2017 NBA Awards

2017 NBA Award Picks: Most Valuable Player

With the 2016/17 NBA regular season in the books, we’re making our picks for the year’s major awards. The Hoops Rumors writing team has weighed in with our selections below, but we also want to know which players, coaches, and executives you think are most deserving of the hardware this season, so jump into the comments section below to share your thoughts.

We’re wrapping things up today with the award for Most Valuable Player. Here are our picks:

Arthur Hill: Russell Westbrook (Thunder)Russell Westbrook vertical
This has a chance to be one of the closest MVP votes ever. Westbrook and James Harden both turned in extraordinary seasons, and either could be a runaway winner in a normal year. The case for Harden is that the Rockets won more games than the Thunder (55 to 47) and Harden was more efficient. He led the league with 11.2 assists per game while averaging 29.1 points. His True Shooting numbers were better than Westbrook’s and he put up his numbers in fewer possessions. However, by averaging a triple double, Westbrook did something that hasn’t been accomplished in 55 seasons. He also displayed his value in the offseason, agreeing to an extension when it looked like the Thunder might crumble after losing Kevin Durant. Harden’s season was special, but Westbrook’s was historic. He’s the real MVP.

Austin Kent: Russell Westbrook (Thunder)
I wasn’t entirely convinced that I would tip my hat in Westbrook’s direction until the final weeks of the season. At the end of the day however, there were three things that, together, made giving the award to anybody else troublesome. Had Westbrook only averaged a triple-double, I would have easily been able to justify giving the award to Harden, but he did so while also leading the league in scoring and minimizing the win differential between the two teams to just eight games.

The Rockets were a better team this season and Harden has been a certifiably MVP-worthy candidate, but Westbrook obliterating league history is more deserving of recognition. Even if Westbrook has a tendency to chase stats, is fortunate enough to play with big men who aren’t afraid to defer rebounds, and still barely topped a record set by somebody who didn’t even know he was setting a record in the first place, what he did is among the most impressive things our generation will ever see on a basketball court. Seriously, with the exception of a hypothetically stat-crazed Miami Heat-era LeBron James, I can’t think of a single player in the last 20 years who could pull off Westbrook’s accomplishment even if they were, like Westbrook, hellbent on doing exactly that.

We had a handful of players who made valid cases for the MVP award this year — that part isn’t up for debate. I’ve just decided to give the nod to the one who managed to make his case while simultaneously pulling off a feat that five years ago was virtually unimaginable.

Chris Crouse: Kawhi Leonard (Spurs)
Picking an MVP this year means splitting hairs. All are deserving, though only one can get the top vote. LeBron is the best player in the world, but his defense slipped this season and his numbers weren’t as impressive as some of the other candidates. Harden nearly averaged a triple-double, but he was overshadowed by Westbrook, who accomplished the feat.

Westbrook put up unbelievable stats, though it begs the question: is one star more valuable than another because of opportunity? His historic usage percentage (41.7%) allowed him to put up historic numbers. Westbrook took nearly 2,000 shots this year. Harden took 1,533, while James and Leonard put up roughly 1,300 apiece. Westbrook basically did what Drew Brees has been doing in the NFL over the last several seasons: achieve major statistical milestones as a result of opportunity without elevating his team to greatness. Brees hasn’t won the MVP award because voters realize it’s a passing league, and with the NBA trending toward high-pace-and-space style offenses, I think we’ll find that tremendous stats will become the new normal in this league.

Leonard didn’t put up gaudy stat lines as frequently as the other candidates, but he didn’t cost his team as many possessions either. Leonard had only 154 turnovers on the season. Westbrook gave the ball to the other team 438 times. Harden did it a league-worst 464 times. LBJ had 303 turnovers himself. And it’s not like Leonard had the ball that much less than some of the other candidates (Leonard had a 31.1 usage percentage, while Harden had 34.2 and James had 30.0). Having also factored in Leonard’s efficiency, Win Shares (he’s second in the league in WS per 48 minutes behind only Kevin Durant) and suffocating defense, I have to go with the San Antonio star in this extremely tight race for MVP.

