The 2018 NBA Awards ceremony was as eventful as ever. Not only were the regular season awards for Most Valuable Player (MVP), Rookie of the Year (ROY), and other designations handed out, but Bill Russell gave Charles Barkley the finger and Victor Oladipo showed off his beautiful pipes after winning Most Improved Player of the Year.
Aside from the antics by some of the NBA’s best, the awards given out were quite engrossing. NBA Panelists had some tough decisions to make as there were close contenders in most categories.
This article is going to cover the various reasons why the players who won MVP and ROY deserve them, and why others believe that someone else should have brought home the illusive hardware.
MVP: James Harden
James Harden had an outstanding year for the Houston Rockets, leading them to the Western Conference Finals and taking the Golden State Warriors to 7 games. Of course, the beard was cooking for the regular season too, averaging 8.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 30.4 points on 44.9 % from the field.
The most impressive thing about Harden’s game is his isolation playmaking on offense. Harden averages more points per game in isolation than any other team in the NBA. Just watching the beard’s thick frame dipping and dodging through the lane or breaking an ankle for a step back 3 is a sight, to say the least. His entertaining style of play and his team clinching the first seed in the Western Conference were the reasons why Harden was named this year’s MVP.
In the opposite conference, LeBron James added to his legacy with another stellar season. His team was horrible and he carried them all of the regular seasons and in the playoffs. James Harden took the Warriors to seven games, but LeBron bringing the ragtag Cavaliers roster to the finals (even in the lowly East) could be considered one of LeBron’s greatest achievements.
Aside from the postseason though, some argue that LeBron had the best year of his career. With season averages of 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.1 assists, LeBron was a triple-double machine.
It is the guy’s 15th season which is why analysts continue the notion, “he ages like fine wine.” This year’s MVP decision was another installment of LeBron James can’t win the MVP award every year.
He has not won in a while though… Will LeBron win another MVP trophy?
Sidenote: Anthony Davis had a great year, but he was never going to win the MVP trophy this year. Look out for the brow to take home some hardware in the near future.
Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons
Whether or not Ben Simmons qualifies for this award is not going to be discussed in this article.
Can we just enjoy the Prince’s body of work this year and forget about the whole rookie or not conversation?
The Prince had a great year, to say the least. He led the 76ers to a massive win streak to end the season and made phenomenal passes as a 6’10” PG. Simmons averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists.
If he develops a decent outside shot then watch out. Lebron didn’t get the MVP trophy, but min-LeBron won ROY.
There are also reports that Simmons cheated on Tinashe with Kendall Jenner. This guy is a bad-ass.
Donovan Mitchell was electrifying for a Jazz team that was poised to take a step back this season. He carried them to the third seed in the West averaging 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.
A clear comparison to Dwyane Wade, Mitchell would have taken home the ROY award if the postseason was considered in the decision. He led his team past the Thunder and challenged the MVP in the second round. He also trolled Simmons with what the definition of a rookie really is.
Don’t forget about Jayson Tatum who had a sensational year with the Celtics. He was not as involved in the race for ROY simply because he was not in a stat-inflating position. The Celtics have enough talent that Tatum didn’t have to do anything crazy to help the team win. He is a team player, and it would be interesting to see him play as the lone star on a team.
Every year the NBA Awards are crowded by controversy and opinionated sports analysts who half the time don’t know what they are talking about (like me). But, it is important to enjoy great basketball, so regardless of if who you thought should have won actually did or not, let’s congratulate the players who did and look forward to the crazy trades set to happen this summer.
Who knows what will happen at the next NBA Awards ceremony- maybe Javale McGee will win sixth man of the year for the Warriors.