June 27, 2017, 8:00 pm
Welcome Hoop-Ballers! The summer is in full swing but at least we finally got to find out who took home awards for a regular season that ended two months ago. Let’s check out the big winners:
MVP – RUSSELL WESTBROOK
One season removed from losing Kevin Durant to the Warriors, Westbrook famously averaged career-highs of 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists in 81 starts for the Thunder. He received 69 first-place votes, destroying Harden’s 22 first-place votes, even though the Thunder won just 47 games last season. Westbrook will be in the mix for fantasy basketball’s top pick next season.
DEFENSIVE POY – DRAYMOND GREEN
Green‘s win ends a two-year run by Kawhi Leonard, who was favored to three-peat. Green averaged 7.9 rebounds, 2.0 steals (NBA leader) and 1.4 blocks per game this season. He held opponents to 43.9% shooting at the rim, which was barely second in the NBA after Rudy Gobert (43.8%). This goes to show how star-studded the Warriors were this season, with the DPOY and two former MVPs on their roster. Green is worthy of an early-round pick next season.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER – GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO
The Greek Freak set career-highs across the board, averaging 22.9 points (an increase of 6.0 point from 2015-16), 8.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. In a season full of injuries on the Bucks, Antetokounmpo was the one constant and broke out with leadership and sheer will to get his team to the playoffs. He is one of the league’s budding superstars and should be a high first-rounder in fantasy basketball next season. It’s scary that he’s only 22 years old.
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR – ERIC GORDON
Gordon went from annual starter for the Pelicans to starting just 15 games for the high-octane Rockets. He came off the bench and edged teammate Lou Williams for the award. Gordon averaged 16.2 points and nailed 3.3 three-pointers per game. Barring a monumental addition to the Rockets, Gordon should be a solid mid-round asset next season.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – MALCOLM BROGDON
The 36th overall pick last summer, Brogdon averaged 10.2 points, 4.2 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals during his rookie campaign. He was a nice surprise as a second-round talent who rose among his peers and shined for the Bucks. Brogdon is part of the young core of Bucks oozing with potential. He is worthy of a late-round fantasy pick next season.
COACH OF THE YEAR – MIKE D’ANTONI
This is D’Antoni‘s second time winning the award, as he won with the Suns back in the 2004-05 season. He led the Rockets to 55 wins and the second most points in the NBA. His high octane offense has yet to lead a team to a championship, but there is no doubt he brings teams a fast pace and makes them fun to watch.
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AROUND THE ASSOCIATION
It’s the calm before the storm of NBA free agency. Here are some of the bigger headlines over the last 24 hours:
- Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical is reporting that the Celtics are plotting a way to land both Gordon Hayward and Paul George this offseason. Hayward is rumored to reunite with Celtics coach Brad Stevens, while George could use his contract season to play for a contender. Something tells me Larry Bird would feel a lot easier about trading George to the Celtics over the Lakers.
- John Wall submitted the Wizards as a bid in the latest Paul George sweepstakes, claiming they are “one piece away.” Aren’t we all, John, aren’t we all.
- The Vertical is reporting that Chris Paul met with the Clippers to discuss his future on Tuesday. While the rumors swirl about possible landing spots for CP3, he took a meeting with the Clippers, who can offer him the highest contract. CP3 is 32 years old so expect him to be choosy about where he signs a max-deal since championship aspirations are expected to be a driving factor in his next destination.
- ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that Carmelo Anthony‘s agency, despite giving preference to remaining on the Knicks, have talked about a buyout. This is the first of such report. Expect the Knicks to keep falling before they get back up.
- After winning the NBA’s Teammate of the Year, Dirk Nowitzki claimed that he wants to play “a couple more years.” The Mavs declined his team option of $25 million for next season, perhaps setting up Dirk for a two-year deal.
- Hornets rookie Malik Monk is not off to a good start for his NBA career. The Hornets announced that he will not participate in the Orlando summer league due to a sprained left ankle that he suffered in the draft workout process. Expect him to be fine for training camp.
- The Bulls will not extend a qualifying offer to Michael Carter-Williams, making him an unrestricted free agent. With the recent acquisition of Kris Dunn in the Jimmy Butler trade, the Bulls simply have too many point guards on the roster. Someone had to go.
That’ll do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish, offseason edition! As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RiazD. Don’t forget to follow all of our breaking news and rumors @HoopBallTweets. Happy Hump Day!