Tom Ballhausen – Giannis Antetokounmpo
This was one of the most entertaining MVP races in recent memory. Two incredible players in Giannis and James Harden who seemed to be a step above everyone else for the entire season.
When a race is this close, however, there’s one thing I use to separate the two – team success. The Bucks were the best regular season team in the league, the only team to reach 60 wins and Giannis was their spearhead on both offence and defence. Because of this, my MVP is Giannis.
Harry Rutner – James Harden
I want to preface this with saying that I think there needs to be a NFL style: MVP and Most Valuable offensive player, but unfortunately we have to work with what we got…
So, without much help for most of the season, Harden averaged 36 points per game, 7.5 assists 2 steals and 6.6 rebounds. Everyone knows it will be very tight between Giannis and Harden for this award (sorry PG13), but my vote goes to Harden by a hair. Not because I think he will actually win (Giannis has it in the bag) but because I think with numbers like what he put up this season it would be rude for him not to win.
Both players have very similar win share stats but with a string of 30, 40 and 50 (even a 60 point game) Harden’s offense and improvements on defence are too much to go past for this award!
Tomas Kuru – Giannis Antetokounmpo
Hands down, Giannis is this seasons MVP. Sure, Hardens put up some crazy stats over the season and the Raptors quietened the Freak during the ECF, but there’s not another single player who dominated as much as he did this year on both ends.
Louis Hood – Giannis Antetokounmpo
As offensively dominant James Harden has been(36.1 ppg is a rediculous amount), Giannis has been an all-around beast. He led the #1 seeded Bucks whilst posting posting team highs in points, boards, assists, steals and blocks. If he develops a consistent jumper, the man will be nigh on unstoppable
Tom Ballhausen – Pascal Siakam
Every statistical category for Pascal Siakam this season was an improvement when compared to last season. Spicy P was a destructive force for the eventual NBA champions and definitely benefited from the leadership of Kawhi.
Despite seriously strong compeition for this award in D’Angelo Russell and De’Aaron Fox, both of whom had incredible seasons in their own right, Pascal takes it for me based on his all-rounded improvement.
Harry Rutner – Pascal Siakam
I love Siakam, he is the energizer bunny, never stops running and not afraid to take the big shots.
In a single year he went from a bench player averaging 7.3 points, and 22% from three with only five starts, to 79 starts, 16.9 Points per game, 55% shooting, 37% from three, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He was the second scoring option on the championship Raptors for most of the season and showed great growth within the year, often spoken of as the second superstar on the Raptors (sorry Kyle Lowry…).
Tomas Kuru – De’Aaron Fox
The fastest player in the NBA, he and Russell Westbrook duelled several times this year and it’s becoming clear that Russell’s claim to that title has been seceded to Fox.
Louis Hood – Zach Lavine
I am with The Starters presenter JE Skeets on this one, 2nd year players should not be considered for this award as they are supposed to get drastically better. Undeniably, Pascal Siakam had an insane year; being in the talk for All-Star, bringing back the sweet post-moves from the 80’s and absolutely taking the Golden State Warriors to town in the finals. But this award goes to a player I have an absolute soft-spot for; a guy who after tearing his ACL, people were writing off due to atheleticism being his primary weapon. A guy whose shooting percentages and usage went through the roof. A guy taking the reigns of his young team and showing the team that traded him what they are missing. A guy not named Derrick Rose. Zach LaVine take your applause, you have proved you are more than a dunker. You are a true NBA player.
Tom Ballhausen – Luka Doncic
This was the easiest choice of the lot. Sure, Trae Young had an amazing second half of the season but Luka’s rookie season was head and shoulders above everyone else in his class.
Luka was dominant from day one and he’s only gonna get better, Dallas is in for some exciting times.
Harry Rutner – Luka Doncic
21 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal per game. He ran the offence of Mavericks and was their go to scorer and play maker. Luka Doncic has to win this award. While Trae Young had an incredible second half of his season, Luka from the NBA tip-off was the clear favourite and continued to prove why each game. He was also ROY each month from November- March…. I think that’s enough proof of why he wins this award…
Tomas Kuru – Luka Doncic
If they could give it to both Trey and Luka (they can), then they should. However my vote goes to Doncic, the way he puts his team on his back and steps up to take the huge shots is breathtaking. Some of them don’t go in, but once in a while, some of them do and it’s magic to watch.
