Shane Young’s 2016–17 NBA Awards

Below are all of my 2016–17 NBA regular season awards. Due to limited timing (I’m finishing my final college semester and it’s making life extremely hard), there aren’t explanations or details for anything except MVP.

It actually helps that the league won’t announce the awards until June 26, in New York City. Because of this, I will dive into each section during the first round of the playoffs, which begins on Saturday, April 15.

For those that know me, you’re aware of how thorough and exhaustive I like to be when writing about huge topics like this. Feel free to tweet me (YoungNBA) if there’s anything you need a quick explanation for. Other than that, expect each award to have its own piece/section with each player discussed. Soon.

My head aches after making these tough choices. But, everyone’s ballot will be different. It’s been a tremendous season, and thank you so much for following my work!

The winners….

Defensive Player of the Year

Scott Strazzante, The Chronicle
  1. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

2. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

3. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Rookie of the Year

  1. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks

2. Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers

3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

4. Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings/ New Orleans Pelicans

Coach of the Year

David Santiago
  1. Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

2. Mike D’Antoni, Houston Rockets

3. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs

4. Scott Brooks, Washington Wizards

5. Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Most Improved Player of the Year

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

2. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

3. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks

4. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

5. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

Sixth Man of the Year

  1. Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors

2. Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets

3. Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City Thunder

4. Lou Williams, Houston Rockets/Los Angeles Lakers

Executive of the Year

  1. Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets
  2. Bob Myers, Golden State Warriors
  3. Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors

Most Valuable Player

1. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

A little over two weeks ago, I wrote the most in-depth MVP column you’ll see. Kawhi’s case really hasn’t changed since then. You can find it here. Numbers are a bit outdated, but still relatively the same.

2. James Harden, Houston Rockets

I’ll find time to write all about Harden’s extraordinary case later — during the first round when he’s facing the next player on this list — but there’s really only one thing you need to know.

Harden has generated 2,329 points from his individual scoring. He has also generated 2,172 points from his assists to teammates. That’s 4,501 points created by one singular force, and he’s doing it with a true shooting percentage greater than his 2014–15 season, which was MVP worthy itself. If it doesn’t go to the best player on one the West’s top two teams (Leonard), it just has to go to Harden. 99 years out of 100, Harden wins this. He may be the most unlucky player in history when it comes to this.

3. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

This kills me, and I really hate myself for having this man third. I’ve fought my brain over a hundred times trying to decide what to do with this MVP race. I can’t justify putting Harden third, when he’s producing the most points in NBA history for a third-seeded West unit. I can’t justify putting Leonard third, when he’s the best perimeter defender (maybe in history) and also shooting over 60 percent in true shooting percentage.

The order of these three above will be mixed among the actual voters, and nobody should be angry at any combination. We had three MVPs this season. That’s good for the NBA, and that is something we can all agree on.

4. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

His offensive outpour during the Warriors’ 14-game winning streak (marginally) elevated him above LeBron, for me. Combine that with the fact that Cleveland and Boston are going to have the worst regular season point-differentials of any Eastern Conference top seeds since most of us have been alive, and Curry gets the nod.

Curry is also a +988 in plus-minus for the entire season, a full 505 points ahead of James. Yes, that’s incredibly basic and it’s (also) because the Warriors have a better defensive team around Curry. But, a lot of folks overlook the impact Steph has just by stepping on the court. He gives opponents a nervous breakdown in transition, and elevates the abilities of his teammates by creating space.

Curry is having one of the most efficient seasons in history when considering all three areas of the court, and has the second-highest Offensive Real Plus-Minus in the league — behind Westbrook. He deserves it.

5. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

If James cared about regular season accolades, he would be no lower than second in MVP every year. He maintained the third-highest effective field goal percentage of his career, his usage rating hasn’t dropped below 30 percent (meaning he’s still doing A LOT, even with Irving’s wild scoring), and this is his second-highest assist percentage of his 14 seasons.

The fact that all five of these future hall-of-famers have an argument is what makes me admire basketball. It gets better every single year. Next year, watch out for John Wall and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

All-NBA 1st Team

G — Russell Westbrook

G — James Harden

F — Kawhi Leonard

F — LeBron James

C — Rudy Gobert

All-NBA 2nd Team

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

G — Stephen Curry

G — John Wall

F — Kevin Durant

F — Draymond Green

C — Karl Towns

All-NBA 3rd Team

G — Chris Paul

G — Isaiah Thomas

F — Jimmy Butler

F — Giannis Antetokounmpo

C — Anthony Davis

All-Defensive 1st Team

G — Chris Paul

G — Danny Green

F — Kawhi Leonard

F — Draymond Green

C — Rudy Gobert

All-Defensive 2nd Team

G — Patrick Beverley

G — Tony Allen

F —Andre Roberson

F — Paul Millsap

C — Dewayne Dedmon

All-Rookie 1st Team:

G — Malcolm Brogdon

G — Buddy Hield

F — Dario Saric

F — Willy Hernangomez

C — Joel Embiid

All-Rookie 2nd Team:

G — Jamal Murray

G — Rodney McGruder

F — Jaylen Brown

F — Marquese Chriss

C — Thon Maker

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