The end-of-season awards include the best talent and players in the NBA. Most of the awards are a tight race between one or two players who would win the prestigious achievement. It adds excitement within the NBA community because many of the winners are hard to predict. Here are the finalists and winners for the NBA end-of-season awards.
Most Valuable Player of the Year
The finalists for the Most Valuable Player award are Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, and Nikola Jokic.
Stephen Curry has been unreal this season. He led the league in scoring and points per game with 32.0, which is a career-best. Also, he is one of the most valuable players in the league because the Warriors would not be close to a playoff team without him. He won the scoring title this year and continued to show why he is the best three-point shooter in the league.
Joel Embiid has truly elevated his game this season averaging 28.5 points per game. Also, he has carried the Philadelphia 76ers, along with Ben Simmons, to the best record in the Eastern Conference. His offense, scoring ability, rebounds, and defense have all been exceptional and he has had a career year for the 76ers.
The last finalist for the Most Valuable Player Award is Nikola Jokic. Jokic does it all for the Denver Nuggets from passing, scoring, rebounding, and defense. Also, he averaged nearly a triple-double this season, and Jokic continues to show why the league has transformed away from the traditional center.
Winner: Nikola Jokic
Defensive Player of the Year
The finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award are Draymond Green, Ben Simmons, and Rudy Gobert.
Draymond Green is one of the best defensive players in the league. Not only is he exceptional at guarding his own man, but he facilitates the defense in-game as a coach on the court. Furthermore, Green averaged 1.7 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. His defense is elite, as he can shut down any player on the court.
Ben Simmons is another finalist for Defensive Player of the Year as he can guard anyone on the court as a point guard. Also, his height and athleticism allow him to dominate on defense as he averaged 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. Also, Simmons shows discipline and poise as he rarely enables a player to get past him on defense.
Rudy Gobert is the best rim protector among the finalists and locks down the paint. He averaged a career-best 2.7 blocks per game and has elevated the Utah Jazz as an elite defender. Furthermore, Gobert's defensive presence almost always forces players to alternate their offense, and his defensive ability allowed the Jazz to have the best record in the NBA.
Winner: Rudy Gobert
Rookie of the Year
The three finalists for the Rookie of the Year are Lamelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, and Tyrese Haliburton. Furthermore, all rookies show promise for their future NBA careers and have had excellent rookie seasons.
The Charlotte Hornets picked Lamelo Ball third overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, and he has only exceeded expectations. He has a high basketball IQ to combo his shot-making ability. Also, his defense is exceptional for a rookie as he averages 1.6 steals a game. Lamelo Ball led the Charlotte Hornets to the play-in tournament as the team finished 10th in the Eastern Conference. However, the only concern with Lamelo Ball is his hand injury this year, which could affect him winning the award.
Anthony Edwards is a dominant scorer, averaging the most points of any Rookie of the Year finalist with 19.3 points per game. The first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft has not let the community down with his scoring ability. Furthermore, Edwards averages 1.1 steals a game and can play defense at a high level. However, the Timberwolves ended the season 13th in the Western Conference with only 23 wins.
Many analysts consider Tyrese Haliburton as the steal of the 2020 NBA Draft. The Kings picked him 12th overall, and he is now a Rookie of the Year finalist. Tyrese shows veteran experience on the court with his high basketball IQ. He can score the basketball and create open shots for his teammates. Also, his defense is exceptional, as he averaged 1.3 steals per game. In contrast, the Kings ended 12th in the Western Conference and did not improve their seeding from last year.
Winner: Lamelo Ball
Most Improved Player of the Year
The finalists for the NBA's Most Improved Player award include Michael Porter Jr., Jerami Grant, and Julius Randle.
Michael Porter Jr. has elevated his game immensely from last season to this season. Last season, he averaged 9.3 points per game, but he averaged 19.0 points per game this season. His usage rate and efficiency have skyrocketed for the Denver Nuggets. Also, he has stepped up as Jokic's number two guy during Jamal Murray's absence.
Last season, Jerami Grant was a role player for the Denver Nuggets, averaging 12.0 points per game. This season on the Detroit Pistons, he looks like their number one guy averaging an astounding 22.3 points per game. His production and usage rate has increased, even though the Pistons finished the season dead last in the Eastern Conference.
Julius Randle is the last finalist for Most Improved Player, and he showed why he is a true All-Star in the NBA. His points per game increased by about five a game and led the Knicks to a playoff berth. Randle had a career year and did not disappoint on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Winner: Julius Randle
6th Man of the Year
The three finalists for the NBA 6th Man of the Year Award are Derrick Rose, Joe Ingles, and Jordan Clarkson.
The Detroit Pistons traded Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks in the middle of the 2020-2021 NBA season. On the Knicks, Rose comes off the bench and carries the second unit. He averaged 14.9 points per game, and can always light it up because of his previous All-Star ability.
Joe Ingles had a career year off the bench for the Utah Jazz as he averaged 12.1 points per game. Furthermore, Ingles is one of the most efficient three-point shooting players in the NBA. He averaged a 45.1 three-point percentage on 6.1 three-pointers attempted a game. Ingles elevates the second unit of the Jazz and can dominate on the three-point line.
Jordan Clarkson is another Utah Jazz player who had a career year off the bench. He averaged 18.4 points per game and is a lethal shooter for the Jazz. At times, Clarkson looks like the Jazz's star as he can light it up from anywhere on the court.