At the end of the regular season, the NBA hands out Awards to congratulate players in multiple categories of achievement. Award winners are decided by votes from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters who vote for a first, second and third place in each category.
A first vote is allocated 5 points, a secnd gets 3 points and a third receives 1 point. The ‘winner of’ in that category is then the player who has received the most points.
Most Improved Player of the Year
Winner: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
With team scoring leader Danny Granger out for most of the season (having played 5 games) with injury, NBA 3rd year George stepped up for the Pacers and led them to the Central Division title and got selected for his first All-Star game. George improved his career-stats this season across the board, going from average 10 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals to 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.8 steals in this season.
In second and third place in voting was New Orleans Pelicans guard Greivis Vasquez and Milwaukee Bucks centre Larry Sanders.
See video from the press conference below.
Sixth Man of the Year
Winner: J.R. Smith, New York Knicks
Smith was a big part of the Knicks finishing second in the Eastern Conference with a 54-28 record this season. He led all reserves in scoring as he averaged 18.1 points; he also played some big minutes averaging 33.5 to boot with his clutch buckets. After leading the race for most of the season, LA Clippers Jamal Crawford fell off after All-Star weekend as Smith’s contribution for the Knicks rose with a number of players getting injured.
Crawford finished second in votes and Golden State Warriors’ Jarrett Jack in third.
Check out Smith’s top 10 plays from the season.
Defensive Player of the Year
Winner: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Many were un-satisfied by Gasol winning this award with him not topping in any of the usual stats that would typically accompany DPOY i.e. Rebounds, Block, etc. However I was pleasantly surprised for the big man who was the… centre around a team that averaged the least points allowed in the league this season. For an award which was by default handed to Dwight Howard for many years, and Tyson Chandler last year, it was good to see that at least 30 other people (number of 1st place voters) agreed with me on giving this one to the Gasol brother without any rings.
Miami Heats’ LeBron James once again came up short in this one earning a second place voting and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka came third.
Gasol talks about what it means to be this year’s DPOY also a little on any sibling rivalry with brother Pau.
Rookie of the Year
Winner: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Lillard was the unanimous winner of the ROY, with all panelists giving him the 1st place vote. Lillard made it too easy to forget Blazers franchise player Marcus Aldridge as he in many ways ran the Portland team even as a Rookie. Lillard led all the Rokkies in points, assists and minutes; averaging 19 pts, 6.5 assists and 38.6 mins. The Blazers not making a run for the playoffs will definitely not be put on this young man who finished the season with the most 3 pointers made by a Rookie in NBA history and also won every Rookie of the Month award in the Western Conference.
Draft first pick Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans finished second and Washington Wizards Bradley Beal third in votes.
At the presentation ceremony, Lillard talks about his harsh upbringing and all he fought through to be the player he is.
Most Valuable Player
Winner: LeBron James, Miami Heat
In this category voting changed a little with points being allocated for up to 5th place voting and fan votes were also incorporated.
One Carmelo Anthony 1st place vote shy of sweeping MVP, James became just the fifth player in NBA history with at least four regular season MVP awards, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. This was the second MVP award in a row for James who once again had another record breaking season with the Miami Heat. His records include:
- Leading Heat to franchise best 66-16 record.
- Only player in league to lead own team in points, rebounding and assists finishing with 26.8pts, 8rbs and 7.3ass.
- Career highs in shooting with 56.5% from the field and 40.6% from 3point range.
- Record streak of six straight games with 30+ points and 60%+ from the field shooting.
- Highest score differential in the league with +9.5.
- Youngest player in NBA history to reach 20 000 points.
- Youngest player to have eight different 2 000 point seasons.
- First player in NBA history to sweep the Player of the Month award.
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder finished second and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks third.
See video from Miami Heat front office, players and family of LeBron James.
Compiled And Written By: Lebuhang Ramollo (@RA_Mollo)