NBA Award Finalists

Regular Season Comes to an end and Here are the Finalists for Regular Season Awards


Picture of the MVP trophy via Google Images

Evan Pollard, Staff Writer

On Sunday, April 17, the NBA posted the finalists for the NBA awards this season. The categories for awards in the NBA are Most Improved Player (MIP), Sixth Man of the Year, Coach of the Year (COTY), Rookie of the Year (ROTY), Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY), and Most Valuable Player (MVP). Some of the awards have already been announced while others aren’t announced for a few more weeks. And these awards are based on the regular season, not the playoffs.

For DPOY, the finalists were forward Mikal Bridges (Phoenix Suns), center Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz), and guard Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics). This was one of the rewards that have already been announced, as Marcus Smart won. Marcus Smart was the first guard to win Defensive Player of the Year since Michael Jordan in 1998, and the first point guard to win it since Gary Payton in 1996.

Picture of Smart getting his trophy with Gary Payton in attendance via youngamechanger on Instagram

Next, Rookie of the Year. ROTY finalists were guard Cade Cunningham (1st overall draft pick to the Detroit Pistons), forward Scottie Barnes (4th overall draft pick to the Toronto Raptors), and center Evan Mobley (3rd overall draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers). This was another award has been announced, as Scottie Barnes crowned it. Barnes finished the regular season with an average of 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists and helped his team reach the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference.

Scottie Barnes getting his trophy via Google Images

For Sixth Man of the Year, the finalists are forward Cam Johnson (Phoenix Suns), forward Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), and guard Tyler Herro (Miami Heat). Cam Johnson finished the regular season with 12.5 points and 46% from three. NBA vet Kevin Love finished with 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds. And Tyler Herro finished with 20.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Tyler is the clear-cut best scorer off the bench in the entire league and is the favorite to win the award.

Picture of Tyler Herro via Google Images

Next up, MIP. Most Improved Player finalists are guard Darius Garland (Cleveland Cavaliers), guard Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies), and guard Dejounte Murray (San Antonio Spurs). This award also has been announced, Ja Morant. Ja Morant made a huge leap this year, as the previous ROTY jumped from 19 points a game last year, to now 27 points a game alongside 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists. Morant was in the MVP talk earlier in the season but his injury dropped him in the rankings for the award. Morant has also led Memphis to the second-best team in the Western Conference.

Picture of Ja Morant via Google Images

Now for COTY. Coach of the Year finalists was Taylor Jenkins (Memphis Grizzlies), Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat), and  Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns). Taylor Jenkins and Memphis went from a Play-in team barely making the playoffs last year, to now being the 2nd seed in the West with a final regular-season record of 56-26. Erik Spoelstra led Miami to the first seed in the East with a regular-season record of 53-29. And Monty Williams and the Suns finished with the best record in the whole NBA, with an impressive 64-18 regular-season record.

Picture of Suns coach Monty Williams via Google Images

Finally the MVP. Most Valuable Player finalists are center Nikola Jokic  (Denver Nuggets), forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), and center Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers). Jokic finished the regular season with an average of 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 assists. Antetokounmpo finished with 29.8 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. And Embiid finished with 30 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Jokic won the MVP award last season and is the favorite to win again after he reached a milestone no one in NBA history has ever done, 2000 points, 1000 rebounds, and 500 assists in one season, absolutely crazy.

Picture of reining MVP Nikola Jokic via Google Images

Evidence of the finalists can be found here. And all information/stats provided can be found here (search up the player/team).