SportsRoutes Consensus: NBA Season Awards

The main writers here at SportsRoutes decided to vote and weigh in our predictions for the 2016-2017 NBA Season’s  Awards

Most Valuable Player:  Russell Westbrook PG, Oklahoma City Thunder (4 votes) 

“This years MVP race has been a back and forth between former teammates and current superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook. While Harden  had a strong season carrying Houston to the 3rd seed in the West and leading the league in assist, it is hard to argue Westbrook’s bid for MVP. NBA fans expected a statistically significant season from Westbrook, few players such as Clippers PG Austin Rivers and Portland’s C.J. Mccollum predicted the PG would average a triple-double this season, and as most predicted Westbrook did have a massive season.Not only did Westbrook became the first player to average a triple-double since former Milwaukee Buck and Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson did so in the 1961 NBA season, he also did it while leading the league in Scoring.If you look beyond the triple doubles, you’ll see that he carried OKC to the playoffs with a team that was projected to be picking in the Top-5 of the Draft before the season even started. The man has faced adversity at every corner, and had always been regarded as “Durant’s right hand man.” With Westbrook in the reigns in Oklahoma, there is no stopping him.”

– Christian Douglas Lead NFL and NFL Draft writer

Also Receiving Votes: Cleveland Cavaliers’ Lebron James (1 vote), Houston Rockets’ James Harden (1 vote), San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard (1 vote)

Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard SF, San Antonio Spurs (4 Votes)

“This is definitely one of the safer picks for DPOY. Leonard took the DPOY spot 2 years in a row and is definitely on track for the third. Leonard may not have the most stellar numbers (0.7 steals and 1.7 blocks), but he continues to consistently guard key matchups at all times. The Spurs still remain on top by being #1 in Defense as well as #5 in offense. Leonard’s leadership primes him for this spot, and ultimately a serious playoff run if he continues to play at this level.”

– Jordan Artzy, Editor in Chief

Also Receiving Votes: Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (2 votes), Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert (2 votes)

Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams SG, Houston Rockets (3 votes)

“After a midseason trade from the Lakers to the Rockets, Williams continued to play the same role he played in LA, sixth man. However, in Houston he was presented with the chance to truly make a difference on a team with championship aspirations, rather being wasted on a lowly Laker squad. Up to this point, he’s been a legitimate threat off the bench for coach D’Antoni, averaging a solid 17.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in just under 25 minutes per game. This is exactly what teams look for off the bench: a player who can come in and be a reliable scorer who can also be productive in other areas. After losing out to Jamal Crawford in last years race, it seems like it’s gonna be a real close contest once again as there are numerous other players in the running who are also deserving of this award.”

– Santino Capalbo, Lead MLB and Fantasy Sports Writer

Also Receiving Votes:  Miami Heat’s James Johnson (2 votes), Houston Rockets’ Eric Gordon (1 vote), Oklahoma City Thunder’s Enes Kanter (1 vote)

Rookie of the Year: Dario Saric PF, Philadelphia 76ers (4 Votes)

“This was an unusual season when it comes to rookies. The first overall pick did not play a single minute, the second overall pick plays on a terrible team and didn’t start for much of the season. Overall, this class has been underwhelming thus far. Joel Embiid was the best rookie, but only playing in 31 games makes it impossible to give him the award. Malcolm Brogdon was a second round pick for the Bucks who will make the playoffs this year.  Brogdon has been able to contribute on a complementary level, but he hasn’t had a large enough impact to earn the honors. This seasons Rookie of the Year should be Dario Saric, the Philadelphia 76ers Croatian do-it-all combo forward. Saric has improved as the season has gone on, largely due to an increased role with the team. Saric is a good shooter from deep.  He can drive, pass, post-up, and even defends fairly well. He’s been the most consistent once he got his chance, and he’s taken his opportunity and run with it. His future is bright as are those of Brogdon and Embiid, but this year, the Croatian takes home the honor.”  

-Sebastian Kuzak Lead NBA and Soccer Writer

Also Receiving Votes: Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (2 votes), Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown (1 vote)

Most Improved Player: Nikola Jokic PF, Denver Nuggets (3 Votes)

“The Joker” has single handedly brought the Denver Nuggets to relevancy due to his otherworldly ability to find passing lanes, and create shots for his teammates unlike any big man we’ve ever seen for his age. At the age of 21, Jokic’s per game splits of 16.6 points per game 9.8 rebounds per game, and most importantly 4.9 assists  are unprecedented. According to, Jokic’s Box score plus/minus for a second year player ranks THIRD ALL TIME behind only LeBron James and David Robinson.  For reference of just how rare Jokic’s impact is, the highest assists per game for a center is 4.4 per game set by WIlt Chamberlain. Since Jokic’s promotion to the starting lineup in mid December, the Nuggets have transformed into an offensive juggernaut, a mainstay in the top 5 in most offensive rankings. His defense is still a work in progress, but for generational talents who are built for the modern NBA and in half a season transform the outlook of their team from bottom feeders to knocking on the door of the playoffs. If Jokic stays on this path the Denver Nuggets could be potential contenders in the near future.” 

-Andres Rosero Lead NFL and NBA writer

Also Receiving Votes: Miami Heat’s Dion Waiters (1 vote), Miami Heat’s James Johnson (1 vote), Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas (1 vote), Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (1 vote)

Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat (4 votes)

“If you are an NBA fan it’s hard to imagine seeing Spo winning this award mostly if you saw how the Heat performed in the first half of the season starting 11-30. After being written off and calling this a losing season, Spo led the Heat’s resurgence with a 13-game win streak and bringing Miami into the playoff picture. Regardless if Spo wins this award or not, he is clearly one of the top coaches in the NBA and his track record speaks for itself.”

– Pablo Rosero, Lead Writer

Also Receiving Votes: San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich (1 vote), Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni (1 vote), Boston Celtics’ Brad Stevens (1 vote).

Fantasy Player of the Year: Russell Westbrook PG, Oklahoma City Thunder (6 votes)

“It would make sense for an MVP candidate to be considered for this award. The one candidate that averaged a triple-double obviously had the edge. Russell Westbrook averaged 31.9 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds which translated to an extremely high volume of nights producing 95+ fantasy points. In fact, Russell wasn’t scraping just for a measly 10-10-10, as he lead the league in scoring, is third in assists, and as a Point Guard, was just under the top 10 in rebounds. Fighting for the 1st round fantasy draft pick has paid high dividends as Westbrook played every game like it was his last, while staying very healthy throughout the season. Westbrook has played like a man possessed after his former teammate Kevin Durant left for Golden State. This lead to him becoming the 2nd player in history to average a triple-double in an NBA season (Oscar Robinson). While James Harden also had a considerable number of nights scoring triple digits fantasy points, however, Westbrook had more as he averaged two more rebounds than him. A historical season has kept Russell Westbrook at the tippy top of the leaderboards this 2016-2017 fantasy season.”

– Matthew Thompson Lead Sports Culture Writer

Also Receiving Votes: Houston Rockets’ James Harden (1 vote)



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