, giving himself a name in this star-driven league. He somehow got even better this past season, again becoming an All-Star. Thomas raised his PPG average by 6.9 points, to 29.1, good for third in the league, while also increasing his field goal, 3-point and foul shooting percentages by 4% each. His fourth quarter heroics shouldn't be swept under the rug, either, as he average nearly 10 points in the fourth, tied for best in the league. Not to mention, he shot 91% from the line, 38% from behind the arc, and had a 46 FG%. He was only one of six players to shoot at least that 45 FG%, 30 3P% and 90 FT%. Plus, only Thomas, Harden and Westbrook had 2,000+ points and 400+ assists.
Jordan: Going with a pretty easy name to spell here: Nikola Jokic. The Joker burst onto the scene this year with his point guard skillset in a 7 footer's body. He made flashy pass after flashy pass, as well as becoming a behemoth as a scoring threat for the Nuggets, who have been searching for their first Superstar player since they traded Carmelo Anthony. It's been a while, but it looks like Jokic might be that guy. Didn't he win the Skills Competition this year too? Yeah.
Coach of the Year:
Pat: The 2017 NBA Coach of the Year is going to be Mike D’Antoni. The Rockets finished with the 8th seed in the Western Conference last year and were handed a first round departure courtesy of Steph Curry and Golden State. The Rockets fired Kevin Mchale and hired Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni came in and made James Harden his Point Guard. This was obviously successful as Harden is a MVP candidate. D’Antoni turned around an entire franchise, I think this is deserving of a Coach of the Year award.
Donald: The obvious pick for this is Brad Stevens. Stevens helped lead the C's to 53 wins and the one seed. Stevens is an outstanding coach and will help the Celtics for many years to come.
Kaley: It's hard to pick against Mike D'Antoni here. Just last season, the Rockets were a dysfunctional and underachieving mess in every possible way under Kevin McHale. Then, D'Antoni comes in, and like Pat mentioned, turned Harden into a PG, and made the Rockets a legitimate playoff threat. Houston also quickly began loading up on shooters to give D'Antoni the ability to create schemes for them to get open looks and lanes, leading to the team being one of the better offensive groups in the league. His offensive schemes led Houston to averaging 115.2 PPG this season, just behind Golden State. This Rockets team has the capability of knocking off the Warriors if they play their cards right, all thanks to the addition of D'Antoni.
Jordan: I think Mike D'Antoni is the obvious pick here, but I'm going to give my guy Brad Stevens a lot of credit. The Celtics have consistently improved since he became head coach in year one of the rebuild, including a monster jump from the 5th seed last year, to the 1st seed this year. Obviously the odds of beating the Cavaliers is very slim for years to come, but Brad Stevens is very deserving of this award, not to discourage D'Antoni though, because he is just as deserving as well.
Sixth Man of the Year:
Pat: The Sixth Man of the Year Award should go to Lou Williams. He started the season with the Lakers and was dealt to the Rockets during the trade deadline.
Donald: I'm gonna have to also go with Enes Kanter on this one, he's an outstanding guy to have coming off the bench and has helped the Thunder tremendously.
Kaley: My Sixth Man of the Year vote would, hands down, go to Andre Igoudala, Now, I'll be the first to say that Iggy's stat line isn't sexy, at 7.6/4.0/3.4. In fact, it's not good. But, to me, it goes way beyond the numbers for this particular award. Igoudala's presence was critical to Golden State's success, especially when Kevin Durant went down with an injury. His 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio was the best in the NBA this season, and also tallied a 101 defensive rating. His versatility on both ends of the floor helped stabilize the Warriors' offense and defense when he was on the floor, either calming the floor or giving his team a helping hand when necessary at either basket. That's SMOY-award-worthy.
Jordan: Marcus Smart... JK. My sixth man of the year is actually going to be Lou Williams as well, He actually may have been the best deadline deal for THIS SEASON (I'm well aware of the Boogie Cousins deal... where did that get them?). Williams has already won this award in the past, and he had another great year to put himself back in this award race.