Sixth Man of the Year:
1. Andre Iguodala
2. Evan Turver
3. Ed Davis
Honorable Mentions: Jamal Crawford, Shaun Livingston, Jeremy Lin, Dennis Schroder, Bismack Biyombo, Will Barton
Sixth man of the year is usually the most obvious award in my opinion. It usually goes to the sixth man on the team with the best record, or whoever scores the most points. However, it was interesting this year because Iguodala missed a few games, and Enes Kanter doesn’t deserve to win anything when he’s arguably the worst defensive player in the history of team sports.
There is a reason why players such as Jamal Crawford are a candidate every single year. He’s exciting to watch and can take over stretches. Players like Lance Stephenson and Isaiah Thomas would be great sixth men — as long as it was the correct situation — because they are so exciting to watch with their flashy ball handling and ability to take over a game in different ways.
That being said, Andre — when healthy — has left more fingerprints on more games than any other player in the NBA that isn’t a starter. Even with missing the amount of games that he did, nobody did enough in each area of the game to jump Andre.
Evan Turner had the best year of his career — which is great to see after being a struggling second overall pick his entire career until he reached Boston. He fits their roster and strategy perfectly as he’s deadly when running the pick-and-roll. Turner snakes and finagles his way around the elbows to reach a target that he can hit easy jumpers from. Turner is most fun to watch when he’s creating for others. His unselfish play really helped propel the Celtics season.
Ed Davis is as big of a surprise to me as it is to see Portland in the playoffs this season. He was essential down the stretch this season as he helped Portland reach the unexpected. He was arguably Portland’s best big man as he complimented his elite backcourt of Lillard and McCollum.
When I look at this award I can’t reward players such as Will Barton because his team had little success. This award to me is based on who helped their team the most while being restricted to the bench.
Coach of the Year:
1. Terry Stotts
2. Gregg Popovich
3. Brad Stevens
Honorable Mentions: Luke Walton/Steve Kerr, Steve Clifford, Dave Joerger
To explain this award I have to first say that I don’t feel comfortable giving the award to Kerr or Walton even though they’re both amazing and shared a record of 73-9. You don’t get to give the award to two coaches, others are deserving, and it shows how talented Golden State’s roster is.
Stotts has to get this award, it’s that simple. The only returning starter from the Trail Blazers last season was Damian Lillard. As a result everybody and their mother had this team going straight to the lottery and it looked as if Lillard was going to be the only good thing this season as they tried to gather a plan to obtain Ben Simmons. The only people who thought this was possible were insane Portland fans.
Popovich would win if it wasn’t for what Stotts was able to accomplish. As I’ve said many times, Popovich was a huge part of the Spurs success as they obtained the fourth best record of all-time. The Spurs have great talent, but they also played very deep into their roster and still have the same success. A lot of that development and overall success is directly from Popovich’s elite basketball mind.
In my opinion — and many others — Brad Stevens is already the best coach in the NBA that isn’t Popovich or Kerr. The success he has had with the chess pieces he has at his disposal is amazing. He’s absolutely the best coach in the NBA with the clipboard.
Most Improved Player of the Year:
1. Isaiah Thomas
2. CJ McCollum
3. Jae Crowder
Honorable Mentions: Stephen Curry, Kemba Walker, Zach LaVine
It seems as though everybody believes CJ McCollum is the winner of this award. My case for Thomas is that he and McCollum were both bench players last season. Obviously Thomas was in the running for Sixth Man of the Year, but he has transformed into a freak. Thomas is what I call the “NBA’s smallest superstar” because he is just that. He went from the sixth man, to All-Star, to arguably the best point guard in the Eastern Conference as he is leading the Celtics in the playoffs.
McCollum is not only one of the most improved players, but I think that he’s one of the most fun to watch. He has such a unique offensive game off of the dribble as he’s able to create any shot he wants and finish at a high level. His herky-jerky dribbling moves make him nearly impossible to trap which is why he thrives at creating his own shot.
The case for Crowder is a strong one, but most of his success is because of the increase of minutes he has received. That being said, he had a career high in every major statistic while being the beating heart of the Boston Celtics. He has not only improved hugely in skill, but as a leader and veteran in this league.