The highly coveted accolades in the NBA have finally been handed out.
This year was extra special because of how tight the races for top honors were. Simply put, one could never go wrong with any of the finalists for Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Most Valuable Player.
But also, one can only have a single recipient for each award. Here, FHM makes a case for the biggest snubs in the first-ever NBA Awards night.
Rookie of the Year: Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
2016-17 avg - 20.2 ppg 7.8 rpg 2.5 bpg
Critics will knock him for the games he didn't play in (51), but we're talking about a 23-year-old who turned the franchise around every time he stepped on the court. Nonetheless, the first year of 'The Process' was just a preview of things to come.
Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams (Houston Rockets)
2016-17 avg - 17.5 ppg 3 apg 1 spg
If only he wasn't traded to the team of the eventual winner, his production might have not dropped off by 3.7 points and his FG shooting by 5.8 percent. The contest between Williams and Eric Gordon was actually neck and neck when the former was coming off the bench for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Most Improved Player: Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
2016-17 avg - 14 ppg 12.8 rpg 2.6 bpg
It's easy to rack up stats especially if you have the ball in your hands—The Greek Freak had a 28.3 usage rate, good for 22nd overall. A defensive anchor thriving (9.1 ppg 11 rpg 2.2 bpg last season) with limited touches (16.7 usg%, No. 144) is more impressive.
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics)
Record - 53-29 (No. 1 in Eastern Conference)
The snubs pile up for the Celtics, whose top perimeter defender Avery Bradley was also excluded from any of the two All-Defensive teams. Such a disservice for someone who has made GM Danny Ainge look like a genius by improving Boston's record every year since becoming head coach.
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
2016-17 avg 25.5 ppg 5.8 rpg 3.5 apg 1.8 spg 0.7 bpg
It's hard to maintain the top defensive rating (100.9) after losing Tim Duncan to retirement. The Klaw just did that, all while also carrying his team's scoring load (8.9 offensive win shares, sixth overall) for the most part. He had a 27.5 PER for No. 3 in the league.
Most Valuable Player: James Harden (Houston Rockets)
2016-17 avg - 29.1 ppg 11.2 apg 8.1 1.5 spg
We're disputing history here, but this man almost duplicated the criteria that ultimately won it for his rival. Harden basically pulled off a Russell Westbrook, only with a couple less rebounds but with greater success (55-27, second round appearance in Playoffs). The Beard will have to wait another year.
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