Dana Gauruder: Russell Westbrook (Thunder)
I can’t fault anyone who favors Harden. He also had a spectacular season after changing his role. What Westbrook did – averaging a triple-double – is mind-boggling in an era where star players routinely take nights off. The Thunder needed him to dominate virtually every night to make the playoffs and he delivered.

Luke Adams: Russell Westbrook (Thunder)
A common argument in the case for Harden over Westbrook is the fact that the Rockets exceeded their expectations in 2016/17 by a greater margin than the Thunder did. That’s true, but that’s only because expectations for Westbrook in Oklahoma City’s post-Durant era were sky high. We expected Westbrook to go on a rampage and put up massive numbers like he did during Durant’s absence in 2014/15 — we weren’t sure what to expect from Harden and the Rockets after a disastrous 2015/16 season.

The fact that Westbrook still managed to exceed our expectations this season is one reason why he deserves the Most Valuable Player award. He also made huge shots in clutch situations time after time, and managed to carry a roster that was dead-last in the NBA in outside shooting (.327 3PT%, including .321 for players besides Westbrook) to a No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. And, yeah, he averaged a triple-double too. Incredible seasons from Harden, Leonard, and LeBron made this decision a brutal one, but Westbrook deserves the MVP nod for a singular performance that we’ll remember for years to come.

Who is your pick for Most Valuable Player? Share your choices and your thoughts in the comments section below!

Previously:
April 13: Executive of the Year
April 14: Coach of the Year
April 17: Most Improved Player
April 18: Sixth Man of the Year
April 19: Defensive Player of the Year
April 20: Rookie of the Year

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll Results: 2017 All-NBA Teams

In an NBA season packed with incredible performances and remarkable statistical achievements, we wanted to let you make the call on which 15 players are most deserving of All-NBA recognition.

On Tuesday, we opened voting for the All-NBA First Team. We moved on to the Second Team on Wednesday, and then opened the polls for the Third Team on Thursday. The results of those polls are in, so let’s check them out.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Your top vote-getters in the final round of polling that didn’t quite earn spots on the Third Team: Damian Lillard (Blazers), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Draymond Green (Warriors), Gordon Hayward (Jazz), DeMarcus Cousins (Kings/Pelicans), and Nikola Jokic (Nuggets).

My All-NBA choices would look pretty similar to yours, with a couple small changes here and there — I’d likely move Gobert up to the Second Team, and would find room for Green on the Second or Third Team, most likely at the expense of George. All in all though, I think when the official All-NBA selections are announced, they’ll look a lot like these teams.

What do you think? Do you disagree strongly with any of these choices? Expecting major discrepancies when the official All-NBA teams are announced? Let us know in the comments section!

Poll: 2017 All-NBA Third Team

In an NBA season packed with incredible performances and remarkable statistical achievements, we’re letting you decide which 15 players are most deserving of All-NBA recognition.

On Tuesday, we opened voting for the All-NBA First Team, and 24 hours later, we had clear answers for which five players you believe deserve spots on that team. On Wednesday, we published polls for the Second Team, and we have now have our five players for that squad too. In this case, the vote was a little closer, particularly at center, where Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert went down to the wire in the race for a spot on the Second Team.

Here are the voting results so far:

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

While your First Team choices consisted mostly of this year’s top MVP candidates, your Second Team picks were heavy on the best players from this year’s best teams — the NBA-leading Warriors got two spots on the Second Team, while Thomas, the top scorer from the East’s No. 1 team, earned one of the guard spots.

We’re moving on today to the All-NBA Third Team, so cast your votes below for the two guards, two forwards, and one center that you believe are most deserving of being named to that squad. You’ll have until about 12:00pm CT on Friday before we close this round of voting and round up the final results. You’ll also have the opportunity to select two players apiece in the guard and forward polls, so be sure to take advantage of that.

Who should be on the All-NBA Third Team?

