2017-18 NBA Awards finalists: James Harden eyes MVP; Ben Simmons has stiff competition for Rookie of the Year
There are three finalists for every award, which will be announced on June 25
For the second straight season, the NBA will hold a postseason awards show to hand out its major awards. This year, it will take place on June 25, and can be watched on TNT. With a little over a month until the festivities, we now have the finalists for every award.
Here are the three candidates for each major regular-season award.
Most Valuable Player
The three finalists for MVP shouldn't come as much of a surprise. James Harden was spectacular all season long, leading the Rockets to the league's best record. Meanwhile, LeBron James put together one of his best statistical seasons ever in his 15th season, and Anthony Davis came on strong at the end of the season as he led the Pelicans to the playoffs after DeMarcus Cousins' injury.
Defensive Player of the Year
This time around, the Defensive Player of the Year Award candidates are all big men. Up for DPOY, along with MVP, Anthony Davis takes the honor of being the only player up for two different awards. Joining him are Jazz stalwart Rudy Gobert, the centerpiece of league's second-ranked defense, and Joel Embiid, who protected the paint with authority in his first full season for the 76ers.
Rookie of the Year
This has been the most contentious award discussion all season. Jayson Tatum was impressive, and has been brilliant in the playoffs, but this is a regular season award, and it seems likely to come down to Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell. There has been plenty of back and forth between the two players, as well as debates about what it really means to be a rookie.
Sixth Man of the Year
Both Eric Gordon, who won this award last season, and Lou Williams, who took it home in 2015, are constants in the discussion for Sixth Man of the Year. And the two, especially Williams, were once again tremendous off the bench. They'll be joined on the ballot by the leader of Toronto's famed bench mob, Fred VanVleet.
Most Improved Player
There were a number of strong candidates for Most Improved Player, but the three players who stood above the rest were Victor Oladipo, Clint Capela and Spencer Dinwiddie. Oladipo became an All-Star in his first season with the Pacers, Capela was the most underrated member of a dynamite Rockets team and Dinwiddie came into his own after taking over the starting point guard job for the Nets.
Coach of the Year
Well this is awkward. Dwane Casey, who was recently fired by the Raptors, could win Coach of the Year while being unemployed. He'll be up against media darling Brad Stevens, who has led the shorthanded Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals, and Quin Snyder, who kept the Jazz on track through plenty of turmoil of their own.
- Brad Stevens, Boston Celitcs
- Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors
- Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz
In addition to these major awards, there will also be other honors announced during the show. Those include Executive of the Year, NBA Sportsmanship Award and Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award.
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