NBA End of Season Awards Roundtable 2017

This year’s awards roundtable is here and this time it’s SUPERSIZED. With many of this seasons podcast guests joining the conversation, enjoy the end of season awards brought to you via PftK:

Contributors include:

Logan Hedrich – @LoganGiantsbane

Brian Bernstein – @Beanstein11

Ben Whiteside – @BWhiteside10

Coray Runge – @CorayRunge

Michael Swander – @MichaelSwander

Cyrus Hoda

Kurt Tademy

Rookie of the Year:

Logan: All respect to Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, who, collectively have put together the best rookie campaign this season, but I’m not a fan of splitting awards. Malcolm Brogdon came out of nowhere, and was a serious contributor on a rising playoff team. While Embiid was clearly the best of this rookie crop, 31 games does not qualify for a rookie of the year award. Also, when you reverse dunk on LeBron, you must be immortalized in some capacity. Malcolm Brogdon

Brian: N/A. Rookie class sucked.

Ben: It would have been Embiid but I don’t think he logged enough minutes. So I’d take either Saric or Brogdon. I’ll lean towards Brogdon because he is known as a defensive minded player, and he still put up solid numbers offensively, while starting for a playoff team. Saric’s stats are a little more impressive, but they come from a losing team. Malcolm Brogdon

Coray: Hear me out: Jamal Murray played every game for the Nuggets at 19 years old and was the only Nugget to play all 82 games. The Nuggets are a better team than any other ROY candidate team and he consistently contributed to the Nuggets. He and Brogdon are the only contributing rookies with a positive +/-. Did I mention he is 19?! He averaged the 4th most points and was 2nd in 3’s made amongst rookies. Runner Up: It was actually probably Brogdon. He did all the same stuff just slightly better for a playoff team. Don’t say I’m biased. Jamal Murray

Michael: A big part of playing in the NBA is playing in the NBA. As good as Embiid was, it’s hard to give it to someone who barely played over a third of the season. As much as I want to scream “McCaw” at the top of my lungs, I would have to vote for Dario Saric. He played very well in second half of the season, and that was enough to break out of an overall lackluster rookie class. Dario Saric

Cyrus: Can I take a pass on this one? It’s Embiid’s 3rd season under contract. He played with a minutes restriction AND only played 31 games (Brilliant while he was on the court nonetheless) – BUT who else are you going to give the award to? Joel Embiid

Kurt:  I trust the process! Joel Embiid

Coach of the Year:

Logan: While I heavily considered D’Antoni for this award, especially given the expectations of the Rockets entering the season, and even Eric Spoelstra for dragging a D level roster to falling one game shy of the playoffs, Brad Stevens has absolutely maximized the Celtics rosters. Boston had no business grabbing the 1 seed in the East this season, and yet by pushing through all 82 games, they finally eclipsed the Cavs. With almost no help for Thomas, Stevens got the most out of a mediocre roster of prospects and undervalued assets. Brad Stevens

Brian: After his debacle with the Lakers and Knicks, MDA bounced back in a major way. Mike D’Antoni

Ben: Pop or D’Antoni, I think they both exceeded expectations, which is obviously tougher for Popovich to do but if you forced me to pick I’d take D’Antoni only cause his gamble to move Harden to PG paid off so BIG. Mike D’Antoni

Coray: This hurts me to give this award to him but he was able to to turn Harden into Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. Turned a team that struggled with an identity into a top 3 team in the West and has a very good chance to make the WCF. 7 seconds or less and no 3 is a bad 3. Plus any coach that resurrects the career of Nene like this has to be some sort of miracle worker. Mike D’Antoni

Michael: Given expectations of the Rockets prior to the season, I have to lean Mike D’Antoni. His style of play has seemingly resurrected the career of Eric Gordon, made Harden look like Steve Nash on steroids, and allowed Ryan Anderson to flourish. Popovich could win every year, but Mike D’Antoni is my COTY for the 2016-2017 season. Mike D’Antoni

Cyrus: Mike D’Antoni – 14 more wins than last year. 3rd place finnish in the western conference. Maximing a core of unheralded guys + James Harden. The man deserves it this year. Mike D’Antoni

Kurt: Brad Stevens

Most Improved:

Logan: The most useless and ill defined award of the crop. Do we give it to a guy that simply got a major uptick in minutes, or a star breaking out and becoming a full fledged superstar? As much as I love Giannis, what does an MIP award do for him? The Nuggets literally only found success after putting Jokic in the starting lineup and running the entire offense through him, allowing him to blossom into maybe the best passing big man in the league. Also, Coray wouldn’t agree to do this unless I gave Jokic this award.  Nikola Jokic

