Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon
This season, after being traded to the Houston Rockets, Eric Gordon has resurrected his career. Injured for much of the past three years, Gordon has provided an excellent scoring complement to James Harden. He is averaging 16.3 points per game and has made over 200 three pointers this season. As the only player on the Rockets who can create their own shot, other than James Harden, Gordon has helped the Rockets to the third seed in the West.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert
Each year in the NBA, Gobert has continued to get better. This season he is anchoring Utah’s defense, third best in the NBA. Gobert is averaging 2.7 blocks per game, tops in the league, and he also has the highest defensive RPM (Real Plus-Minus) in the NBA. Draymond Green has a compelling argument for the award as his defense has ticked up with Durant out, but Gobert’s defense impacts the game more on a nightly basis. He deters players from attacking the rim and if you do venture inside, he’ll swat your shot out of the gym.
Rookie of the Year: Malcolm Brogdon
This season’s rookie class has been one of the most disappointing in recent memory. Top pick, Ben Simmons, missed the entire year due to injury and breakout star Joel Embiid played only 31 games (on a minute’s restriction). Malcolm Brogdon, a second round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks, out of the University of Virginia, is this season’s rookie of the year. Brogdon has become the starting point guard for the Bucks, greatly exceeding early season expectations. Brogdon averages 10.3 points per game and 4.3 assists. He is shooting 40% from three and is also an excellent perimeter defender, making him an ideal fit to play off the ball with Giannis Antetokounmpo. He has filled a vital role on a team hoping to make a playoff run.
Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo
This season Giannis is averaging 23.1 points per game, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, a sizable increase in all statistical categories from last season. He has been one of the most fun players to watch this season. Giannis made his first career all-star game and has carried the Bucks into the playoffs. They were without Khris Middleton for the first half of the season and in his first game back, Jabari Parker torn his ACL. Through all of that, Giannis’ play has remained fantastic and he will surely make an all-NBA team this year.
Coach of the Year: Gregg Popovich
No more Tim Duncan, a declining Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker… Yet here we are again, the Spurs are going to win over 60 games again. Now the Spurs do have Kawhi Leonard, but when you start going down their roster, you notice that they really don’t have many good players. Guys like Dewayne Dedmon and Danny Green, who have struggled to make NBA rosters in their careers, have been transformed into great defenders and starting-caliber players, all thanks to the great culture of the Spurs’ organization and the brilliance of Gregg Popovich.
Executive of the Year: Daryl Morey
Last year the Houston Rockets were the biggest disappointment in the NBA. With constant bickering, inconsistent effort, and a roster that didn’t fit their preferred style of play, the Rockets barely made the playoffs and were promptly swept in the first round. This year, largely in thanks to the moves of General Manager, Daryl Morey, the Rockets are third in the West and in contention for a title. The offseason additions of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, as well as coach Mike D’Antoni, have rejuvenated the Rockets and have them playing some amazing basketball.