I'm going to take this intro to praise baby wipes. Is it going to be gross? Kind of, but sometimes the real world is plain dirty. I'm fully on-board Team Wipes. Toilet paper just doesn't do it for me, it's so inefficient. With wipes, you get in, you get out, you don't have to worry about dingleberries. I like to stock up on wipes because you never know when it's gonna be a stinky week, but the last few days have been a TP nightmare. I'm just going to say it outright: it feels like my asshole has gone through a woodchipper. It's brutal. Alright, that's all I have for the intro.
This ended up as a recap of the NBA Awards last night even though I didn't watch them because I hate them and I want Adam Silver to bring back April announcements.
The NBA Awards were last night and I refused to watch
Awards in sports, especially MVPs, carry a lot of weight in regard to a player's legacy. Aside from championships, naming the best players is the culmination of what happened throughout the season. It's all in the names: most valuable player; rookie of the year; defensive player of the year; most improved player. Starting in 2017, the NBA decided to announce all of these winners during an awards show that takes place after the Finals. I'm yet to watch the NBA Awards and I'm never going to start. I absolutely hate the idea. I get it, the NBA has become a full-year league and a lot of focus is on the superstardom, outfits, and all the elements that make it the best soap opera on TV and an Oscars-like night makes sense, but by the time it rolls around, nobody cares anymore. Why can't they announce them in April like the good old days? It added another competitive layer to the playoffs when the awards were handed out at the height of the season. Fans seem to be pretty vocal on social media about their disdain for the show so hopefully Adam Silver and other league execs take notice and (hopefully) make some changes. Time to break down the winners.
MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Big time congratulations to Giannis. As many of you know, I was Harden-for-MVP all the way the entire season but I accepted a while ago that Giannis was ultimately going to win the award. Harden probably had the best offensive season of all-time and while he ultimately came up short in the playoffs, I thought he was the best player in the league and was more than deserving of what (arguably) should've been his fourth MVP.
Giannis has the best story in the league. He grew up poor in Greece, starting playing basketball, got drafted fifteenth by the Bucks in 2013 as a virtually unknown project, and bloomed into the MVP we have the pleasure of watching today. I've been lucky enough to go to a ton of Bucks' games over the last few seasons and being able to watch Giannis (and the Bucks) evolve into the player he's become is one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists on 57.8% shooting to go along with a 30.9 PER, an absolutely absurd, MVP-worthy stat-line. And to think he's only 24. Not only that, but he led Milwaukee to the best record in the league (60-22) and if it weren't for a Game 3 loss in 2OT during the Eastern Conference Finals versus Toronto, he could've been well on his way to his first championship and Finals MVP. I'm looking up at the Giannis jersey hanging on my wall right now and I can't help but feel elated for him. He earned it and I'm excited to see where he goes from here. I think he's already an all-timer.
Watch his speech. It's incredible.
Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
I'm going to make the rest of these pretty brief because it's the Minute and I like to keep them somewhat short. This made a ton of sense. Trae Young had a great first season for the Hawks in which he proved a lot of people, including myself, wrong about what he'd be able to do at the NBA-level. I said yesterday that I think he could win an MVP one day; I just have that feeling. Luka was the most complete rookie and while he struggled at certain points, that's to be expected for a rookie, especially one that's younger than me. He put up 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and six assists per game on almost 43% shooting, and was almost an All-Star in doing so (he was reportedly set to be AD's fill-in). The future is very bright for Luka and the Mavs, especially with Kristaps Porzingis entering the lineup next here. Who knows, maybe the Mavs will be able to get a somewhat big name to complement them.
Most Improved Player: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Another beyond-deserving recipient. Siakam has had a great story when it comes to the path he took to become a champion so it's awesome to see him get recognized for his dedication to the game. DLo was another great candidate, but Siakam ultimately was the one who should've been named MIP. The Raptors made the last step they needed this season to finally make it the the promised land, and while a lot of that can be attributed to Kawhi Leonard, Siakam stepping up to become the third star alongside Kawhi and Lowry was absolutely crucial in them taking home the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Oh man, not again... Rudy went back-to-back with DPOY. There's not much for me to say here that hasn't already been said, but Rudy is definitely the best defensive big man in the game. The Jazz have been a great defensive team the last few seasons and with the addition of Mike Coley, their offense is only going to improve so this upcoming season should be an exciting one for Jazz fans. They have a Big Three now and are fairly complete on both ends of the floor, can they be considered legit contenders?
Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks
This one's going to be super brief, too. Coach Bud came into Milwaukee after a great tenure in Atlanta that was also marked by a COTY victory (2015) and completely revitalized the team. Under Jason Kidd and Joe Prunty, the Bucks were a playoff team but could never take the next step due to their stagnant offense and inadequate coaching. By bringing in Bud, he made them one of the most fun teams to watch and turned the offense on its head, leading to the aforementioned NBA-best 60 wins. If Milwaukee can keep their core intact and continue to push for championships, I can see Bud and Giannis taking home a few more of their respective awards.