Brian: His strides to the rim on the fast break aren’t as great as the strides his game took this season. Greek Freak

Ben: This young Pacer kind of came out of no where, contributed big time offensively and defensively, and continues to show growth.  Myles Turner

Coray: This one is easy and I’m not at all biased. (Editors note: You are.) In his second year, European center Nikola Jokic went from exciting young player with a high basketball IQ with occasional flashes of brilliance to one of the best big men in the NBA, and not just amongst young big men, but the entire league. He is now a future franchise player and All Star. After getting drafted during a Taco Bell (and Toyota!) commercial. He has improved the most of any player in contention for the award and is now in the discussion for top 15 player in the entire league. Nikola Jokic

Michael: One of my least favorite awards, but I would say the Greek Freak’s rise was above and beyond what I thought he could achieve this year. Plus I can’t vote for McCaw on this one. Giannis Antentokoumpo

Cyrus: The Greek Freak is built for the future of basketball. Has the size and skill to do EVERYTHING. I will not be surprised if he becomes the NBA’s torch bearer within 5 years. Giannis Antentokoumpo

Kurt: Although Hayward might not win the award, the strides he made in his game show a clear jump towards superstar status. Gordon Hayward

Defensive Player:

Logan: What’s more valuable, lockdown perimeter defense or rim protection? The paradigm seems to have shifted to the perimeter. In that case, the DPoY has to be Draymond. With not only consistent fundamentally sound defense, Draymond also has the highlights to back his award bid up. From blocking Bazemore late against the Hawks, to picking Anthony Davis’s pocket in crunch time, Green has come up big in every situation. Hell, he both contested a three point shot, and blocked a dunk attempt on the same 2 on 1 fast break possession. Sorry Kawhi, your offensive load has taken away from your defensive prowess. Draymond Green

Brian: All must bow down at the D-God. Draymond Green

BenDraymond Green. Next question.

Coray: Kawhi Leonard. Just Because.

Michael: This was really tough, but I have to give it to Draymond Green. Gobert has a very strong case as well, but the combination of rim protection and perimeter defense that Dray brings to the table is too impactful to overlook. He’s been number two in this award for the past two years and did enough this year to win it in my mind. Draymond Green

Cyrus: Draymond Green plugs so many holes and unlocks the Warriors elite defense. GSW’s defensive rating is 101.1, highest in the NBA. Pretty good for a “run n gun” squad, huh? You can thank #23 for his lock down D on positions 1 through 5 night in and night out for that ranking. Draymond Green

Kurt: Showing my West Coast bias, I have to pick the versatile Green. Draymond Green

Sixth Man:

Logan: While I can guarantee Iguodala won’t win the real award, Andre has undoubtedly been the best 6th man in the league for three years running. The stability he provides the Warriors bench unit is second to none. No, he doesn’t score 14 points on 46% shooting like previous winners, what he brings to table isn’t as tangible as an inefficient chucker. Andre deserves to be rewarded for taking a back seat. Andre Iguodala

Brian: He wasn’t the best 6th man for the entire season, but the rest of the crop disappointed as well. Eric Gordon

Ben: The Rockets bench posted very impressive numbers this season. Lou Williams comes in at a close second only b/c half his year was on the lowly Lakers, where he pretty much saw starter minutes. Honorable mention must go to Iguodala b/c of his assist to TO ratio was so solid and he came up clutch when KD went down. Eric Gordon

Coray: Refer to MVP discussion. Eric Gordon and Lou Williams should spilt this award.  Great scoring threats off the bench when Harden needs a break or is double teamed. Eric Gordon should win this based on his season long performance vs. others only being good for stretches. Eric Gordon

Michael: Andre Iguodala. For once, can we not give it to the guy who chucks it at will and scores 15+ inefficiently? Iguodala’s impact on both ends of the floor and ability to facilitate the second unit as well as play meaningful crunch time minutes are what separate him from the other candidates. Andre Iguodala

Cyrus: Can we just pencil in Jamal Crawford for this until he retires? If not, got to go with Eric Gordon – The resurgence is real! Eric Gordon

Kurt: Despite only playing the last part of the season with the contending Rockets, Lou  Lou Williams

Trade of the Year:

