Rookie of the Year:
1. Karl-Anthony Towns
2. Kristaps Porzingis
3. Myles Turner
Honorable Mentins: Nikola Jokic, Devin Booker.
If anybody actually thinks Towns isn’t far and away the Rookie of the Year, they need to check into a mental hospital. This isn’t even particularly close when you consider how good Towns was the entire season, the statistics he put up, and how many elite NBA bigs he torched throughout the entire season.
Here are a couple of fun KAT stats:
Rookies to attempt at least 1,000 shots while shooting 50%+ on FG and 80%+ on FT since 1980:
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) April 14, 2016
Porzingis gets the second pick, BARELY. He was the most impressive early, logged way more minutes than Turner, Jokic, Booker, etc. and eventually got slowed down from an injury. Porzingis is probably still the second best player in this class, right now, but other rookies are coming. If there was an award for social media phenomenon than this would be the Latvian Gangbanger’s hardware.
The reason I picked Turner over Jokic and Booker is because he helped elevate the Pacers to the playoffs. He has so many big, big games as a rookie. When you watch the Indiana Pacers he jumps off of the TV with his strong defensive play and his pick-and-pop abilities. He’s a better passer and rebounder than the statistics suggest. Myles Turner has a bright, bright future in the NBA.
Defensive Player of the Year:
1. Kawhi Leonard
2. Draymond Green
3. Avery Bradley
This award is really between Leonard and Green while giving Bradley a really appropriate shoutout for his incredible defense as well.
Choosing between Leonard and Green is a battle that can’t be won. It really depends on what you want out of your defenders. They’re both different, yet very similar because of their versatility and insane impact.
I chose Leonard because I view his ability to hold an offensive player down is only comparable to when you put a baseball inside of a baseball glove. His defense is just jaw-dropping to me! He literally swallows the entire basketball from whoever he’s guarding when he steals it or blocks their shot. The Kawhi-land is like when Darrelle Revis shuts down an opposing team’s best receiver by following him all over the field. He’s the best 1-on-1 defender I’ve seen in my lifetime and was a huge, huge, HUGE reason why the Spurs finished with the fourth best record of all-time and the best defense in the NBA.
For as good as Kawhi Leonard is, Draymond Green is just behind him. However, I think Green gets a little more help from having excellent defenders around him — Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, etc. Even with the extra help, Draymond and his giant, junk-talking mouth are all over the court shutting down offensive players. To give Dray credit, it’s him more times than not making the winning play, or picking up the other team’s best player down the stretch.
This award can’t be wrong as long as one of the first two players on my ballot win it. The only way it could be wrong is if the real voters take a look at statistics and decide Hassan Whiteside is the best defender in the league because literally ALL HE TRIES TO DO is attack the rim for blocks. He leaves his feet way too much, falls for pump fakes, fouls too often, and leaves his team’s defense in a horrible bind because he tries to block too many shots and leaves their scheme looking unfamiliar — which explains the large volume of shots he blocked.
Avery Bradley received so much credit from Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum this season for his perimeter defense as they called him the “best perimeter defender in the NBA”.
Avery Bradley the best perimeter defender in the league and I don't think it's close. Him and chief #firstteamalldefense
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) April 2, 2016
While the comments aren’t far from the truth, Bradley gambled too often on defense to put in a serious conversation with Leonard and Green. However, Bradley might be the best in the league at defending guards because he’s lightning quick, shares the same pair of shorts with who he’s guarding, and has the fastest hands in the NBA. Coach Nick from @BBallBreakdown did a wonderful job breaking down Bradley and the Celtics defense against the Warriors when they delivered them their first home loss in 29 years.