On Wednesday evening, the 2017-18 NBA regular season came to an end. And what a season it was. This campaign was riddled with injuries, a new concept to the All-Star game, and an overtime game 82 which went into overtime and gave us the 8 seeded Timberwolves. With the season now wrapped up, it is time to give out some awards.
Most Valuable Player: James Harden
The Beard was on a mission this year after finishing second to former teammate Russell Westbrook in the MVP race last season. Even with all the flopping and grabbing on defense, Harden balled out and with the help of point guard Chris Paul, the Rockets clinched the number one seed in the Western Conference. Harden finished the season averaging 30.4\5.4\8.8, the first time in his career eclipsing the 30 points per game clip.
While Harden seemed to have the award locked up by the All-Star game, there were some late pushes by other deserving candidates. Obviously what LeBron James did cannot go unnoticed. In his 15th season in the Association, The King did some of his best work. LeBron dealt with IT and then sent his ass out West, and had to adjust playing with four new players on the court at the same time. Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard deserve some love as well. Davis put the Pelicans on his back after DeMarcus Cousins went down for the year. Now the Pelicans and Blazers are facing off against each other in the first round.
Most Improved Players: Victor Oladipo
With the departure of Paul George, this award was pretty much a given. Oldaipo came in and put his name on the map leading the Pacers to the playoffs. Oladpio has finally developed into the two way player many NBA scouts from him during his time at Indiana. With the addition of Oldaipo, Indiana now has a strong young nucleus including Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis Oladpio. The one is a no brainer.
Rookie of The Year: Donovan Mitchell
Ya I said it. Donovan mother fucking Mitchell. This race will be as close as the MVP race between Harden and LeBron. Why Mitchell over second year player Ben Simmons? Mitchell is the Jazz leading scorer and led this team to the playoffs with a roster including Joe Ingles, Rudy Gobert, and Ricky Rubio. There was no Gordon Hayward, and Rodney Hood was dealt at the trade deadline. Mitchell averaged 20.5/3.7/3.7. Sure the assists and rebounds do not compare to those of Simmons, but look at the talent around Simmons. Mitchell has every aspect of the game, he can drive, dish, and oh yes, he can shoot.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert
“The French Rejection” or “The Stifle Tower” has been the glue that has held this jazz team together, and is the main reason why the Jazz have the second best defensive rating in the league. Rudy finished the regular season averaging 2.3 blocks per game . The big man missed some time during the regular season, and why he was out, the Jazz struggled. With his return, and the Donovan Mitchell’s offensive game, the Jazz made their way to the 5th seed out west. So much for battling for a lottery pick. While Mitchell receives most of the headlines for the Jazz success, don’t forget about Gobert.
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens
This award could have easily gone to Quinn Snyder, but what Brad Stevens did this season is nothing short of amazing. To lose one of their two superstars in Gordon Hayward on opening night, most teams would have struggled the rest of the 81 games. Instead Jayston Tatum and Jaylen Brown stepped up their game in a way most people could not see. They developed faster than they needed to and with the assistance of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Marcus Smart, the Celtics were battling for the number 1 seed in the East all season long. Stevens did it at Butler and he is doing it again in Boston. Stevens gets the best out of his players day in and day out. Watch out next year when both Kyrie and Gordon are back.