Logan: The Nurkic trade paid immediate dividends for the Blazers, but was no blockbuster. The Raptors pair of moves acquiring Ibaka and Tucker filled much needed wholes in their roster, but they finished pretty much where they would have had they not traded for them. Even though the Pelicans fell out of playoff contention, they went all in on next season by pairing two of the best big men in the league together. There’s minor moves, major moves, and then franchise changing moves. This was a long term decision and the Pels should be rewarded for taking the risk. Pelicans acquiring DeMarcus Cousins

Brian: They got the 3 seed and have a stacked bench. Rockets acquiring Lou Williams

Ben: Tough one, mainly because of the semi-lackluster deadline. But I think it has to be Boogie to the Pelicans if you’re thinking long term. Short term, if you’re trying to win this year, it has to be Lou Williams to the Rockets. Thats just a great fit for the Rockets. Pelicans acquiring Cousins

Coray: Plumlee for Nurkic and a 1st round pick. Mason Plumlee was the missing piece for the Nuggets this year. He brought the team together from a chemistry standpoint. He can run the same system when Jokic is on the bench or play a twin tower line up with Jokic and Plumlee on the floor to sure up some of the defensive issues. He did not Pout when the far superior player was starting over him and understood his role on the team. Amazing trade for the Nuggets and no I am not bitter.  Nuggets acquiring Mason Plumlee

Michael: The Kings getting Buddy Hield. Hear me out! Just kidding. That trade was awful – maybe even for the Pelicans, even though you have to do that ten times out of ten. I’m going to go with Mavericks getting Nerlens Noel for Andrew Bogut’s corpse, Justin Anderson, and a second round pick. They got a solid young player for practically nothing and I think he will flourish under Carlisle for years to come. Honorable mentions: PJ Tucker and Ibaka trades for Toronto, though I think they are moot because they are going to get trucked by the Cavs. Mavericks acquiring Noel

Cyrus: Nurkic + a 2017 first rounder for Plumlee and a 2018 second rounder. Portland found a foundational front court piece + a borderline lottery pick for an expendable center. All they gave up was a below average athletic big man (Plumlee) in a game that’s moving smaller and smaller. Portland acquiring Jusuf Nurkic

Kurt: Portland acquiring Nurkic

Blooper of the Year:

Logan: Honorable mention to the Nuggets trading Nurkic for Plumlee, which currently looks like a highway robbery, and everything the Knicks did, from Phil’s constant incendiary comments, to Derrick Rose not showing up to work one day. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to point at the most embarrassing moment of Westbrooks career:

Brian: The Westbrook Travel



Michael: The Cavs signing Larry Sanders.

Honorable viral mentions:




Logan: Do we reward an all time mark for efficiency? Historic numbers for a lower seeded team? Best player on the best team? The Harden vs. Westbrook vs. Leonard debate helped carry a season in which many thought the regular season would be nothing other than a footnote towards another superteam vs superteazm Finals. I have to stick to my word and simply cannot reward a player on a 6 seed, despite the triple double nonsense. Harden does everything Westbrook does, but more efficiently and it has resulted in more wins. Seems cut and dry to me, don’t get fooled by beautiful round numbers. James Harden

Brian: My opinions are bad and I feel bad. Russell Westbrook

Ben: How do you define value? Harden single handedly ran the Rockets historic offense, and while Westbrook did too, I believe Harden did it at a much more efficient pace. James Harden

Coray: Russell Westbrook. This is a regular season award right? We can’t take into account how terrible the playoff series was? Russell did more with less and did something that has never been done. I don’t need to rehash everything here but my definition is the most important player to their team. If this player was replaced by an average player at the position the team would have the biggest drop off. Regardless of how it was done, why it was done or how it looked, averaging a triple double is difficult. And beyond that you just have to look at the numbers when Westbrook is off the floor vs. on. The team cannot score. Westbrook’s season was beyond just stat grabbing. What he did was a phenomena. Without him on the team the Thunder could be bottom 5 bad. Russell Westbrook Runner up: Nikola Jokic

Michael: Don’t think you could go wrong with any of the top three candidates. Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden all have a very real case for MVP. With that being said, I would have to vote Harden. I think the brilliance of his season is lost because “triple doubles” and he elevated his teammates all season en route to the three seed. James Harden

Cyrus: Regular season award so it has to be Russell. Although the regular season is flawed in my opinion due to length, this year more than ever we have seen it’s most efficient to rest stars throughout the regular season. Historic season deserves recognition. Russell Westbrook

Kurt: Harden clearly made the Rockets better without shooting the ball all the time and has established himself as a true team player. Hindsight also tells us, via his match up with Westbrook in the playoffs, that Harden is clearly the winner. James Harden