Guards:

Note: This poll was reset after a top candidate was initially omitted. If you voted in our original poll, please feel free to re-submit your vote.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote on the All-NBA Third Team guards.

Forwards:

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote on the All-NBA Third Team forwards.

Center:

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote on the All-NBA Third Team center.

2017 NBA Award Picks: Rookie Of The Year

With the 2016/17 NBA regular season in the books, we’re making our picks for the year’s major awards. The Hoops Rumors writing team has weighed in with our selections below, but we also want to know which players, coaches, and executives you think are most deserving of the hardware this season, so jump into the comments section below to share your thoughts.

We’re keeping things going today with the award for Rookie of the Year. Here are our picks:

Chris Crouse: Malcolm Brogdon (Bucks)Malcolm Brogdon vertical
As a Philadelphia resident, I wanted to go with Joel Embiid. He’s clearly the most talented player in the rookie class and he was running away with this award while only playing half of the Sixers’ back-to-backs. However, a knee injury ended his season, limiting the big man to only 31 games and a total of 786 minutes. How many minutes would have been enough to win the award? 1,000? 1,500? I’m not sure, but part of being considered the best of the year is being available and the Cameroon native wasn’t.

Brogdon was there for a Milwaukee team that needed a contributor. He gave coach Jason Kidd a solid defender and a player who could be counted on. Dario Saric had a slightly higher scoring average, but he wasn’t nearly as efficient as the Virginia product and he didn’t help to elevate his team as Brogdon did with the Bucks. Brogdon’s 4.1 Win Shares is by far tops among all rookies (Willy Hernangomez was the only other rookie above 3.0). Despite having two local candidates, I can’t argue with The President’s numbers; he gets my vote.

Austin Kent: Joel Embiid (Sixers)
The efficiency and off-court high jinks are just two components of what makes Joel Embiid so special. A third component – and in my opinion the most important one – is the immediate impact he had on a Sixers culture that was so deep in the basement they may as well have been relegated to the D-League. Embiid stepped on the court in October and changed all that overnight. This isn’t a byproduct of desperation, wishful thinking, or confirmation bias — nobody here had anything resembling high hopes for the man who seemed easily more myth than reality, a borderline punchline before he’d even set foot on the court.

I like that Brogdon is a contributing role player on a playoff team and that Saric proved he can fill the stat sheet when half the Philly roster is away on sabbatical, but to me the Rookie of the Year award serves as a way of flagging the most exciting of the league’s latest batch of fresh faces. I’m not going to hold the fact that a company with no rational incentive to start risking a years-long process chose to play it safe and shut its best asset down prematurely.

Dana Gauruder: Malcolm Brogdon (Bucks)
If Embiid had played at least half the Sixers’ games, this would be a no-brainer. Saric put up good numbers on a bad team. Brogdon was a huge surprise, contributing right away and helping the Bucks get through the first half of the season without Khris Middleton.

Arthur Hill: Joel Embiid (Sixers)
The only argument to make against Embiid winning the award is that a cautious Sixers medical staff limited him to 31 games. Otherwise, he was the best scorer, rebounder, shot blocker and overall defender in his rookie class. Embiid’s numbers – 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game – tower over the field before taking into account that they were achieved on a minutes restriction. Adjust those on a 36-minute basis and they become 28.7, 11.1 and 3.5 — good enough to be considered for MVP, not just Rookie of the Year. Although it would be unprecedented to give a trophy to someone who played less than half a season, I’ll take 31 games of excellence over anyone else in the field.

Luke Adams: Malcolm Brogdon (Bucks)
A first-half Rookie of the Year award for Embiid and a second-half trophy for Saric would probably make the most sense, but since Rookie of the Year is a full-season award, Brogdon’s consistency and durability give him the edge. While he may not turn into as impressive a pro down the road as Embiid or Saric, Brogdon’s ability to step into a regular rotation role for a playoff team and hold his own (10.2 PPG, 4.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, .404 3PT%) makes him a worthy – albeit not particularly flashy – Rookie of the Year winner.

