During the end of an NBA Season, the finalists for the season’s awards are released. Every year this occurs, there’s always a fan base, player or analysts that believe that someone was snubbed. Especially with new talent coming in every year, it’s hard to gain recognition in a league full of ballers. Here’s a list of players who were subbed this year:
MVP: SG Luka Doncic- Dallas Mavericks
Finalists: James Harden, Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Many players such as Chris Paul and Anthony Davis should be in the running as well. However, the biggest snub for MVP this year was Luka Doncic. The 2019 Rookie of the year exceeded many expectations coming into the season. Doncic became a first-time All-Star this year and was selected as a starter as well. Although he was snubbed from the MVP conversation, he still became a Most Improved Player finalist. Doncic’s stat line has improved in every category from last year, especially in the scoring department (29.1 PPG).
This two-year player has made the Mavericks actual playoff contenders this season. The last time the Mavs made it to the playoffs was in 2015 when they lost in the first round. With the duo of Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, it will be interesting to see how far they will go in the playoff this year. Be on the lookout for Doncic to be in the MVP conversation for years to come.
Best Game this Season (So Far): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcsFoublH24
DPOY: PG Ben Simmons- Philadelphia 76ers
Finalists: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis
It has been a long time since a point guard has won the Defensive Player Of the Year. The last time it was won by a point guard was in 1996 by Gary Payton. Although the 24-year drought will not end this year, Ben Simmons could definitely become the guy to end this soon.
Even before Simmons entered the league, he was known for prowess on defense. The 6-foot-10 guard has a couple of inches on other players at his position which helps.
His height and wingspan gives him the ability to guard any position on the floor. Some nights he can guard athletic forwards like LeBron James or even quick guards like Russell Westbrook. This year he led the league with 2.1 steals a game, which is his career-high. Simmons is only 24 and his game is still evolving on both sides of the ball. Although he will probably make the all-defensive team this season, the DPOY is not far out of reach for him.
Best Game this Season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QJrrIMZam4
ROY: PF Rui Hachimura- Washington Wizards
Finalists: Ja Morant, Kendrick Nunn, Zion Williamson
Hachimura had a solid rookie season. The ninth pick in the draft is averaging 13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and shooting pretty efficiently at 47 percent. He is also top five in these stat lines among rookies, along with efficiency as well. He’s been a solid piece for the Wizards this year playing alongside superstar Bradley Beal. Beal, along with a young roster was able to make it to the NBA Bubble.
This is a good sign that these young guys such as Hachimura are playing good enough for a playoff spot. However, it’s pretty clear that Washington will not make it to the playoffs this year. Next year could be a different story. With the return of John Wall, the Wizards will be more efficient on the offensive side of the ball. Hachimura’s sophomore year could be his coming out party depending on the team’s play next year.
Best Game this Season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaJ3EnOwoyk
MIP: SG Devonte’ Graham- Charlotte Hornets
Finalists- Luka Doncic, Brandon Ingram, Bam Adebayo
Out of all award categories, this has to be the biggest snub of them all. Devonte’ Graham had an amazing season this year that no one expected from him. He improved in every statistical category this year, especially in points and three-point percentage. The former second-rounder even became the Hornets’ best player this season, leading the team in assists and points(18.2 ppg & 7.5 ast). NBA players went into an uproar when it was clear that Graham didn’t become a finalist for this award. Here are some of their opinions shown in an Instagram post:
From role player to starter, Graham has solidified himself as a solid player in the NBA. Along with Terry Rozier, the Hornets may have a solid backcourt they can build around for the future. Charlotte didn’t have a great year, but they will look forward to next season to see where they stand. Charlotte fans will look forward to the future of their team with Graham at the helm.
Best Game this Season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brrOjfXsM8I
Sixth Man: PF Davis Bertans- Washington Wizards
Finalists- Lou Williams Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroeder
This is probably the deepest award nomination this year. Players such as Goran Dragic and Terrence Ross couldn’t crack the finalists due to the competition. Davis Bertans is another name that should’ve been considered as a finalist.
Bertans has played the best season in his four-year career so far. The Latvian native averaged a career-high in every statline, scoring 15.4 points per game while coming off the bench.
It is debatable that Bertans should’ve been in the running for MIP as well. With his play alongside Bradley Beal, the Wizards were able to get a chance for a playoff spot. Although they were eliminated this year, the Wizards will definitely need Bertans next year for a playoff berth. His three-point shooting will definitely be an asset to the team depending on his role in the rotation (42.4% 3pt).
Best Game this Season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EloSGRx2X7E
Coach of the Year: Nate McMillan- Indiana Pacers
Finalists- Mike Budenholzer, Nick Nurse, Billy Donovan
The NBA got it right this year for finalists on coach of the year. These three coaches did great this year, but I believe Nate McMillan should’ve replaced Budenholzer. The Bucks have a talented roster, along with the reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Everybody expected Milwaukee to be in the top of the standings this year.
However, the expectations of the Pacers were in the air at the start of the season. They were still without their best player, Victor Oladipo, due to a right knee injury. Many wondered if the Pacers would even make it to the playoffs or contend this year without him. However, McMillan and his team defied the odds. With players such as Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis (All Star) leading the way, the pacers are currently fifth in the east.
Therefore, McMillan has been able to put his team in the best spot possible. McMillan will have some work to do when the playoffs are in motion. Indiana could have another first round exit or could make a run this year. Only time will tell.
Best Game this Season (As a Team): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agmeVQKquKY