This year marks the first time that the NBA will have the Basketball Players Awards, a set of awards voted on not by media members, but rather by the players who are on the court with the guys they’re voting for. It’s a great idea, as all fans should want to know what players think of the guys they’re up against night after night. Even though these are supposed to be awards that only players can have an intelligent opinion about, I’ve taken a stab at laying out my picks for all ten categories below.
Most Valuable Player
I’m not necessarily a believer that the best player on the best team should be MVP, but it just so happens that’s the case this year. The things he’s done on the court this season, the way he changes what defenses have to do, and the way the Warriors have thrived because of it all mean that he should be MVP.
In case you need a reminder of what this guy does with the ball:
It’s interesting that this is called “Best” Rookie instead of Rookie of the Year. That changes my pick a bit. I’d say that Andrew Wiggins had a better year, but Mirotic is a better player at this point, thus making him the best rookie. His numbers aren’t as good, but he hasn’t played nearly the minutes that Wiggins has all season, and he’s never had to shoulder the scoring load in the same way. Close race, but Niko would get my vote.
Man of the Year
This is one of a few awards that I’m not 100% what it means, but assuming this is some combination of best player and who has been doing the most for the game off the court, I’m going with Paul. This is a tumultuous time for the league, so it makes sense that the NBPA president would get the nod. Plus, he’s still a damn good player on both ends of the court.
This is the award I’m most excited to see what the players vote on. We writers can argue all we want about Green, vs Kawhi vs Deandre, but it doesn’t matter because none of us have actually been guarded by these guys. I get stuffed by high schoolers in downtown Chicago. I can’t imagine what even a James Harden could do to me. But I can imagine that no one likes going up against Green this year.
Global Impact Player
I have absolutely no idea what this award actually is. My Gasol pick is based on the assumption that it’s the best international player, but that could also mean that Dirk gets a lifer pick. If it has something to do with spreading the game worldwide, then I’m not sure. Maybe Stephon Marbury?
Hardest To Guard
This award could go many ways, but the things Damian Lillard has done over the past couple of seasons give him the edge for me. At this point, he’s the guy I want bringing the ball up the court down by two with 10 seconds to go. Still, this could go to any of a dozen players and I wouldn’t be surprised.
Coach You Would Want to Play For
So many of his former and current players love Doc, plus he’s well-respected throughout the league. His biggest beef with a player has been with Draymond Green, and even that wasn’t much of anything. Players are all about Doc, and a lot of the league has played for him.
Best Home Court Advantage
The Oracle – Golden State Warriors
Had the Raptors not been so thoroughly trounced in the first round, I would have given Toronto a bit more consideration, but this season alone, the Roaracle has been deafening as ever. Monty Williams has even complained that it’s too loud. That’s an opposing coach actually complaining about the legality of the noise levels. No contest.
Player You Secretly Wish Was on Your Team
I really enjoy that “Secretly” was included in this title. It makes it seem like the players have some secret crush that they’ve been writing on their notebook for weeks, just hoping this guy would come play. It’s got to be someone unselfish, someone good at basketball, and in my opinion, someone who doesn’t bring in a lot of distractions. That’s why I’m going to go with Chris Paul yet again. Paul knows how to deal with the media, he knows how to facilitate, and he knows how to get a team into the playoffs, even if there hasn’t been much after that.