Who is your pick for Rookie of the Year? Share your choices and your thoughts in the comments section below!

Previously:
April 13: Executive of the Year
April 14: Coach of the Year
April 17: Most Improved Player
April 18: Sixth Man of the Year
April 19: Defensive Player of the Year

Still to come:
April 21: Most Valuable Player

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 NBA Award Picks: Defensive Player Of The Year

With the 2016/17 NBA regular season in the books, we’re making our picks for the year’s major awards. The Hoops Rumors writing team has weighed in with our selections below, but we also want to know which players, coaches, and executives you think are most deserving of the hardware this season, so jump into the comments section below to share your thoughts.

We’re keeping things going today with the award for Defensive Player of the Year. Here are our picks:

Arthur Hill: Rudy Gobert (Jazz)rudygobert vertical
Gobert is the league’s greatest shot-blocking force, averaging 2.6 per night, but he also has more mobility to cover pick-and-rolls than a traditional big man. He is the centerpiece of a Utah defense that is eight points better (per 100 possessions) when he is in the game. The Jazz were able to overcome a long string of injuries to win the Northwest title, and Gobert’s presence in the paint was a major reason why.

Austin Kent: Rudy Gobert (Jazz)
There are a number of defensive metrics that tilt the Defensive Player of the Year conversation in Gobert’s direction, but the fact that his emergence as the unquestioned anchor of Utah’s defense corresponded perfectly with the Jazz emerging as a borderline elite team is what does it for me. It doesn’t matter what defensive schemes the Jazz run; it doesn’t even matter what team he suits up for; pick any randomly conceived set of circumstances, add a healthy Gobert in the middle, and suddenly life is impossibly hard for the 29 other teams in the league.

While you could trot out various numbers for a handful of solid candidates when debating who should win this award, I’ll take Gobert’s league-leading defensive win share mark and his 2.6 blocks per game. Imagine what that BPG mark would look like if opponents didn’t start game planning ways of avoiding the 7’1″ game-changer the second they saw the Jazz on their team schedule.

Chris Crouse: Draymond Green (Warriors)
What Green does on the floor is truly remarkable. There isn’t a position he can’t guard and you could compile an instructional coaching video purely off his help defense. Gobert is the best rim protector in the league, but Draymond’s ability to disrupt the opposition’s offense at any given spot on the floor is what makes him this season’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Dana Gauruder: Rudy Gobert (Jazz)
Utah defended the two-point shot better than any other team, mainly because it had the league’s top shot blocker anchoring the paint. Green and Kawhi Leonard are also worthy candidates, but the Jazz improved dramatically this season and a healthy Gobert (until the postseason) was a major factor.

Luke Adams: Draymond Green (Warriors)
I’ve gone back and forth between Green and Gobert, and the Jazz center is certainly a worthy choice. However, after the Warriors appeared to take a major step backwards last offseason in terms of interior defense by replacing rim-protecting rotation players like Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli with Zaza Pachulia and David West, Green’s play this season helped ensure that rim protection wasn’t an issue for Golden State after all. Green’s versatility – including his ability to switch onto virtually any player – gives him the slightest edge over Gobert and his interior dominance.

Who is your pick for Defensive Player of the Year? Share your choices and your thoughts in the comments section below!

Previously:
April 13: Executive of the Year
April 14: Coach of the Year
April 17: Most Improved Player
April 18: Sixth Man of the Year

Still to come:
April 20: Rookie of the Year
April 21: Most Valuable Player

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: 2017 All-NBA Second Team

In an NBA season packed with incredible performances and remarkable statistical achievements, we’re letting you decide which 15 players are most deserving of All-NBA recognition.

On Tuesday, we opened voting for the All-NBA First Team, and 24 hours later, we have clear answers for which five players you believe deserve spots on that team. James Harden and Russell Westbrook ran away with the two guard spots, while LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard comfortably won the vote for forwards. At center, Anthony Davis topped all challengers to earn a spot on our All-NBA First Team.

