The NBA used to just randomly issue a press release, announcing one award at a time. Boring. This year, the NBA has shuffled their offseason schedule in order to try and drum up interest in these awards. And just generally make it more exciting.
How do you make a fanbase care more about the annual Awards that are handed out? Throw a fancy party!
This year, they’ve reformed the process into something of an Oscars night. Hosted by Drake (of course) and airing Monday, June 26 on TNT. As part of the build up to the announcement, they’ve narrowed the field down to three finalists for each award:
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS:— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) May 19, 2017
We already knew these guys were in the conversation, but it sure is nice to see Andre Iguodala formally recognized. While Draymond Green seems like something of a shoe-in for the Defensive Player of the year, it really makes me happy to see Iguodala up there in that list of finalists.
He’s probably the first guy to tell you that he doesn’t want the award. Doesn’t care about it. Wouldn’t need it.
But it sure as hell would be an important symbolic recognition of how much he has sacrificed to make this team work. Coach Steve Kerr knew it was a big ask when he requested that Andre move to the bench in order to support the “second unit.” Knowing that it would relegate him to lesser fame and likely hurt his career stats, he went for it.
Remember that Iguodala didn’t deny it, this was something he specifically had to overcome. "Guys are wired like that from a young age," [as per Sam Amick]. "I mean I've been playing basketball since I was five, and you're just so used to just starting the game. Even when you're young, it's 'Starters vs. Scrubs.' That was kind of the (mentality)."
So yeah. Symbolic, but important... Like all symbols.
Oh, and Draymond better get his overdue award this time too or I’ll be outraged!!! But we can talk about that below.
Here are the other award finalists, in case you want to talk about that too:
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER FINALISTS:
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS:
COACH OF THE YEAR FINALISTS:
Erik Spoelstra (what?)