For the second year in a row, the NBA hosted an awards ceremony to put a bow on the season. Rather than announce the awards over a few days after the regular season ended, as they have done in years prior, the league waited until a champion had been crowned, and then gave out all the awards at one star-studded night.
It’s a bit odd. The awards are for the regular season, which ended well over two months ago. And yet, the awards are still important, and people deserve to be congratulated for them.
The big award was, of course, Most Valuable Player. And to no one’s surprise, James Harden of the Houston Rockets took home the award. It was a much-deserved award for Harden, who finally got the hardware after finishing runner-up twice.
It also marked the completion of the MVP trio for old Oklahoma City Thunder squad, as Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant have now all won the award. Unfortunately for the franchise, Harden won his in a different city, and Westbrook won his after Durant had left.
Speaking of Durant, he took home a very cool award: The NBA Cares Community Assist Award.
Durant spent much of the year working with numerous organizations that he’s involved in, and donated eight figures to help get kids from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to college.
As for the rest of the big awards, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz won Defensive Player of the Year, Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers was voted the rookie of the year, Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers was the Most Improved Player, and Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers earned the nod as the Sixth Man of the Year.
One of the odder moments was Dwane Casey winning Coach of the Year for his work with the Toronto Raptors, while accepting the award as coach of the Detroit Pistons, since the Raptors fired him after the season. That had to feel good for him.
Hopefully the league abandons this format in the future, because it takes a lot of the sparkle out of the awards when they happen this late. Still, it’s a great time to honor some of the most impressive players in the league.