The NBA handed out their awards Monday night. And for the first time ever, the NBA revealed the winners during an awards show in New York.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was one of the three finalists for the Coach of the Year award, but he did not take home the honor. Heat center Hassan Whiteside also came up short as Spurs star Kawhi Leonard beat him out for the Dunk of the Year fan favorite award.
Here are some other notable Heat tidbits from the awards show: Forward Udonis Haslem placed third in the voting for the Teammate of the Year award behind Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler; and guard Rodney McGruder received one third-place vote for the Rookie of the Year award.
Here’s a rundown of all the awards given out Monday night …
Here are the winners of the six major media-voted NBA awards …
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
Why did he win?: Have you looked at his stats? Westbrook became just the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season. Oscar Robertson is the only other player to accomplish that feat, when he did it for the Cincinnati Royals in the 1961-62 season. The 6-foot-3 Westbrook averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists in 81 games in his first season without Kevin Durant by his side in Oklahoma City. This historic season was good enough to push the Thunder into the playoffs as the Western Conference’s No. 6 seed, but their season ended in the first round against a deeper Rockets team.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee
Why did he win?: There’s no question that Philadelphia center Joel Embiid had the best and most impressive rookie season, but injuries limited him to just 31 games. That just wasn’t a big enough sample size for Embiid to win the award. Instead, the honor went to Brogdon. The Bucks guard averaged 10.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 75 games for a playoff team. And Brogdon was efficient, shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from 3-point range.
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR: Eric Gordon, Houston
Why did he win?: Gordon helped power one of the NBA’s top offenses. He averaged 16.2 points in 75 games, and came off the bench in 60 of those games. But the most impressive part of Gordon’s season was his 3-point shooting. He shot 37.2 percent from long range while attempting 8.8 3-point shots per game. Gordon was one of the big reasons the Rockets ranked fifth in the NBA with 39.0 bench points per game.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Mike D’Antoni, Houston
Why did he win?: You could make a good argument that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra deserved this award, but D’Antoni is also pretty deserving. That’s probably why they were co-winners of the inaugural Michael H. Goldberg National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year award. But the NBA’s award went to D’Antoni, who led the Rockets to a 55-27 record. Houston entered the playoffs as the Western Conference’s No. 3 seed and made it to the second round of the playoffs. It was a big improvement from the Rockets’ 41-41 record in the previous season.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee
Why did he win?: Antetokounmpo turned into one of the NBA’s real stars this season. He averaged a career-high in points (22.9), rebounds (8.8), assists (5.4), steals (1.6) and blocks (1.9). And the most important thing is the 22-year-old did it on a winning team. Antetokounmpo starred on a Bucks team that advanced to the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. Add all that up and not only do you have the most improved player in the NBA, but you also have one of the league’s top players.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Draymond Green, Golden State
Why did he win?: After coming up short the past two seasons, one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA was finally recognized as the league’s best defensive player. Among players who appeared in at least 40 games and defended at least 13 shots per game this season, Green ranked first in the NBA with an opponent field-goal percentage of 40 percent. With a lot of help from Green, Golden State finished the regular season with the league’s second-best defensive rating behind just the Spurs.
Here are the winners of the other NBA awards handed out …
TEAMMATE OF THE YEAR: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
CARES COMMUNITY ASSIST AWARD: Isaiah Thomas, Boston
SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: Kemba Walker, Charlotte
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: Bob Myers, Golden State
Here are the winners of the fan favorite awards handed out …
ASSIST OF THE YEAR: Golden State’s Draymond Green to Stephen Curry to Kevin Durant
BLOCK OF THE YEAR: San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard vs. Houston
DUNK OF THE YEAR: Oklahoma City’s Victor Oladipo vs. Atlanta
GAME WINNER OF THE YEAR: Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook vs. Denver
TOP PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR: Golden State’s Klay Thompson scores 60 in three quarters vs. Indiana
BEST PLAYOFF MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Golden State’s Kevin Durant makes 3-pointer over LeBron James in the NBA Finals