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NBA Awards: Who Should Win and Who Will Win

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The NBA's MVP will most likely be James Harden (left), but it should go to LeBron James.

The NBA's MVP will most likely be James Harden (left), but it should go to LeBron James.

The NBA's MVP will most likely be James Harden (left), but it should go to LeBron James.

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MVP
Who should win: LeBron James-SF-CLE
PPG: 27.5, RPG: 8.6, APG: 9.1, Record: 51-31
LeBron James is the best player on the planet. He has proven that he can do everything on the court at any moment. LeBron just finished his 15th season and it was one of his best ever. The point forward has made clutch plays game in and game out, led his team from big leads created while he was on the bench, and everything else one can imagine. James led his team to the same record that he had last year, without the help of all-star point guard Kyrie Irving and with all-star Kevin Love missing 22 games. James Harden, MVP favorite, had much more help than James this season as well. To keep going, the Cavs outscored opponents by 1.3 points per game with LeBron on the court but actually got out scored by 0.3 when he sat. The field goal percentage went up by 3.3 percent when James is on the floor also. The King could be on his way to the finals with a supporting cast worse than pretty much every team in the playoffs.

Who will win: James Harden-SG-HOU
PPG: 30.4, RPG: 5.4, APG: 8.8
James Harden was the league leader in points per game while also averaging 8.8 assists per game. Harden shot a 45/37/86 slash line and led his team to 65 wins. He had the addition of Chris Paul and the emergence of Clint Capela help him along with the sharp shooters Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. He also has been the runner up the last two years, so many feel it’s only right to give it to him, but the past should not affect the selection of the Most Valuable Player of the season. The Rockets were +2.1 with Harden off the floor (0.8 higher than the Cavs with LeBron) and +7.3 with him on the court. The Rockets shot 2.6 percent higher (1.4 percent higher from deep) with Harden on the floor. The Rockets have a very good chance to win the finals this year with the most likely MVP candidate on their side along with his partner in crime, Chris Paul.

Rookie of the Year
Who should win: Donovan Mitchell-SG-UTA
PPG: 20.5, RPG: 3.7, APG: 3.7
Donovan Mitchell was the top scoring rookie this year averaging over twenty points per game. Going into the season, nobody believed that the Utah Jazz would be any good, let alone a playoff team. The rook led the team’s offense all season long and made great plays on the defensive end as well. When speaking plus/minus, the Utah Jazz were +4.5 when he is on the court, but when he rested, they were -0.1. The team’s field goal percentage rose by 0.4 percent, and its percentage from deep is rose by an astounding 6.3 percent. Donovan has not been one hundred percent clear on whether he really cares about winning the rookie of the year award as he has stated that he does not; however, he has worn hoodies that define rookie in order to imply that Ben Simmons is not a “real rookie” (he was drafted the year before but sat out the whole season due to injury) therefore ineligible to win the award.

Who will win: Ben Simmons-PG-PHI
PPG: 15.8, RPG: 8.1, APG: 8.2
If Rookie of the Year is given to the best and most talented rookie during the season, then Ben Simmons definitely deserves the award. However, it is supposed to go to the best performing rookie of the season and that’s where it gets tricky. The Philadelphia 76ers were a team with Ben Simmons off the court that can beat the Utah Jazz with Donovan Mitchell on the court. The 76ers have good shooters in Redick, Belinelli, and Covington as well as arguably a top three center in Joel Embiid. The Sixers were -0.2 with Simmons on the bench, but a +4.8 with him running the point. Ben Simmons did a bit of everything for his team, but Donovan Mitchell led his team to victory night in and night out with his outstanding offensive game.

Sixth Man of the Year
Who should win and will win: Lou Williams-SG-LAC
PPG: 22.6, RPG: 2.5, APG: 5.3
Lou Williams is the consensus pick for the sixth man of the year award. He is a great scorer with his mere six foot one inch, 175-pound frame from the two guard position. Many believe he had started too many games to be eligible for the award, yet he’s only started nineteen out of his 79 games played. Also, the NBA declared him eligible, so that’s really out of the question. He played 32.8 minutes per game and led the Clips on the offensive end with only the help of Tobias Harris and DeAndre Jordan. Overall, the Clippers got outscored by 1.4 points per game while Williams was off the floor, yet, while he was on the court, the team outscored opponents by 1.5 points per game. Sweet Lou was a huge help to this team coming from a bench role and leading the Clippers in scoring.

