As all basketball fans know, last night the NBA hosted the Awards Show for 2018-2019 season. The most major of the awards handed out were the Most Valuable Player, Rookie, 6th Man, Most Improved Player, and Coach of the Year awards. Most already know which award-candidate took home their own respective trophy, and now I am going to dive into why each award recipient won, and more importantly, if I agree that the winner was who deserved it.
It’s official, James Harden is your MVP of the 2018-2019 NBA season. Harden had an incredible year, averaging 30 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists per game. Him and Chris Paul led the Rockets to the 1-seed in the Western Conference and all but defeated the eventual NBA champion Warriors in the conference finals.
But did he deserve to win?: He deserved to win MVP, but someone else deserved to win it more.
I don’t want to hate on someone like Harden, who has put the time in and given results to win an award like this. However, if I were given a vote, I would have gave it to LeBron James. People argue different factors go into the MVP voting, but LeBron fits all the criteria and checks all the boxes. He has the numbers (27 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists per game), was by far the most important player on his old, mediocre Cavs team, the team he led to the NBA Finals yet again. No part of me hates Harden winning the award, but I just don’t see how voters are able to not vote for LeBron ahead of him.
Ben Simmons was the front-runner to win this award before the year even began and ended up on top. Simmons ended the year averaging 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists per game, posting one of the best rookie campaign’s ever. Alongside Joel Embiid, Simmons is one of the upcoming Sixers stars that led them to their first playoff birth in over half a decade. Fellow rookie Donavon Mitchell gave Simmons a run for his money with an incredible performance in the back half of the season, but ultimately Simmons was too good on all fronts to lose out on Rookie of the Year.
Should he have won?: Yes
I was on the Simmons bandwagon all year. He scores, rebounds, facilitates, adequately guards all five position, and is relatively consistent. Critics of his harped on his lack of a three-point shot and said he was a liability in crunch time due to free throw struggles, but Simmons is too good in too many areas to have lost Rookie of the Year. I respect Donavon Mitchell and where he led the Jazz this year, but Simmons was the most deserving to win ROY.
Rudy Gobert has been known as an incredible defensive center for some years now. Gobert is a thick 7-footer who dominates the glass, blocks shots at a high rate, and does all the little things right. His Utah Jazz were a decent team defensively anyway, but with Gobert on the floor the team was allowing less than 99 points per game versus 105, an incredible difference for being only one player.
Should he have won? Yes, but there is a reason to believe he should not have.
In no way am I mad that Rudy Gobert won this years Defensive Player of the Year award. Gobert is an defensive monster and is only the best players in the NBA despite not showing it in the box score. However, the once thing that bothers me is that Gobert only played 56 games in the regular season, missing over 30% of the total regular season games. Gobert was incredible when on the floor but does another finalist who played a majority of the season, like Anthony Davis, have reason to complain? Maybe so, but Gobert definitely deserved this for what he did accomplish while playing.
When traded from OKC to Indiana for Paul George, many thought the Pacers got bamboozled. Oladipo had been average since entering the league in 2013, but no one could be prepared for what he would do this year. Averaging 23 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and almost 3 steals per game, Oladipo quickly became an upcoming star. He also led a supposedly rebuilding Pacers team to the playoffs, taking LeBron and the Cavs to a 7-game series.
Did he deserve to win? Absolutely, without doubt.
Most Improved Player is usually tight, but this year Oladipo made it a one-horse race. Oladipo was too good, and at times great, to lose. He made the first of what will be many All-Star games and is the leader the Pacers need to take them back to contending in the Eastern Conference.
Lou Williams has been getting buckets ever since I can remember. Already named 6MOY in 2014, the 12-year veteran found a way to win it again and have the best season of his career this year, averaging almost 23 points and 5 assists per game. Williams was an All-Star snub who showed that he can still score with the best of them.
Did he deserve to win? Yes. Had a competitor for it, but Williams deserves it.
Williams had the best chance to win all along, but Eric Gordon gave him a run for his money. Gordon only averaged 18 points per game, but those 18 a night were also for a team that went to the Western Conference Finals and nearly toppled the Warriors. Gordon has a strong case, but Williams was the correct winner here.
The Raptors thought it was finally their turn to come out of the Eastern Conference this year, and it started with coach Dwayne Casey. Casey led Toronto to a 59-23 regular season record, good enough for the top seed in the East. They breezed through the first round of the playoffs before being swept by the eventual conference champions in Cleveland.
But did he deserve it? N-O, NO. Absolutely not. Now, Mr. Brad Stevens, please come up to receive your award.
I am sorry for the Dwayne Casey slander, but how does a coach outed by his own team win COY?? Casey has a solid starting lineup and decent bench in the weaker conference of the NBA, and couldn’t even get to the conference finals? He isn’t even the coach of the team anymore! That is absurd to me. Now cue Celtics coach Brad Stevens. Star Gordon Hayward goes down in the first game? Other star Kyrie Irving goes down before the playoffs? Don’t worry, he will just lead the 4th youngest team in the NBA to the conference finals and take LeBron James to a game 7 to make it to the finals. This award belongs to Dwayne Casey, but Brad Stevens deserves it.