Two and a half months after the regular season ended, the NBA breaks new ground tonight with the live telecast of its first ever awards show.
Six of those awards were voted on by the media: MVP, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, and Most Improved Player.
In one of the great all-time NBA Finals matchups, King James became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double across a Finals series, while Durant starred on both sides of the floor from Game 1 through Game 5, earning Finals MVP honors.
As a regular season award that does not factor in playoff and championship series performances, Russell Westbrook, who set a league record with 42 triple-doubles in 81 games and averaged a league-leading 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game as the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double, will probably walk away with the 2017 MVP trophy.
Houston’s Mike D’Antoni, Philadelphia’s Dario Saric, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Houston’s Eric Gordon and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo are the favorites for Coach, Rookie, Defensive Player, Sixth Man and Most Improved awards.
The Rockets posted the leagues third-best record at 55-27 under DAntoni, while he is widely credited for unleashing James Harden and designing a system that allowed for a historic season as the Rockets made an NBA record 1,181 3-pointers. They also averaged a ridiculous 115.3 points per game.
Antetokounmpo became just the fifth player in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals, joining LeBron, Kevin Garnett, Scottie Pippen and Dave Cowens. Gordon made the fourth-most 3-pointers (246) this season with 206 made off the bench, the most in a season off the bench in the 3-point era and averaged 16.3 points per game off the bench.
Green led the NBA with a career-high 2.03 steals and was second in defensive real plus-minus (5.03) this season. He was second in defensive win shares (5.4) and second with 3.9 deflections per game. Had he been healthy for the full season, Philly’s Joel Embiid would have bun the runaway Rookie of the Year winner. But due to missing more than half the season, that helps his teammate Saric, who averaged 12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists, leading all rookies with five 20-point, 10-rebound games this season.
Check out Russell Westbrook’s best plays from this season!
The other awards being handed out are the Executive of the Year, which was voted on by league executives, Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year and the NBA Sportsmanship Award , which was voted on by the players, and the NBA Cares Community Assist Award, which was selected by fans and a panel of judges.
Fans also selected the winners for Best Style, Assist of the Year, Block of the Year, Dunk of the Year, Game-Winner of the Year, Performance of the Year, and Best Playoff Moment.
The awards show, hosted by Drake, will be held at Basketball City at Pier 36 in Manhattan tonight, airing live on TNT at 9:00PM EST.
Presenters will include Chadwick Boseman, Nick Cannon, Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Bryshere Y. Gray, Grant Hill, Monica, Dirk Nowitzki, Candace Parker, Paul Pierce, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jussie Smollett, and John Wall. Additional celebrities attending the show include Baron Davis, Hill Harper, Reggie Miller, Von Miller, Isiah Thomas, Chris Tucker and Donnie Wahlberg.
The 2017 NBA Awards on TNT will also feature integrations with the brilliant and hilarious Sports Emmy Award-winning Inside the NBA studio crew of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille ONeal.