Most Improved Player
Who should win and will win: Victor Oladipo-SG-IND
PPG: 23.1, RPG: 5.2, APG: 4.3
Victor Oladipo had the breakout season this year that many were expecting to occur years ago being that he was the second overall pick in the 2013 draft. He proved all doubters wrong that said the Oklahoma City Thunder got Paul George in return for nothing (Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis). Oladipo led Indiana in points and win shares. He turned the team from a -2.7 per game team into a +4.5 per game team. Oladipo is the clear favorite for this award.

Defensive Player of the Year
Who shoud win: Paul George-SF-OKC
DRPG: 4.7, SPG: 2.0, BPG: 0.5
Paul George was the best perimeter defender this season. His 2.0 steals per game tied him for second in the category, and his 161 total steals placed him solely in second in the leader board for regular season steals. At six foot nine, George has the ability to guard the 1-4 positions allowing him to showcase his defensive versatility and abilities more than most. His quick hands on the defensive side and quick feet in transition are what make him the best pick for this award.

Who will win: Rudy Gobert-C-UTA
DRPG: 7.8, SPG: 0.8, BPG: 2.3
Most of the “experts” are going with the Frenchman Rudy Gobert. He is a 7’1”, rim-protecting monster. His 2.3 blocks per game places him second on the leaderboard behind only Anthony Davis. In comparison to another top candidate, Joel Embiid, Utah allowed two points fewer per possession with Gobert than the Sixers with Embiid. Being an elite rim protector and the runner-up to Draymond Green last year for the same award will most likely give the award to the Stifle Tower, Rudy Gobert.

Coach of the Year
Who should win: Brad Stevens-BOS
Record: 55-27
Brad Stevens took a Celtics team that was missing Gordon Hayward to the second seed in the east. He also was missing Kyrie for 28 games this year. The Celtics went 15-8 without Irving (including a game on November 10 in which Kyrie only logged two minutes). The playoffs aren’t supposed to be a factor, but without Kyrie or Hayward, Stevens has shown that he may very well be the best coach in the league.

Who will win: Dwane Casey-TOR
Record: 59-23
Dwane Casey has coached the Raptors to be the top team in the east (second in the league). The Raptors were the only team to be in the top five for offensive and defensive ratings. What many love about Casey is his trust in everyone. He has stated that he doesn’t “care if it’s the janitor’s idea — if it helps us win a game, we’re going to go with it.” Many believe that this is a genius approach that many people would not allow due to their egos. The Raptors new approach this year was to take more three pointers. The team shot 33.0 threes per game, 8.7 more shots than the prior season. The team found success with this new approach as they were top five in three pointers per game this season. This change of style and recent success may have solidified his opportunity to win this award

All-NBA First Team
G: Steph Curry-GSW
G: James Harden-HOU
F: LeBron James-SF-CLE
F: Kevin Durant-GSW
C: Anthony Davis-NOP

All-NBA Second Team
G: Russell Westbrook-OKC
G: Damian Lillard-POR
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo-MIL
F: LaMarcus Aldridge-SAS
C: Karl-Anthony Towns-MIN

All-NBA Third Team
G: Chris Paul-HOU
G: Kyrie Irving-BIS
F: Paul George-OKC
F: Jimmy Butler-MIN
C: Joel Embiid-PHI

All-Defense First Team
G: Chris Paul-HOU
G: Dejounte Murray-SAS
F: Paul George-OKC
F: Draymond Green-GSW
C: Rudy Gobert-UTA

All-Defense Second Team
G: Victor Oladipo-IND
G: Josh Richardson
F: Jimmy Butler-MIN
F: Kevin Durant-GSW
C: Anthony Davis-NOP

All-Rookie First Team
G: Donovan Mitchell-UTA
G: Ben Simmons-PHI
F: Jayson Tatum-BOS
F: Kyle Kuzma-LAL
C: Lauri Markkanen-CHI

All-Rookie Second Team
G: Lonzo Ball-LAL
G: De’Aaron Fox-SAC
F: Bogdan Bogdanovic-SAC
F: John Collins-ATL
C: Bam Adebayo-MIA

The 2017-18 season has been a very intriguing one. There were many surprises including the Cavaliers’ fluctuating record as well as the Rockets leading the league in wins this year. The NBA awards will be broadcasted live on June 25 at 9 PM Eastern Time. Don’t forget to submit your votes!

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NBA Awards: Who Should Win and Who Will Win