By: Cam Kelly
Excuse me I am still wiping away my tears from the show tonight. Last night was the first ever NBA award show and I do not think it could have gone any better for the first one. So many events happened throughout the show that I could not keep up with. The first point that should be made is that Drake is the ultimate entertainer. Champagne Papi was the perfect host for the first show ever. After his ESPYs performance Drake is a perfect host for a sports award show because of his personality and how well he gets along with all the athletes. Let us review the whole night though shall we?
Rookie of the Year… The NBA gave this award to Milwaukee’s Malcom Brogdon whom which I love. Brogdon will be the lowest drafted Rookie of the Year ever at pick number 36 and it is not even close. Brogdon played in 75 games averaged 26.4 minutes, 10.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, and 1.1 SPG. His team made the playoffs as the 6th seed and showed promise of a future contender in the NBA one day.
Cam’s Rookie of the Year… Joel Embiid. Before you tell me Embiid is Greg Oden 2.0 and he did not play enough games let us go through the stats. Through 31 games Embiid averaged 20.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.1 APG and 2.5 BPG all in just 25.4 minutes per game! Embiid is also the face of his team not just on his performance but also his personality. I know he only played 31 games but he dominated when he was on the floor! If Steve Kerr can win coach of the year when he had to take his leave of absence in 2015-2016 then Joel Embiid can win Cam’s Rookie of the Year in 2016-2017.
Sixth Man of the Year… Eric Gordon. With 75 Games Played, 31 MPG, 16.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 2.5 APG on a Houston team that overachieved, he shot 37.2% from three and was well deserving.
Cam’s Sixth Man of the Year… I mean 6 man like Lou Will? I mean Drake said it himself. Okay in all seriousness my sixth man of the year is Andre Iguodola. Iggy scored 7.6 PPG, grabbed 4 RPG and dished out 3.4 APG in 76 games. These stats are inferior to Eric Gordon however Dre’s defense is what puts him up for my sixth man of the year. He played his role perfectly defensively guarding the other team’s best player and did everything he had to do to get KD, Steph, Klay and Draymond shots. He was the definition of their glue guy and was a big reason why the dubs were the best team in NBA history. Iggy would be a starter on majority teams in the NBA and is my 2016-2017 sixth man of the year.
Most Improved Player of the Year… Giannis Antetokounmpo. YES the Greek Freak! The first decision I agreed with tonight. I am not dramatic or anything but I think I would give my life for Giannis. In 80 games Giannis averaged 35.6 MPG, 22.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 1.9 BPG. Giannis also led his team to the six seed in the East and showed he has all the tangibles to be one of the next NBA superstars. I fully expect him to dominate the East even more than he does now whenever LeBron retires or moves to LA.
Coach of the Year… Mike D’Antoni. In September Las Vegas projected the Houston Rockets were projected to win 41.5 games this year. With D’Antoni coming in this year and moving Harden to point guard and running an offense that just sprayed threes all year long was truly incredible and they ended the year as the 3 seed with a ending regular season record of 55-27, way more than what Vegas projected.
Cam’s Coach of the Year… I don’t know why award shows like to always ignore the obvious but it just happens every year. Our standard for the best is just so high that we ignore them every year you can make an argument that Gregg Popovich could win coach of the year and that includes this year. Every year we assume that Pop’s old washed up Spurs are going to go down under but once again he proves us wrong. The Spurs finished with another 60-win year with a final record of 61-21. Pop does a perfect job of getting his players to buy into a system that moves the ball around and plays defense especially with all of the guys’ way beyond their prime. I do not think any other coach in the league could find a role for Patty Mills or Manu Ginobli on their team. Also I want to let it be known in the WCSF in an elimination game The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Houston Rockets 114-75 in Houston without Kawhi Leonard.
Defensive Player of the Year… you know Chubbs like Draymond. This is well deserved if you watched the finals or just basketball in general. Draymond can guard pretty much all five positions on the floor and if it weren’t for his defensive efforts in the playoffs the Warriors would not be the best team ever. Bill Simmons mentioned this in his podcast how many players do you think can protect the rim and also hit a three in a finals series? He came up with Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. This skill is very rare and makes for a generational player.
