NBA awards released in the bubble
It’s hard to believe that the NBA season tipped off about 11 months ago. However, the league has finally started to announce the 2019-20 season awards. All of the main awards have been handed out beside the Most Valuable Player award.
Coach of the Year:
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse won the Coach of the Year award over Mike Budenholzer and Billy Donovan. Toronto finished with the second-best record in the league, as Nurse did a tremendous job after the departure of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. The Raptors also battled injuries all season long, making their record even more impressive.
Rookie of the Year:
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant took home the Rookie of the Year award, beating Kendrick Nunn and Zion Williamson. Morant led all qualified rookies in scoring (17.6ppg) and assists (6.0apg) while shooting 49.1 percent from the field. He was also one of three players to average at least 17.0 points, 6.0 assists and shot 49.0 percent or better from the field, joining Lebron James and Nikola Jokic. The impressive part is how Morant led his team. The Grizzlies were picked to be one of if not the worst team in the Western Conference. However, Morant had the Grizzlies in contention for a playoff spot until their very last game.
Sixth Man of the Year:
Los Angeles Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell edged out Dennis Schroder and teammate Lou Williams to win the Sixth Man of the Year award. Harrell averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 27.8 minutes per game. He ranked second in the league in scoring off the bench and fifth in rebounding.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Defensive Player of the Year award over Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert. Antetokounmpo was the anchor for the Bucks league-best defense. With Giannis on the floor, Milwaukee allowed only 96.5 points per 100 possessions, the lowest defensive rating among the more than 300 players who averaged at least 15.0 minutes per game. Antetokounmpo also held his matchups to 36.5 percent shooting from the field, the lowest percentage among the more than 250 players who faced at least 300 shots.
Most Improved Player:
New Orleans Pelicans all-star Brandon Ingram took home the Most Improved Player award, winning over Bam Adebayo and Luka Doncic. Ingram had a breakout season, finally realizing his potential that so many around the league saw in him. He averaged 24.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He was also one of seven players to average at least 24.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Ingram also made 137 3-pointers, which is more than he made in his first three seasons combined (127).