LeBron runner-up, Antetokounmpo also wins Defensive Player of the Year
written by: CURT BERRY. staff writer
The NBA Honors came a couple months late this year, but we got them.
First, and most importantly, is the MVP. No surprise here as the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokumpo, took home his second-straight MVP award. The Bucks star averaged nearly 30 points per game (PPG), grabbed an average of 13.6 rebounds, dished out 5.6 assists and led his team to be the no. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
It was a stellar year for Antetokounmpo, but it ended earlier than expected when the Heat shocked the Bucks in the divisional round winning 4-1.
LeBron James, who is currently on the hunt for his fourth NBA championship, was in second place with 25.3 PPG and 10.6 assists per game.
Next up, the Coach of the Year, Nick Nurse took Toronto back to the playoffs for a second seed after losing one of the best players in the league, Kawhi Leonard, to the LA Clippers.
Chances are you’ve heard of Ja Morant, and you know what he is capable of. If not, you will get to know him for years to come. The phenom from Murray State put up 17.8 points per game and 7.3 assists per game.
Morant, the Memphis Grizzlies point guard, earned himself the NBA Rookie of the Year. Zion Williamson was a runner up and finished with 22.5 PPG and 6.3 rebounds.
The reason Williamson didn’t receive the award this year was because of an injury causing him to miss the first half of the season. However, he got a nod for the NBA All-Rookie First Team, along with Brandon Clarke, Kendrick Nunn, Eric Pachall, and Morant.
The next award also goes to the MVP, Antetokounmpo. He won the Defensive Player of the Year with 13.6 boards per game and one block per game.
Let’s give some credit to the Clippers bench here. They must be doing something right, since four of the past five Sixth Man of the Year awards were given to a Clippers player.
Montrezl Harrell earned it this year with 18.6 PPG and 7.1 rebounds. Those are some pretty great numbers coming off the bench, and if it wasn’t for LA’s star studded lineup already, he would be a starter.
Lastly, and my personal favorite, is the NBA Most Improved Player. Brandon Ingram found New Orleans to be a better fit than the LA Lakers, as he takes home this award.
He improved from 18 PPG in 2018 to 2019 to nearly 24 PPG. He also found his groove defensively, as he doubled his steal total from 0.5 to 1 steal per game.
There is a guy we are missing here, and his name is Luka Doncic out of Dallas. He was a runner up for the most improved player, and I thought he should have won it. He put up 28.8 PPG in comparison to his 21.2 ppg last season. He increased his assists from 6.0 to 8.8 and his rebounds from 7.8 to 9.4.
Whether it is banking buzzer beater shots or putting up 40 PPG in the playoffs, Luka had a great season, and fully deserves being awarded the All-NBA First Team. He is on that team with Lebron James, James Harden, Anthony Davis Antetokounmpo.