Inspired by the geniuses at NBA Reddit, we decided to fill out our own NBA Awards ballots. Below are the Power Couple’s choices, along with some dynamite explanation:
All-NBA First, Second and Third Teams
|Max||Chris Paul||Dame||Durant||Paul George||Horford|
Max: I realize that all three of my teams are unconventional, but I’m totally ok with that. Draymond, the first player in league history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks in a single season, absolutely deserves a first team spot. If I have to kick one of the Thunder guys off to do it, so be it. Westbrook gets the first team spot thanks to my irrational love of triple-doubles. I’d be fine swapping Paul George and Millsap if you want more traditional five-man units, but wanted to reward George for his incredible season after coming back from injury.
I don’t feel bad leaving James Harden off, but I do think it’s too bad Anthony Davis misses. Millsap and Horford were simply phenomenal on defense and Aldridge should be rewarded for adapting to the Spurs’ system so well.
Kelly: I really am surprised we don’t agree more. I thought Damian Lilliard legitimately carried his team this year and absolutely deserves first-team recognition. You and I put Draymond Green at different positions, but I thought his incredible season obviously deserved first team status. I didn’t put either of the Thunder duo on the first team squad, whoops. Sorry friends.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Klay Thompson is the most underrated part of the Warriors season, as shown when he stepped up and dominated against the Rockets with 34 points. That’s why I gave him a second-team nod.
I also didn’t even think to put James Harden on here. Read a bit more and you’ll see how I feel about him. I do feel bad not putting Paul Millsap and Anthony Davis on here, because both had good, even great season. Davis’ was injury plagued and his team was a walking cast, which doesn’t help.
Most Valuable Player
- Chris Paul
Max: Nothing too surprising here. I love Draymond and believe his value to the Warriors and Curry’s game makes gets him on the list above the Thunder’s stars. I don’t think we appreciated what Chris Paul did this season enough.
Kelly: I like that we legitimately listed the top 4 out of 5 in the same order. However, I struggled between picking Westbrook or Lillard, but I figured I would give Westbrook this nod since I snubbed him before.
Guards: Chris Paul, Avery Bradley
Forwards: Kawhi, Green
Bradley was the only tough call for me. Tony Allen could easily have that spot. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a year away and Jimmy Butler was a little too injured. Bradley’s hard work deserves recognition.
Guards: Chris Paul, Marcus Smart
Forwards: Green, Kawhi
Green and Kawhi were the best defenders in the league hands down. (Read a hair longer and you’ll see Max and I agree on that point.) Marcus Smart is one of the best defending guards we’ve seen. He kept the Celtics in multiple games this year and consistently makes up for his lack of shooting with his incredible defense. Chris Paul is one of the few players that can throw Steph Curry off his game so for that alone he gets put on this team.
Defensive Player of the Year
Max: Which do you value more, the best one-on-one defender in a generation, or the most versatile defensive player in the history of the league? Draymond unlocked the lineup of death and an anchored a 73-win team, so he gets the nod.
Kelly: Max has grown my love and admiration for Draymond Green so this is not a slight to him. Kawhi is just single handed the best defender. Whoever he is covering is literally shut down for the game. It’s incredible to watch and I think that’s why he deserves this. Also, maybe it’ll be a nice consolation prize for him because any other year he would have gotten the MVP but there’s this guy named Steph Curry who blew everyone’s minds so….
Most Improved Player
Max: CJ McCollum
Max: I thought about Curry, but wanted to reward McCollum. His first year was derailed by injury and he really struggled defensively in year two. This year he finally put it all together. Lillard deserves the lion’s share of the credit, Portland’s season could have been very different if McCollum hadn’t improved as much as he did.
Kelly: We were not talking about Kawhi in the same breath as other superstars last year, like LeBron and Curry. This year he’s joined the ranks of the elite and I think that jump clearly makes him the most improved. And his offense? That’s most most most improved.
Rookie of the Year
Max and Kelly: KAT
Max: There’s no legitimate argument for anyone else to take this award. KAT was perhaps the most NBA-ready rookie in years and is already a top-15 player. Towns vs. Anthony Davis is a real debate. Minnesota has a bright, bright future.
Kelly: Can I just say what he said? But seriously when you compare Towns to his classmates, while some are impressive – Kristaps, Booker (to the shock of many), Winslow – they just aren’t as complete and electric as him. Might have been the most automatic vote for me outside of Steph for MVP.
Coach of the Year
Max and Kelly: Walton/Kerr
Max: Make two awards, cut the award in half- I don’t care what you do. Both Walton and Kerr should get this. They won 73 games!
Kelly: Agreed. I’m so over the “oh well neither coached a full year so they can’t get it.” Bite me. They have the NBA’s best record. Ever. EVER. Besides there’s a precedent for doing this – ask the NFL. Might have been one of the only things they’ve gotten right recently…
6th Man of the Year
Max: I know he missed a lot of games, but Iguodala was so great for the Warriors and his return dramatically improved them. Few players do more in so many different facets of the game to help their team win and none do it off the bench. His acceptance of that role deserves almost endless praise.
Kelly: I know this one is a little out there but hear me out. If not for Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston would be the most underrated player on the Warriors. First of all – what an incredible story, the fact that he’s even on the court! Second of all, his play has allowed Steve Kerr/Luke Walton to rest Steph, to take valuable minutes off of his legs without causing a disaster on the floor and that is thanks to Livingston.
Executive of the Year
Max: It feels strange to give this to a GM who lost four starters, but Olshey put all the right pieces around Big Game Dame (dropping dimes!) and Portland exceeded all expectations and looks poised to continue to get better and better.
Kelly: Everyone laughed at Boston for gathering so many guards. Everyone thought it would take them extra years to be a contender in the East, but this year they ended up as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and their guards have functioned well together on the floor, better than anyone imagined.
International Player of the Year
Max and Kelly: Giannis
Max: Paul George
Sophomore of the Year
Max: Rodney Hood
3rd-year Player of the Year
Player you grew to love the most:
Max: Kent Bazemore
Max: Two things. Long live Point Giannis! And please, oh Basketball Gods, please, please let Kent Bazemore sign with the Nets.
Player you grew to hate the most:
Max and Kelly: Harden
Kelly: I really cannot stand watching James Harden play. His lax plays on defense, his lack of effort in general and his style of play just absolutely bug me to death.