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GBB’s NBA End of Season Awards

The staff voted. Here are our picks. MVP is shocking.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA regular season is finally over. As we await the start of the NBA playoffs this weekend, many have begun to post their end of season awards to fill the void between now and then, especially since awards like the hotly debated Most Valuable Player won’t be announced by the Association until June. We at GBB wanted to get in on the fun.

The following teams/award winners were voted upon by myself and 16 of GBB’s finest staffers and alumni. Since the MVP award is the most intensely debated, we will save that one for last.

ALL-NBA DEFENSE

NBA: Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1ST TEAM-

Guard- Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

Guard- Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies

Forward- Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Forward- Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (Unanimous Selection)

Center- Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz (Unanimous Selection)

2ND TEAM-

Guard- John Wall, Washington Wizards

Guard- Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City Thunder

Forward- Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

Forward- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Center- DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers

Mullinax’s Take- I was surprised to see Tony Allen receive such love, but then again we are a Grizzlies fan blog. He squeaked past Roberson for 1st team honors. Otherwise, no complaints from me here. John Wall has had a sneaky terrific season, and although I think he’s overrated Jordan is a tremendous defensive center. I have a feeling we will see Green and Gobert duke it out for Defensive Player of the Year.

Others receiving more than 5 votes- Patrick Beverley, Anthony Davis,

ALL-NBA TEAMS

NBA: All Star Practice Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1ST TEAM-

GUARD- Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (Unanimous Selection)

GUARD- James Harden, Houston Rockets (Unanimous Selection)

FORWARD- LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (Unanimous Selection)

FORWARD- Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

CENTER- Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

2ND TEAM-

GUARD- Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

GUARD- John Wall, Washington Wizards

FORWARD- Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

FORWARD- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

CENTER- Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

3RD TEAM-

GUARD- Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics

GUARD- Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

FORWARD- Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

FORWARD- Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

CENTER- Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

Mullinax’s Take- Gordon Hayward appears to be the odd man out on this list, as he finished tied in points with Jimmy Butler but did not get as many 2nd and 3rd team selections as Butler. Anthony Davis also edged out Rudy Gobert by one point to earn our First Team All-NBA honors. I would have flipped Draymond and Durant since KD did not play the entire season, but if he had stayed healthy he would have been that high or even higher. Kawhi missed being an unanimous selection by one vote.

And Marc as a Third-Team center? Sure, why not, Grizzlies fan blog.

Others receiving 5 or more votes- Gordon Hayward, Karl-Anthony Towns, Paul George, Damian Lillard

COACH OF THE YEAR

Tied for 2nd- Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs, Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz, Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

WINNER- MIKE D’ANTONI- HOUSTON ROCKETS

NBA: Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mullinax’s Take- The three coaches who finished tied for second all received three votes, and D’Antoni received five. So we were relatively split as a staff. The Spurs kept Spursing, the Celtics were at the top of the Eastern Conference with Isaiah Thomas as their best player, and the Jazz lived up to the preseason hype on their way to a 51-win season. But the Rockets under D’Antoni reached new heights and his offense gave birth to one of the greatest offensive seasons in history through James Harden and two legit Sixth Man of the Year candidates in Eric Gordon and Lou Williams. D’Antoni is deserving.

Other coach receiving votes- Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

WINNER- GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO, MILWAUKEE BUCKS

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Mullinax’s Take- This was almost a clean sweep among our voters. Giannis is horrifying. 22.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 52.2% shooting from the field, +13 net rating, can literally play/defend every position on the court...

...and he is only 22 years old. If this guy figures out how to shoot threes (27% from range this season) he will be unstoppable. Milwaukee has to feel good about the pieces they have considering how good the Greek Freak figures to be as he enters his prime as a basketball player.

Other player receiving a vote- Otto Porter, Washington Wizards

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

2nd place- Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks

WINNER- JOEL EMBIID, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

NBA: New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Mullinax’s Take- He only played in 31 games, and I voted for Malcolm Brogdon of the Bucks, but the movement that was Joel Embiid this season can not be denied. Embiid won this race 56% to 44% and he is deserving even though he didn’t play even half of the season. He dominated many of the games he played in and averaged over 20 points per game in just 25 minutes of play on average. If he can stay healthy (a big if as a meniscus tear ended his season), his ceiling is much higher than Brogdon’s and he has shown that to be true in tangible game evidence.

So give him the award. Both players are deserving, but Embiid had a truly special run.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

2nd Place- Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

WINNER- DRAYMOND GREEN, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Mullinax’s Take- Draymond Green is the best defender on one of the best defensive teams in the NBA who also happens to be the best team in the NBA. No disrespect to Gobert, who is a dominant rim protector and is arguably the main reason the Jazz are where they are this season, but Green is more versatile as a defender. He can guard on the perimeter, he can guard in the post, he can defend the pick and roll and fight through screens. He can do it all.

That gives him the edge over Gobert. But Rudy deserves recognition- he’s one of the NBA’s best big men now. He will likely win this award at some point.

Other player receiving a vote- Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR

3rd place- Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors

2nd place- Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

WINNER- ERIC GORDON, HOUSTON ROCKETS

NBA: Houston Rockets at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Mullinax’s Take- I voted for Zach Randolph. And I feel no shame, because Zach deserves the award. But Gordon is worthy as well, and his team is better than Randolph’s, so this is fine. Gordon has rejuvenated his career in Houston, working extremely well off the bench and giving the Rockets a real threat from range. He’s also a better defender than Zach...but this award isn’t really about defense (Right Jamal Crawford?)

The fact that Zach has a higher usage rate and points per 36 minutes rate, as well as a higher win shares per 48 minutes according to basketball-reference.com, likely will not matter. Z-Bo had a great season. So did Gordon, though.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

CO-MVPS: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden, Houston Rockets

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Mullinax’s Take- Fitting, right? In a debate where no one is wrong because both players are extremely deserving, GBB was split right down the middle. We had one voter go with Kawhi Leonard, and the rest of us were split 50/50. I voted for Westbrook because I believe his clutch performances matter and his utter destruction of the Grizzlies with the six seed on the line has stuck with me. There is no denying Harden’s impact on Houston, though- it is a fun debate. Harden fits the modern NBA to a T, whereas Russ is an athletic throwback to a more aggressive Association.

As for the real award? I anticipate Westbrook winning- that triple-double mark is going to be too hard for older media voters to ignore. But Harden and Westbrook are going to be able to (kind of) settle it on the floor in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. And that series, aside from Grizzlies-Spurs, will more than other be getting my undivided attention.

Thanks to our staffers and alumni who participated in the voting. We will be doing the Grizzlies version of these awards once Memphis has finished their playoff run, either by elimination or as NBA Champions.

Hey, it could happen.

Follow @sbngrizzlies