Cam’s Defensive Player of the Year… although I would’ve agreed with Draymond, Kawhi, and Gobert I personally think this is the Kawhi Leonard award. This is the only stat that you need to know Kawhi has more steals than fouls. Yeah, you read that right. This statistic like hurts my brain to think about. Kawhi is amazing on offense and this amazes me because he plays like this while guarding your best player. If you saw the Kawhi Leonard commercial tonight you should understand, it might possibly be the best commercial ever… that is me not being dramatic again.
MVP… Yes, the award we have all been waiting for. All season long we have talked about it and watched closely. This could have very well been the closest MVP race we have ever had. What amazes me the most is that none of the Top 3 players in the league were in consideration. Your 2016-2017 MVP is Russell Westbrook. Westbrook was the most exciting player to watch this season he played on a high energy and a high level every single night which is amazing. Every night you thought he couldn’t do it again but then he would. Westbrook played 81 games, averaged 34.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, and 10.4 APG, a triple double and led the Thunder to the six seed in the West.
Cam’s MVP… I think we already know the answer to this. I talked earlier about how we overlook the simple answer every year because we hold them to a higher standard than everyone else and like how Coach Pop should win Coach of the Year every year LeBron James should win MVP every year. Here is a simple fact the Cavs were 0-8 without LeBron. LeBron makes his teammates better. A lot of people tell me Russell Westbrook should win MVP because he averaged a triple double this season. Look if you think Russell Westbrook should win the MVP you make a fine case believe me he is well deserving but that cannot be your reason. LeBron averaged 26.4 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 8.4 APG. You mean to tell me LeBron couldn’t grab those two extra rebounds and dish out those two extra assists if he absolutely didn’t want to? LeBron does not dominate the ball as much as Westbrook does either, LeBron likes to get his teammates more involved. LeBron also led his team to the 2 seed and led his team to the finals once again. LeBron’s numbers this year were better than his previous 4 MVP years.
Okay now let me pick a MVP out of the three finalists. I have been saying this all year and I am sticking to it I believe James Harden should win it. Harden averaged 29.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 11.2 APG. I talked earlier on how Vegas projected Houston to win 41.5 games before the year and they ended up winning 55 games. Oklahoma City was projected to win 45.5 games this year and ended up winning 47 games so just around where they were projected. I also hear about how Russell Westbrook has no teammates and I want to put this argument to bed. There is no way this team goes from a win away to the finals, KD leaves and they are just awful, no this isn’t the 07 Cavs. If we had a draft between just Thunder and Rockets players excluding Harden and Westbrook wouldn’t this be the order?
- Kanter maybe?
- Lou Will or Patrick Beverly?
So I want to make the argument that Westbrook has better teammates than Harden, I just think Westbrook makes his teammates look bad because of his style of play. My last point on this is that I am not taking away anything from Russell Westbrook he is well deserving of the MVP and I am happy for him, this is just how I feel and I was tired of seeing the “if Russell Westbrook doesn’t win MVP the NBA is stupid” tweets. There are valid arguments on other MVP candidates. I just want it to be known also that this is the first MVP to win under 50 games in the regular season since 81-82 year with Moses Malone, generally a MVP puts his team in a position to be in the finals. However averaging a 30 point triple double is just unheard of and is hard not to award the man for that, I am just saying Russell Westbrook’s MVP is a unique case.
If you did not understand a word, I just said or didn’t agree with anything this is the one point I want you to conclude with and that is there is nothing in this world like the NBA. The NBA is the best league and there will never be a league like it. Now before you ignore the rest of this I want you to think about it. There is no other league that would have an award show like tonight with Drake hosting it. No other league would have the swaggy outfits that the players were wearing tonight. No other league would bring out Bill Russell to tell some of the other greatest players to ever live that he would’ve “kicked their ass.” No other league is as close as a family as the NBA. I know the NBA gets a lot of hate for not being enemies these days but tonight when Bill Russell came out on stage and everyone was so happy for him that was a beautiful sight and I love that more than seeing these guys hate each other. There is no other league that could make you laugh, angry, and cry all in the same night. Drake made us all laugh, if you didn’t agree with an award you were angry, and Ernie Johnson, Monty Williams, and Russell Westbrook made you cry last night. Russell Westbrook speech to his teammates and family won my heart over and I will always have great respect for that. The most beautiful thing about last night was Monty Williams’ speech and how deliberately open he is with his faith. I hope all of you enjoyed the show last night as much as me and I am looking forward to this new trend.