The voting results so far:

All-NBA First Team

With four clear-cut MVP candidates on the First Team, the choices were somewhat straightforward, but that’s not the case for the next 10 spots, where there should be several interesting races. We’re moving on today to the All-NBA Second Team, so cast your votes below for the two guards, two forwards, and one center that you believe are most deserving of being named to that squad.

You’ll have about 24 hours for this round of voting before we move on to the All-NBA Third Team on Thursday. You’ll also have the opportunity to select two players apiece in the guard and forward polls, so be sure to take advantage of that. And if there’s a player not listed below that you believe deserves All-NBA consideration, be sure to mention him in the comments section too — if I agree, I’ll make sure he’s included in our All-NBA Third Team poll.

Guards:

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote on the All-NBA Second Team guards.

Forwards:

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote on the All-NBA Second Team forwards.

Center:

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote on the All-NBA Second Team center.

2017 NBA Award Picks: Sixth Man Of The Year

With the 2016/17 NBA regular season in the books, we’re making our picks for the year’s major awards. The Hoops Rumors writing team has weighed in with our selections below, but we also want to know which players, coaches, and executives you think are most deserving of the hardware this season, so jump into the comments section below to share your thoughts.

We’re keeping things going today with the award for Sixth Man of the Year. Here are our picks:

Chris Crouse: Lou Williams (Lakers/Rockets)Lou Louis Williams vertical
The league’s MVP may be the only award race that’s tighter than the Sixth Man of the Year’s. Eric Gordon had an excellent debut season before cooling off in the second half. James Johnson breathed life into Miami after the team was decimated by injuries. Andre Iguodala held down the second unit of 67-win team. Zach Randolph gave the Grizzlies firepower off the bench where they didn’t have very much else to count on.

Yet, Williams stands out. The 2014/15 Sixth Man of the Year scored 17.5 PPG this season while sporting a career-high 21.4 PER. He had a true shooting percentage of .609 during his 58 games in Los Angeles. His numbers dipped after he was sent to the Rockets at the trade deadline, but he remained a key contributor in Houston, scoring the second-most points per game on the team after the All-Star break. There were plenty of great options off the bench this season, but Williams gets my vote for the best of the bunch.

Dana Gauruder: Lou Williams (Lakers/Rockets)
Williams was so effective off the bench for the going-nowhere Lakers that he got himself traded to a contender. He’s been in the league since 2005/06 and averaged a career high 17.5 points. Williams’ perimeter shooting cooled off after joining the Rockets but he makes them that much more dangerous in the postseason.

Arthur Hill: Eric Gordon (Rockets)
Ever since James Harden arrived in Houston, the Rockets have struggled to score when he’s not in the game. The franchise has been searching for years for a guard who can put pressure on opposing defenses while Harden is resting. They struck gold last summer when Gordon agreed to a four-year, $53MM deal. Gordon shook off his long history of injuries and played 75 games, the most since his rookie season, while averaging 16.3 points per night and shooting 37% from 3-point range. His stats alone make him worthy of the Sixth Man award, but his impact on the Rockets has been even greater.

Luke Adams: James Johnson (Heat)
Players like Williams and Gordon fit the mold of a traditional Sixth Man of the Year as second-unit scorers capable of changing games and single-handedly keeping an offense afloat when the starters get some rest. But Johnson’s all-around play on both ends of the floor was game-changing during the Heat’s 30-11 second-half run.

Always an intriguing part-time player, Johnson finally put it all together this season in Miami, scoring (12.8 PPG), passing (3.6 APG), and shooting (.341 FG%) at career-best rates. Most impressively, he showed the ability to guard virtually anyone on an opponent’s roster, one through five, averaging more than a block and a steal per game while maintaining that invaluable versatility.

Austin Kent: Zach Randolph (Grizzlies)
The decision to bump 35-year-old Randolph to the second unit paid off for the Grizzlies and the veteran’s 15th NBA season will go down as one of his most efficient on a per-minute basis. In just over 24 minutes per game, Randolph averaged 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds, all while playing a vital role in keeping Memphis in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Sure, Z-Bo isn’t doing anything he hasn’t already done for ages, but the fact that he’s now doing it off the pine makes him the scariest bench player in the game. His stats are comparable with any other elite reserve, his team is a winner, and he’s the only backup that’s obviously more intimidating to check than the guy who starts ahead of him.