Louis Hood – Luka Doncic
It is hard to think of another player who looked so NBA ready in their rookie season, especially one not named LeBron James. He absolutely took control of the Mavericks team, playing equally well on and off the ball. Some may see his mid-to-end of season decline as a big knock against him, especially in the face of the huge surge Trae Young had, but his veteran play (and ridiculous buzzer beater to defeat the Portland Trailblazers) cannot be surpassed.
Tom Ballhausen – Mike Budenholzer
When you compare the Bucks’ roster this season to their roster last season, the only major difference was the addition of Brook Lopez. Tactically, however, the Bucks this year were incredible. The unprecedented use of Lopez as a 7-foot spot up shooter was one of the best coaching decisions of anyone in the league.
Of course having the MVP (in my opinion) on your roster doesn’t hurt, but the leap the Bucks took this year after Budenholzer took over from the sub-par Jason Kidd was no fluke. If it had not been for a super-human effort from Kawhi in the ECF, it would have resulted in a championship.
Harry Rutner – Mike Budenholzer
The Bucks had the best record in the NBA 60-22, improving from 44-38 and went to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2001. Of course Giannis is also very much to thank for their incredible season but the complete change of offensive and defensive regime set up by Mike showed how he was ready to take the Bucks in the right direction to come 1st in the East and real title contenders.
Tomas Kuru – Doc Rivers
Doc has done it again. From leading the west in wins for a good part of last year, to stealing two home games from the mighty Warriors in the playoffs, Doc Rivers has proven that you don’t need an All Star team to have success in the NBA.
Louis Hood – Doc Rivers
If you asked 100 people before the season started which Los Angeles team will make the playoffs this year, 99 would have said the Lakers. The other 1 would have been a diehard Clippers fan desperate for some sort of miracle. However, Doc Rivers constructed something out of virtually nothing: an aging Lou Williams, a non-shooting power forward in Montrezl Harrell and a constantly injured Danillo Gallinari. Mid-season the clippers also traded away their best player (Tobias Harris), his monster sidekick/bodyguard (Boban Marjanovic) and Mike Scott for roleplayers Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala as well as a young guard named Landry Shamet, who decided to go beast mode post trade. Doc can only be applauded for making all of these seemingly random pieces work so well that they made the playoffs in a tightly contested Eastern Conference.
Tomas Kuru – Lou Williams
Okay Lou, are you even a 6th man anymore? He plays and scores more than most of the Clippers starters, it seems like he only comes off the bench so he can win 6th man every year.
Harry Rutner – Lou Williams
Another repeater, Sweet Lou is ready for his third 6th man of the year award and second in a row. While the race is tight between Lou and his fellow bench player Montrez Harrell, Lou is the clear winner. 20 points per game, 5.4 assists and nearly one steal per game, Lou was the spark off the Clippers bench that won them a fair few games. He was their go to scorer in the fourth and was their most clutch shooter (sorry Gallinari).
Louis Hood – Lou Williams
The biggest All-Star snub of the year coming from a guy off the bench, this award needs to have a non-Lou Williams division to make it fair to the rest of the NBA. Nothing more to say, Sweet Lou gets buckets.
Tomas Kuru – Paul George
Despite falling apart at the end a little bit, Paul George had a magnificent defensive season. It was almost guaranteed that twice a game he was going to come out of nowhere to deflect a casual pass and dunk it on the other end before anyone knew what happened.
Harry Rutner – Rudy Gobert
This is a year of two timers and Rudy Gobert is no exception to this rule. He may not have the most blocks last season (second only to Myles Turner) BUT the amount of shots that he effects, the amount of switches he can defend and general presence in the paint, reminds us of the true force that is Rudy Gobert. He wins DPOY for sure.
Louis Hood – Draymond Green
Say what you want about Draymond Green (he flops, kicks and looks like Donkey from the Shrek movies); he is undeniably one of the most feared defenders in today’s NBA. Not many players can defend the 7’3 Kristaps Porzingis and then play on nearly guard switching the pick and roll. His defensive numbers have taken a slight dip this year (having a 6’11 Kevin Durant denying the ball from the wing does help) but you can’t look over the combination of defensive tenacity and basketball IQ.