At this time of the year, with the regular season over and already into the second round of the Playoffs, we already know the winners of the NBA Awards such as the Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player and the Sixth Man of the Year. We still have to find out the Coach of the Year and the most important one: the MVP.

MVP: Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic has won this award again after earning it last season as well. There has also been some controversy in here. There are people who think that Joel Embiid or Giannis Antetokounmpo should have been the winners this time, but the season of ‘The Joker’ has been impressive. The Serbian has averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists, which are outstanding stats.

The leader of the Denver Nuggets already proved last season that centers can also win the MVP in a league where the figure of these kind of players has been overshadowed with the arise of three-point shooters, which is an area where Jokic stands out as well. Non center had been awarded as the MVP since Shaquille O’Neal back in 2000. Now, with his second consecutive trophy, he joins legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell o Wilt Chamberlain who have all accomplished this feat.

Coach of the Year – Monty Williams:

The coach for the Phoenix Suns has won this award again and he deserves it. He has made the Suns the best record team in the league an in the history of the franchise as well, with 64 victories and 18 losses. Furthermore, the coach was also chosen as the Coach of the Year by the rest of his partners in the league for the second consecutive time.

Rookie of the Year – Scottie Barnes:

This might be the award that has brought the biggest debate. The player for the Toronto Raptors has won against the 1st pick of the Draft Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. The votes have been very tight between Barnes and Mobley, as there has only been a distance of 15 votes, which is the slightest difference since this voting system to choose the Rookie of the Year Award was installed.

Scottie Barnes has averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, which are very outstanding numbers. The small forward has become a very important piece for the Raptors, as he has been the Rookie with the most minutes this season starting in 74 games.

Defensive Player of the Year – Marcus Smart:

The player for the Boston Celtics has overcome Mikal Bridges and a main candidate for this award as it is Rudy Gobert. It is not surprising at all that Smart has won it, as his team has the best defense in the league. Marcus Smart has proved that not only centers can win this award, as he is the first point guard to win the DPOY since Gary Payton in 1996.

Most Improved Player of the Year – Ja Morant:

There has also been a debate on this award. Ja Morant has beaten Darius Garland and Dejounte Murray. The start for the Memphis Grizzlies has made history, as he has become the only player ever to win both the Rookie of the Year and the Most Improved Player NBA Awards.

The debate is brought up because there are some people who consider that these kind of NBA Awards do not mean that much for this player and so younger players should get it. Morant himself sent it to his teammate Desmond Bane, as he thought that he deserved it more.

Morant averaged last season 19.1 points, 4 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, while this year he has averaged 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game. This is a considerable improvement on his stats, but overall is the evolution that he has experienced and his establishment into the league.

Sixth Man of the Year – Tyler Herro:

The player for the Miami Heat has overcome Kevin Love and Cam Johnson in the voting with 488 votes. A very deserved award for Herro, as this season he has averaged 20.7 rebounds, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game without being a starter. Furthermore, his 1.162 points from the bench are a record in the franchise history.

Herro is one of the multiple gears in the machine of the Miami Heat, a team that already surprised by leading the East and that is now very motivated to return to the Finals two years later.

Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.

Main image: Memphis Grizzlies.

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