Eddy Curry enjoyed a wonderful eleven year career in the NBA. He earned over 70 million dollars in the league and has had some pretty solid seasons in the NBA.
Eddy Curry also has not registered a single minute in the NBA Playoffs as a player. The closest the original Mr Curry got to playing in a playoff game was when we was listed as active for one game in the Miami Heat’s 2012 Championship run.
70 million dollars. One ring. No minutes in a playoff game in his career. Truly the blueprint for how to have a successful and lucrative NBA career without playing in it’s most important games.
Thus I officially would like to welcome you to the first ever Eddy Curry Non-Playoff Awards, because participation awards are a thing in 2019.
Any good award season needs rules, so here they are:
- The only players/coaches who are eligible for awards are players/coaches from teams who did not make the playoffs this season.
- Players traded from playoff teams to non-playoff teams had to have played at least 50% of their games on a non-playoff team this season (for example Marc Gasol played 53 games for the Grizzlies this year so he is eligible, however Jimmy Butler is not).
- Player’s who played under 60 games for their non-playoff team are also ineligible (Sorry LeBron).
There are five awards to give to the best of the worst this year, beginning with the award most likely to be regarded as the best backhanded compliment you can give to a player…
The Gerald Henderson Award for Worst Player to be the Best Player on his Team
Winner: Kevin Knox (New York Knicks)
Allow me to start by saying that I like Kevin Knox. Knox will likely be an above average to good player in the NBA and if the rumours are true and the Knicks end up with KD and Kyrie, that Knox will likely be the highlight of the Knicks bench next year.
But that’s all projection.
The Knicks didn’t at any point sniff the playoffs (we’ll talk about this later) and Knox was cast into the role of best player shortly after the departure of Tim Hardaway Jr (who was also considered for this award) and Enes Kanter. Since dealing Porzingis and Hardaway to the Mavs, Knox managed to carry them to an abysmal 3-20 record.
The pickings for best player on this team are incredibly slim, meaning that this award was almost certain to go to a Knick. However I can’t bring myself to call Mudiay or Vonleh the best guy on this team. I also can’t give the award to Dennis Smith because he played too many games for the Mavs this year and Knox played 68 games for the New York franchise this year so he his been consistently the best player in uniform.
Honourable Mentions: Jordan Clarkson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers)
The Brett Brown Award for the Best Coaching Job on a Non-Playoff Team
Winner: Lloyd Pierce
Brett Brown for years toiled on lowly Philadelphia 76ers teams in the fabled ‘Process’ years. It was a masterful execution of tanking which Coach Brown was able to survive due to his connection with his young players, ability to develop them and charismatic creation of a meaningful culture the team will attempt to capitalise on this off-season.
This is truly the ‘please don’t fire this coach for doing his job’ award.
With that said, Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks has done a great job. The Hawks were not destined for the playoffs this year, but were projected to win only 23 games. They have surpassed that mark, but not so much as to take their pick out of the lottery.
During the season, Coach Pierce has allowed Trae Young to tune his high volume offensive style to the NBA game and John Collins has had an inspiring second season. Now armed with solid rookie and sophomore seasons from the tandem, a collection of other young talent, two high first round picks in the upcoming draft and a lot of cap flexibility, the Hawks are set up to start the climb back into the playoffs.
If this had been mismanaged by a coach by winning too much, the Hawks would have missed out on being in a better position for a high lottery pick and likely would have had to play more veteran players. However if they tanked too hard, it could have compromised the confidence of their two young stars.
Coach Pierce got it just right and for that, he earns a Brett Brown Award.
Honourable Mentions: Igor Kokoškov (Phoenix Suns), Alvin Gentry (New Orleans Pelicans).
The Bobcats Award for Worst Attempt by a Team to Make the Playoffs
Winner: New York Knicks
The 7-59 Bobcats team set a bar so low in the 2011-12 season that it’s hard to imagine any team sinking lower.
However the 17-65 New York Knicks sure did try. I don’t really have a-lot to say about this team and there isn’t really any other team more deserving of this award. The only things worth noting are:
- They traded their 23 year old best player for a first round pick, a washed up five man and a young point guard when they already had three young point guards for cap space.
- They also made that trade without really testing the market.
- James Dolan banded a fan from MSG for yelling ‘sell the team’ while rumours circulated that he was going to.
- Mike Breen and Walt Frazier are the best thing about any of the games they played this year.
- Carmelo Anthony should’ve signed a contract with this team for the last three months of the year in a tribute to Kobe Bryant’s last few years on the Lakers (everyone’s favourite tank job).
Honourable Mentions: Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls (however neither of those teams traded Kristaps Porzingis for cap space this year).
The DeMarcus Cousins Award for Non-Playoff MVP
Winner: Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets)
If you listened to episode 1 of The Hutch Shot Podcast, you will know that I love Kemba Walker. Kemba is in the same class of point Guard with some of the key players on top end playoff teams this year. Averaging 25 and 6 on 43% shooting, Kemba has put forward the kind of season that usually propels teams into the postseason.
The Hornets will not make the playoffs this year, falling to the tenth seed behind Miami and Orlando in the East. While I think those teams have a better chance to give the Bucks an interesting four games (however none of those three teams have a chance of taking more than a game from Giannis), it’s sad to see Kemba once again miss the post season because his team is lacking.
Kemba is a fringe/likely All-NBA candidate despite his teams struggles, and with LeBron out of contention for this award due to the 60 game rule (however he still may not have won it), Davis out because I can’t reward what happened at the trade deadline and all the Spurs players coming off the board cause they somehow made the playoffs (Popovich again!), Kemba is the clear right choice for the Demarcus Award.
Honourable Mentions: Karl Anthony-Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
The David Stern Trophy for Best Non-Playoff Team
Winner: Sacramento Kings.
I wish this team was the eight seed so badly.
Sacramento are young, energetic, fun and also the best non-playoff NBA team of the 2018-19 season. They started the year under the cloud of having passed on Luka Doncic in favour of Marvin Bagley III, which I still maintain would not have been my decision.
But now that the season is over for both the Mavs and Kings, maybe it’s not as bad as we all thought?
Cousins’ Non-Playoff MVP candidate DeAaron Fox had a great year leading this team to the ninth seed in a stacked Western Conference, posting 17 points and 7 assists a game for the Kings. Bagley had a stellar rookie campaign putting up 14 points and 7 boards a game, Buddy Hield came on strong as a consistent 20 a game scorer and a steady diet of above average players (Giles, Bogdanovic, Cauley-Stein, Barnes, Jackson, Bejileca) made for an entertaining mix, sure to grab the attention of NBA League Pass subscribers.
Joerger has done a fantastic job for this team this season and Vlade Divac has built an intriguing young team in Northern California.
We really wish we could see this group take on Golden State or Denver, but will have to settle with what they’ve given us this year and award them the David Stern Trophy (we’re glad this award can’t be rigged to help the Lakers win like in 2002).
We’re excited to see this team in the postseason next year.
Honourable Mentions: No one because this team is awesome.