Who is your pick for Sixth Man of the Year? Share your choices and your thoughts in the comments section below!

Previously:
April 13: Executive of the Year
April 14: Coach of the Year
April 17: Most Improved Player

Still to come:
April 19: Defensive Player of the Year
April 20: Rookie of the Year
April 21: Most Valuable Player

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: 2017 All-NBA First Team

Russell Westbrook‘s full-season triple-double was the most impressive statistical achievement of the 2016/17 regular season, but the NBA’s stars put up astounding numbers across the board this year, making All-NBA decisions tougher than ever. No matter which 15 players earn spots on the three All-NBA teams for 2017, worthy candidates will miss the cut.

Still, we want you to do your best to identify which 15 players are the most deserving of All-NBA recognition this year. Over the next few days, we’ll be running a handful of polls to let you make your selections for this year’s All-NBA teams.

We’re starting today with the First Team. Polls for the guards, forwards, and center are below — you’ll have the opportunity to pick two players apiece in the guard and forward polls. We’ll leave today’s polls open for about 24 hours, at which point we’ll name the players with the most votes to our All-NBA First Team and move on to voting for the Second Team.

Vote for your All-NBA picks below, and then take to the comments section to explain your reasoning. And if there are a player not listed below that you believe deserves All-NBA consideration, be sure to mention him in the comments section too — if I agree, I’ll make sure he’s included in our Second and Third Team polls.

Guards:

Note: This poll was reset after a top candidate was initially omitted. If you voted early in our original poll, feel free to vote again.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote on the All-NBA First team guards.

Forwards:

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote on the All-NBA First team forwards.

Centers:

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote on the All-NBA First team center.

2017 NBA Award Picks: Most Improved Player

With the 2016/17 NBA regular season in the books, we’re making our picks for the year’s major awards. The Hoops Rumors writing team has weighed in with our selections below, but we also want to know which players, coaches, and executives you think are most deserving of the hardware this season, so jump into the comments section below to share your thoughts.

We’re keeping things going today with the award for Most Improved Player. Here are our picks:

Arthur Hill: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)Giannis Antetokounmpo vertical
Antetokounmpo showed the nation on Saturday what Bucks fans have been watching all season. His 28 points and eight rebounds only told part of the story of his Game 1 dominance against Toronto. Already pegged as a future star before the season began, Antetokounmpo increased his scoring average by six points per game to 22.9 and raised his rebound (8.7) and assist (5.4) averages significantly over last year. He was also the Bucks’ leader in steals and blocks, making him the only player this season to lead his team in all five categories. Antetokounmpo may be a future MVP and is a clear choice for Most Improved.

Luke Adams: Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)
While Antetokounmpo’s leap from star to superstar was thrilling to watch and Rudy Gobert‘s improved offensive play took his game to another level, Jokic is my pick for making the jump from solid rotation player to one of the NBA’s best big men. After being inserted into the starting lineup permanently in mid-December, Jokic averaged an eye-popping 19.2 PPG, 10.9 RPG, and 5.8 APG in 51 games. And this wasn’t just a case of increased minutes resulting in increased production — his field goal percentage and his per-minute numbers across the board improved significantly this season.

Dana Gauruder: Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)
Who knew this guy would turn into a triple-double threat every night? Certainly not many NBA scouts, as he lasted until the 41st pick in 2014. He’ll provide the Nuggets with a unique weapon in the post for years to come.

Chris Crouse: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
The Greek Freak became a star during the 2016/17 campaign, averaging career-highs in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks per game. As noted above, he led the Bucks in all those categories and he helped them secure a playoff berth after missing the postseason last year. Going from good to great is the hardest step a player can make, and Antetokounmpo deserves credit for making that improvement.

