Story by: Staff
What follows is the Hitting the Field NBA end of season awards. Ten Hitting the Field writers/staff members filled out ballots for each NBA award, picking the top 3 players for each award. First place votes counted as 10 points, second place votes counted as 5 points, and third place votes were worth 3 points. The final results were kept by blog editor-in-chief Dimitri Tzamaras, and are presented here, with explanations for each award written by a voter who chose the winner for that award.
Most Valuable Player
Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder: 88 points
— NBA (@NBA) April 10, 2017
Explanation by Kyle Graham: We all know Lebron is the best player in the league, but the MVP award goes to the player with the most outstanding season. Especially with Westbrook’s brilliant play as of late, you cannot deny the man an MVP award when he has averaged a triple-double for the season and is on the verge of breaking Oscar Robertson’s record. Without Westbrook, OKC would not come close to making the playoffs.
Runner-Up: James Harden, Houston Rockets, 60 points
Third Place: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, 15 points
Others Receiving Votes: LeBron James (14), Isaiah Thomas (3)
Defensive Player of the Year
Draymond Green, PF, Golden State Warriors: 68 points
Explanation by Christopher Davis: Saginaw pride! He can guard everyone on the floor 1-5–from lefty’s like Harden to lengthy finesse 6’11” bigs like Anthony Davis. He discombobulates your entire offensive structure. He leads the league in steals (2.1), averages 1.4 blocks per game, and he’s the best team in the leagues’ defensive paradigm. Draymond Geen is what Steph Curry is when he has the ball coming off the dribble–he’s a defensive genius in every way.
Runner-Up: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs, 52 points
Third Place: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz, 47 points
Others Receiving Votes: Hassan Whiteside (6), Avery Bradley (5)
Rookie of the Year
Dario Saric, PF, Philadelphia 76ers, 56 points
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 9, 2017
Explanation by Dimitri Tzamaras: As much as I would love to give this award to my Canadian son, he simply came on to late into the season. Saric, after Embiid got hurt has been unbelievable, showing the sort of versatility that made him such a tantalizing prospect. One of the more fun, emerging utility-knife type players coming up in the league. He averaged 13 points, 6.5 rebounds, and almost 3 assists per game this season.
Runner-Ups: Malcom Brogden, Milwaukee Bucks and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers finished with 55 points each.
Others Receiving Votes: Jaylen Brown, Jamal Murray, Buddy Hield, and Rodney McGruder (all finished with 3 points).
Coach of the Year
Mike D’Antoni, Houston Rockets, 52 points
Explanation by Anthony Abruzzo: Mike D’Antoni has been outstanding as a Coach thus far. He came in with a lot of critics saying he shouldn’t be a NBA head coach after his last two gigs (including myself). But what he has done by changing the pace of the Rockets by making them space the floor and shoot only three’s and layups has been great. He also made Harden the point guard which was the best move he has made this year. He also has the team in third place in the wild wild west where some critics didn’t even have them in the playoffs before the season started. Well done Mike.
Runner-Up: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat, 50 points
Third Place: Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics, 39 points
Others Receiving Votes: Scott Brooks (16), Greg Popovich (13), Quinn Snyder (11).
Executive of the Year
Daryl Morey, General Manager, Houston Rockets, 50 points
Explanation by Nick Santiago: Mr. Morey brought in Mike D’Antoni, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Nene, and acquired Lou Williams through trade. The rockets are now one of the best teams in the league thanks to his great pick ups.
Runner-Up: Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors, 33 points
Third Place: Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics, 27 points
Others Receiving Votes: Dennis Lindsay (15), Sam Hinkie (13), LeBron James (10), David Griffin (8), Masai Ujiri (8), R.C. Buford (3), Pat Riley (3)
Sixth Man of the Year
Lou Williams, G, Houston Rockets, 68 points
Explanation by Niza Colon: Lou Williams should win this award because he is the leading scorer off the bench at 17.7 points per game in the league. He was also the leading the Lakers in scoring while he was still on the team and he was still coming off the bench when he played there, since being traded to Houston, he has teamed up with Eric Gordon off the bench to combine for one of the most lethal benches in the NBA.
Runner-Up: Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets, 38 points
Third Place: Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors, 16 points
Others Receiving Votes: James Johnson (10), Zach Randolph (9), Enes Kanter (8), Tyler Johnson (5), Wilson Chandler (3), Jamal Crawford (3)
Most Improved Player
Giannis Antetokounmpo, G/F, Milwaukee Bucks, 100 points (unanimous selection)
Explanation by Jimmy Calhoun: He’s +6 points, +1 rebounds, +1 assists from last season with a career best in usage, true shooting percentage, and turnover percentage. He was also an all-star starter and is going to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 9, 2017
Runner-Up: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, 26 points
Third Place: Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns, 16 points
Others Receiving Votes: Myles Turner (10), Harrison Barnes (6), Rudy Gobert and Isaiah Thomas (5), Otto Porter Jr., Julius Randle, Bradley Beal, and Dennis Schoder (3)