Pretty Good Sports

2018 NBA Awards Ballot

Meade Considine

Disclaimer: I do not have an official “league office” vote for awards.

1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
2. James Harden, Houston Rockets
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
5. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

I have LeBron over Harden, but it is important to emphasize that it is extremely close. I have zero issue with someone choosing Harden over LeBron, but they would be foolish to say “it isn’t even close.” No matter how you interpret the the award (most valuable, most outstanding, coolest stats): the case against LeBron is that he and the Cavs both had a bad January, but Harden missed 7 games that month. LeBron has not missed a game all season. I won’t drag my explanation too deep into semantics because this should be a quick & fun read. An interesting part about this year’s MVP race is that it’s between two guys who should probably have two more MVP trophies in their trophy case than they currently have: LeBron in ‘08 & ‘11, Harden in ‘15 & ‘17. Harden will win because he is deserving, but if he already had 2 MVPs under his belt I’m certain the conversation surrounding the race would be different.

I had Giannis third because I feel he was playing as well early in the season as Davis has been playing late in the season. KD deserved fifth over Dame because of his defensive contributions and the success his team has been able to have despite injuries.

Defensive Player of the Year:
1. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
2. Al Horford, Boston Celtics
3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Rudy Gobert has been the best defensive player in the league this season by such a large margin that it doesn't even matter to me that he has missed 25 games. Horford is the best, and most valuable, defender on the best defense in the league. For the next five years defensive player of the year will probably come down to who has played more games between Embiid and Gobert.

Rookie of the Year:
1. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
2. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

Simmons’ play for the final few weeks of the season convinced me. Similar to the MVP race, any person who chooses Simmons over Mitchell, or vice versa, then says “and it isn’t even close” is truly misinformed. Everyone knows how fiery this race has been almost all season, I’m just happy that we have two more young, fun superstars. Simmons will definitely win, but if Mitchell had been performing like this for the Lakers or the Knicks… just sayin’.

Sixth Man of the Year:
1. Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
2. Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets
3. Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors
4. Will Barton, Denver Nuggets

Lou Williams is probably one of the best 10 offensive guards in the league. He will be the first player in the league history to lead his team in points and assists off the bench. Lou Will is like the guy in your Fornite squad that lands in Tilted Towers even though everyone else landed at Shift Shafts and he somehow survives with like 6 kills and you’re like “what the fuck.” Eric Gordon has probably been better this year than last year when he won this award, but not as fantastic as Lou Will.

VanVleet deserves mention as the leader of the best bench unit in the NBA, proving that the revamped G League can help groom top NBA talent.

Coach of the Year:
1. Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz
2. Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics
3. Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors

Honorable Mention: Mike D’Antoni, Brett Brown, Gregg Popovich, Nate McMillan, Terry Stotts, Erik Spoelstra. What the hell. Why are there so many good coaches? I’m stressed out just thinking about writing up an explanation for these rankings, fuck this category.

Most Improved Player:
1. Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
2. Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Oladipo has been known around the league for 5 years as a player with legendary work ethic. He has definitely improved his game. But opportunity, again, seems to be the leading factor in who finishes high on the ballot for most improved.

If Giannis has another top five finish on the most improved ballot again next year…

All-NBA First Team:
1. G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
2. G: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
3. F: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
4. F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
5. C: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Lillard could finish anywhere from first team to third team. The guard spots for all-NBA is a complete logjam. Fortunately we can put Davis at center which allows a spot on first team for Giannis or KD, Giannis in my opinion.

All-NBA Second Team:
1. G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
2. G: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
3. F: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
4. F: LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
5. C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

KD, Steph, and Embiid were easy picks for second team. Steph would be first team on my ballot if he had played 15 more games. I don’t think Russ deserves to be punished for winning MVP last year, I think he has added more value to his team than any guard besides Harden this year. Aldridge deserves credit for being the only good player on a Spurs team that was at the 3 spot in the West for most of the season and is right there with the large second tier of Western Conference teams.

All-NBA Third Team:
1. G: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
2. G: Chris Paul, Houston Rockets
3. F: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
4. F: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
5. C: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

DeRozan and PG were easy picks. DeRozan might even sneak onto second team. CP3 barely edged out Oladipo for me, and Joker barely edged out Jimmy Butler. Some other guys who could sneak onto third team: Kyrie, KAT, Capela. A lot of people think CP3 is an easy second team pick. Haha?

All-Defensive First Team:
1. G: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves
2. G: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
3. F: Al Horford, Boston Celtics
4. F: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
5. C: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

I’m cheating as hard as I can. There’s like a million forwards that I want to put on all-defensive teams, and only like one guard. Since Roberson went down I feel like PG has been playing a lot of guard spot when OKC starts with Huestis, so I’m personally making PG eligible as a guard. I do think all-defense is the only category where positions matter, however. I think it’s fair to honor some great defensive guards. So I’ll do that for the second team.

All-Defensive Second Team:
1. G: Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
2. G: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
3. F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
4. F: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
5. C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Honorable mentions: Robert Covington, Dejounte Murray, Jaylen Brown, Klay Thompson, Danny Green, Chris Paul. If everyone would stop shoving Ben Simmons being a point guard down my throat then I could maybe push Covington as a guard since he defends a lot of guards for the Sixers, but alas.

All-Rookie First Team:
1. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
2. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
3. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
4. Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
5. Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers

All-Rookie Second Team:
1. Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
2. John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
3. Dennis Smith, Jr., Dallas Mavericks
4. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings
5. OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors

Honorable Mentions: Josh Jackson, Bam Adebayo. Had to put OG over Josh Jackson for the last spot on second team because of what OG has been able to do relative to efficiency and contributing to winning. Felt Lonzo deserved first team over Kuz for the same reasons.