The NBA put the 2017-18 season to bed on Monday night with the second annual NBA Awards, where honors like MVP, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year were handed out to the league's most deserving candidates. James Harden took home the league's top individual honor, beating out LeBron James and Anthony Davis to win his first NBA MVP award.
Ben Simmons beat out Donovan Mitchell for Rookie of the Year, after one of the most contentious debates of the season. And it was slightly awkward when Dwane Casey won Coach of the Year for the Raptors, because they fired him right after the season.
There were plenty of other awards handed out, and here are the winners and three finalists for each major regular-season award. Until next season.
Most Valuable Player winner: James Harden
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. But in the end, Harden ended up taking home his first MVP thanks to a truly spectacular season.
Rookie of the Year winner: Ben Simmons
This was the most contentious award discussion all season. Jayson Tatum was impressive, and brilliant in the playoffs, but this is a regular season award, and it came down to 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, but Simmons ended up taking home the hardware.
Most Improved Player winner: Victor Oladipo
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. In the end, Oladipo was the runaway winner.
Defensive Player of the Year winner: Rudy Gobert
This time around, the Defensive Player of the Year Award candidates were 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. When it came down to it, the voters decided the Frenchman, Gobert, was deserving of the honor.
Sixth Man of the Year winner: Lou Williams
Both Eric Gordon, who won this award last season, and Lou Williams, who took it home in 2015, were constants in the discussion for Sixth Man of the Year. And the two, especially Williams, were once again tremendous off the bench. They were joined on the ballot by the leader of Toronto's famed bench mob, Fred VanVleet, but in the end Williams' brilliant season couldn't be ignored.
Coach of the Year winner: Dwane Casey
Well this is awkward. Dwane Casey, who was recently fired by the Raptors, won Coach of the Year for the Toronto Raptors while currently coaching the Detroit Pistons. He was up against media darling Brad Stevens, who 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. It's rare that the Coach of the Year gets fired before he even wins the award.
- Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors
- Brad Stevens, Boston Celitcs
- Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz