Did you guys know KIA is the official car of the NBA? Thank God I had the letters K-I-A crammed into my ear drums every five minutes or my poor cranium may have forgotten the most valuable characteristic of the L.
Drake only changed his blazer 57 times and did a mostly decent job hosting the NBA’s latest product, spitting out a couple of video skits and a few shaky live exchanges with players and the TNT crew.
Forget about the event itself though and it’s heinous timing compared to the season as a whole, here are my thoughts on the major winners from the first annual NBA Awards Show.
Fan Awards? Na I think we’re good leaving that mess up to the experts
Victor Oladipo deserves a year’s supply of daps for the double pump homicide he unleashed on Dwight Howard. However, the tasty plum jam he rocked on D’s dome pales in comparison to what LaVine and Nance Jr. pulled off respectively. Would’ve been happy for either to win for their point blank, front on poster joints that sent crowds and their popcorn reeling.
Best Suit: James Harden
Thrift shop cut with an understated chain trio finish. The look doesn’t take itself too seriously, a good pairing to the scruffy beard bellowing from the Houston guard’s cheeks and chin.
Rookie of the Year: Malcolm Brogdon
It’s rare that the third option on my own personal list feels so deserved as a winner. The young Buck showcased a polished product on both sides of the floor in his first year, filling it up from everywhere and playing gritty defence for a feisty Bucks second unit. This well-rounded effort, alongside a welcomed chemistry with fellow rook Thon Maker pushed Brogdon into the starting line-up for a few decent stretches to end the season. He also dunked on LeBron so, there’s that.
Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon
The elite sharpshooter’s biggest competition was the man next to him on the court, draped in the very same rocket red and the man seated at the next table over on the night, Lou Williams. An interesting wrinkle for the regular season surfaced when the two front runners came to share the same bench. Both unmatched for their instant offence, Gordon likely edged out his teammate from long range, finishing in the top five for 3 pointers made this season.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Bill Russell
“I would kick your ass.”
Few words from one of the greatest players and men to have ever graced the Association’s hardwood. Just a finger pointed at a line-up of ancient giants and a playful warning, reminding us of the competitive fire we’ve long been told about throughout the history of the NBA.
Nice to see some effort from the NBA to make up for those awkward podium snubs, snatching the Finals MVP trophy and shooing him to the side. The Celtics great was recognised for his impact both on the court and off with a standing ovation from the NBA community in attendance. A role model for his teammates and his country whose character was naturally drawn to becoming something bigger than himself.
Most Improved: Giannis Antetokounmpo
No surprises here. The Greek Freak lived up to his nickname this year, lunging along the fast-break at a record breaking two steps per court. Crushing it over silly defenders who actually considered jumping across his flight path, what’s most frightening is the fact that this cat is only 22 years young. Jokic and Gobert were well deserved finalists but when you take Kevin Durant’s frame and slap on a pair of Dwight Howard’s shoulders, shake that joint up with some Westbrook-esque thirst for blood, you have the best bet on a future MVP.
Coach of the Year: Mike D’Antoni
If Gregg Popovich deserves to win this award every year then LeBron James would be sitting on twice the amount of MVPs. There was a vibe floating about the League before opening night that a D’Antoni-Harden courtship would spell certain defensive disaster. The long-time offensive trendsetter proved this to be just a passing bad smell and transformed James Harden into a point scoring/dishing juggernaut. No one, and I mean no one, really believed Harden could average 11 assists a game.
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green
Draymond Green is a prick on the court. He’s the scrappy jerk you love if he’s rocking your team’s colours, making every hustle play imaginable and just being a pest. The amount of mistakes he’s erased for his teammates is outrageous and his instincts on D, particularly when outnumbered on the break are unmatched. A refreshing change from using his sneakers to pulverise opposing testicles, he is an unafraid freak of nature, fuelled by a volatile passion to win at all costs.
Sager Strong Award: Monty Williams
Another standing ovation welcomed in a fresh tradition inspired by someone so full of life despite the odds. An ever articulate Ernie Johnson delivered a beautiful intro for a thoughtful tribute to Monty Williams who lost his beloved wife Ingrid Williams to a tragic car accident last year.
A composed Monty stood tall and thanked God in light of his situation and absorbed it whole heartedly on the back of overwhelming support from friends, family and the wider community. Monty wore the outrageous coloured blazer with pride and spoke of true empathy and compassion in light of his family’s situation. A genuinely moving moment that was a highlight of the night.
Most Valuable Player: Russell Westbrook
Much in the way it felt as though the Golden State Warriors broke the playoffs, so too did the Thunder’s nuclear point guard violate the regular season. Not quite in the same manner of stacking W’s, but by filling up the stat-sheet with ludicrous numbers, doing things thought near impossible in the modern era.
Sure Brodie was stat padding left and right, but that only gets you so far. He obliterated the opposition with unrivalled athleticism and a fiery passion last seen in a much younger Kobe Bryant, acting out after the post-Shaq breakup.
An emotional Westbrook couldn’t help but ditch the retro specs as he broke down, thanking his family for their unconditional support throughout his journey to becoming the league’s newest MVP. Here’s to more screwed up facials after melting half the rim, spitting trash at former OKC buddies and game breaking buzzer beaters from the bleachers.