For the first time in its long history, the NBA hosted an awards show to give out their yearly regular season honors. Last night, Drake hosted this first annual event in New York City as many of the league’s top players, former players and celebrities came out to witness the event.

 

This event was actually very highly anticipated being that a lot of the award races were very close and very documented throughout this season. Arguments and debates had occurred for months about who show take home which award, so last night was finally the time in which it all would be revealed.

 

Here is a list of award winners last night:

 

(NBA)

MVP: Russell Westbrook

As many expected, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook took home the top honor as league MVP.

 

Becoming only the second person in league history, alongside Oscar Robertson, to average a triple double in an NBA season, Westbrook defied the odds and not only notched the triple double average, but also led his team to the playoffs, possibly his biggest feat. With the loss of Kevin Durant, many didn’t think the Thunder could rebound right away in a tough Western Conference. With Westbrook’s heroic play, they garnered the sixth seed in the West.

 

What made Westbrook’s season special was that he took his Leel of velocity up another notch that I honestly didn’t think he had. He already played with such a vengeance on the floor that I didn’t think it was possibly for him to play any angrier.

 

Boy was I wrong.

 

Westbrook, not only played angry, but he played fearlessly and shouldered the heavy load left behind by Durant like a man amongst boys. Night in and night out, Westbrook dazzled NBA crowds while wearing his emotions on his sleeves. Every dunk, every steal, every rebound and every assists felt impactful and volatile. Everyday he stuffed the stat sheet, it seemed like his team won and that was probably the most important stat of any he put up this year.

 

It’s one thing to get triple doubles, it’s another to do it and have your team win 80 percent of the time you do it. This means that your impact and your value to your team is undeniable. He deserves every bit of this award.

 

(NBA)

Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green

Now a two- time NBA champion, Draymond Green can now add Defensive Player of the Year to his growing resume.

 

Green is the epitome of a do it all guy. He rebounds, he passes, he scores when he needs to, he provides energy and maybe most importantly, he defends. For a team who breaks offensive records every season, he is the glue that keeps it all together on the other end of the floor so that those offensive records translate into wins and championships.

 

Green is as versatile as it gets. He can guard positions 1 through 5 and do it effectively. He is the true anchor of statistically the best defensive team the past three seasons with two of those resulting in titles. Yes, there are the on court antics, the outbursts at refs and occasionally other players post game, and we can’t forget about his run of groin shots in last years playoffs. However, that is not what defines him for this team. On this team, he is the most important piece because all of that turns into stops on the defensive end that allows their potent offense to then do their thing. Without Draymond and his defense, the Warriors don’t have two titles.

 

(Time)

Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo

“The Greek Freak” enjoyed a breakout season this past year averaging 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists while leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a 42-40 record and a playoff berth.

 

Prior to last season, we knew Giannis had an extremely high ceiling possessing out of this world athleticism and length with the ability to handle the ball effectively and get to the rim with the best of them. This season confirmed those thoughts while still exceeding expectations for how great he could be this early in his career.

 

Only his fourth season in the NBA, Gianni’s became a nightmare for opposing teams to game plan for. Not only was he becoming more aggressive with every passing game, but he was also seeing the floor much better finding open teammates due to his ability to draw in defenses. He became a two-way player as well using his length to get a lot of blocks and steals and being a nuisance on the defensive end while being able to guard multiple positions.

 

What was most telling was the transformation of his body. Prior seasons, Giannis still lacked the physicality to perform on a nightly basis, but this season featured a more built version who had clearly been in the weight room. This allowed him to sustain his excellent play over the course of the 80 games he played and earned him his first all star appearance as well as this award to top it off.

 

(NOLA)

Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon

The Houston Rockets set the NBA record for most three pointers made in a regular season this year and Eric Gordon was the marksman that had a lot to do with it.

 

With Mike D’Antoni entering the fold as coach (becoming Coach of the Year last night as well), the offense opened up to massive heights and became a run and gun machine that lit up opposing defenses all year long.

 

Making the decision to move James Harden to the point guard position allowed players like Gordon to excel. With the ball on Harden’s hands 70 percent of the time, Gordon was able to come off the bench and immediately make an impact in the scoring column.

 

He average 16.2 points per game in just over 31 minutes coming off the bench which means that when he did enter the game, he usually stayed in for a while. With the attention paid to Harden, Gordon was able to spot up behind the three line knock down three after three this season as he averaged about 3.3 made threes a game while shooting 37 percent from behind the arc, posing a legitimate threat to teams around the league.

 

Overall, the awards night was a success for the NBA with Drake hosting and Nicki Minaj performing that was a clear ratings grabber from all angles. Although we had to wait a lot longer than usual, the wait was worth it as we got to see the league’s brightest stars get honored.

 

Were the players who received awards deserving? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.