The NBA Awards 2017 results were announced on Monday evening from the first-ever televised awards show for the league. The event was held in New York and shown via the TNT network. Among the prizes that were up for grabs were NBA Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and the highly-anticipated NBA MVP Award. Would it be Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, or Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs taking home the latest MVP honors?
According to ESPN, there was a major surprise when it came to the NBA award handed out for top rookie, or at least for those believing one of the Philadelphia Sixers’ young stars would claim it. Instead of Dario Saric or big man Joel Embiid winning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award, it went to the Milwaukee Bucks’ Malcolm Brogdon. The young Milwaukee star drafted from the University of Virginia averaged 10.2 points, 4.2 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game, as he appeared in 75 games for the Bucks this past season. Brogdon, a 6-foot-6 guard, was also instrumental in helping his team get to the postseason. He becomes just the second player in Bucks’ history to claim the award, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the first.
For the Sixth Man of the Year Award, Houston had two of the finals. Eric Gordon bested his teammate Lou Williams as well as Andre Iguodala of the Warriors. Gordon, a former member of the Clippers and Pelicans, was a major part of the Rockets’ playoff push. The 6-foot-4 guard came off Houston’s bench to score 16.2 points while dishing out 2.5 assists and grabbing 2.7 rebounds per game. Gordon is the first member of the Rockets to claim the Sixth Man award.
The biggest award of the night was, of course, the NBA MVP Award. For months, there had been debates among sports analysts, journalists, and fans as to which player was most deserving. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the season to lead his team to the playoffs after Kevin Durant left in the offseason. James Harden nearly averaged a triple-double as well and put his Rockets into the upper echelon of the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard quietly continued to emerge as one of the league’s top two-way players showing both defensive and offensive skills.
For the past season, Westbrook averaged 31.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds per game. Harden put up 29.1 points, 11.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game as his Rockets snagged the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard had 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. All three players gave strong contributions to their respective teams, but only one could win the NBA MVP. That winner was none other than Westbrook who claimed the MVP honors for the first time in his professional career.
Other award winners for 2017 included the Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker winning the Sportsmanship Award, while Victor Oladipo won the Dunk of the Year honors. “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks picked up the Most Improved Player Award. Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, who has spent 18 years in the league now, took home the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award. Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics claimed the NBA Cares Community Assist Award while the legendary Bill Russell claimed the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]