Austin Kent: Isaiah Thomas (Celtics)
There are a number of players who went from good to great this year, but Thomas has been the most improved player in the traditional sense that I’m choosing to base my vote on. This season, Thomas evolved from an opportunistic volume scorer into an outright star, raising his point production (28.9 PPG) and shooting percentages (.464/.380/.909) across the board.

Despite his small stature, Thomas can be a primary offensive weapon for an elite team and not just in a quirky, forced way because he’s the only option. As Boston has grown into a contender, Thomas has developed into a reliable cornerstone and actually answered a lot of the organization’s needs from within.

Who is your pick for Most Improved Player? Share your choices and your thoughts in the comments section below!

Previously:
April 13: Executive of the Year
April 14: Coach of the Year

Still to come:
April 18: Sixth Man of the Year
April 19: Defensive Player of the Year
April 20: Rookie of the Year
April 21: Most Valuable Player

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 NBA Award Picks: Coach Of The Year

With the 2016/17 NBA regular season in the books, we’re making our picks for the year’s major awards. The Hoops Rumors writing team has weighed in with our selections below, but we also want to know which players, coaches, and executives you think are most deserving of the hardware this season, so jump into the comments section below to share your thoughts.

We’re keeping things going today with the award for Coach of the Year. Here are our picks:

Dana Gauruder: Mike D’Antoni (Rockets)Mike D'Antoni vertical
Many people thought D’Antoni was washed up and might not get another head coaching job. The Rockets rolled the dice and D’Antoni’s decision to make James Harden the primary ball-handler turned out to be a brilliant stroke. Houston has the second-most feared offense in the league behind only the uber-talented Warriors.

Austin Kent: Mike D’Antoni (Rockets)
In his first year with the Rockets, D’Antoni completely changed the culture of the organization. He didn’t just gradually facilitate the inevitable improvement of his players — he transformed how the team approaches the game. From the get-go, D’Antoni executed an unconventional vision and his decision to let Harden steer the ship as a point guard instantly spurred the team’s offensive metamorphosis and pushed Houston from a forgettable good team to a dark-horse great team.

Chris Crouse: Gregg Popovich (Spurs)
Popovich is the best coach in the league. The Spurs remain in contention for a title every year and Popovich’s ability to get the most out of the team’s talent is a major reason why — just look at Dewayne Dedmon and Jonathon Simmons this season. David Lee appeared to be on his way to out of the league only two seasons ago, but this year under Popovich, you can argue that he had his most effective season as a pro. D’Antoni and Erik Spoelstra both deserve credit, but Pop continues to prove he deserves the award.

Arthur Hill: Brad Stevens (Celtics)
The Celtics were supposed to get better after adding Al Horford in free agency, but hardly anyone expected a No. 1 seed. Boston doesn’t have a superstar like the other elite teams, but Stevens constantly has the team playing above its talent level. He took Isaiah Thomas, who was cast off by both the Kings and Suns, and turned him into an MVP candidate, and he gave rookie Jaylen Brown a smooth transition into the rotation. Stevens has been recognized as one of the league’s best bench coaches for years, and now he has a No. 1 seed to back it up.

Luke Adams: Gregg Popovich (Spurs)
D’Antoni, Spoelstra, Scott Brooks, and a handful of other coaches have strong cases for this award, but it’s hard to vote against Popovich, who coaxed 61 wins out of a roster that’s not exactly loaded with All-Stars. While Kawhi Leonard is a bona-fide MVP candidate, many other Spurs are either past their primes (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol) or haven’t yet peaked (Jonathon Simmons, Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertans). Tim Duncan‘s retirement seemed to mark the end of an era in San Antonio, but the Popovich-led Spurs didn’t miss a beat in Duncan’s absence.

Who is your pick for Coach of the Year? Share your choices and your thoughts in the comments section below!

Previously:
April 13: Executive of the Year

Still to come:
April 17: Most Improved Player
April 18: Sixth Man of the Year
April 19: Defensive Player of the Year
April 20: Rookie of the Year
April 21: Most Valuable Player

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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