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ESPN's NBA Award Races Breakdown

Five of our most "in" Insider™ experts offer their collective insights on this season's most interesting award races.


Most Valuable Player

Russell Westbrook

- Paced the league in cupcake references (1.2) per 36 minutes. Personally ensured that 20% of team didn't touch the ball all season.

James Harden

- Traded away by OKC in what has been described as "the worst trade deal in the history of trade deals, maybe ever." Turned Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson into competent NBA players despite their crippling phobia of crossing the three point line.

Lebron James

- On the scale of Lebron seasons, this was his Ratatouille. Not the worst, but certainly not his best work.

Kevin Durant

- By leaving OKC, unleashed the full fury of Westbrook on the rest of the league.

Kevin Durant's Mom

- Always comes in clutch with a batch of homemade cookies for the boys after a tough loss. She's the glue that holds the Warriors locker-room together and a darkhorse candidate for her second MVP award 

Kawhi Leonard

- Though the Kawhi-etest of the MVP candidates, Leonard proved he wasn't a one-trick-Tony on the court this season, making the leap from a Greg-ular, run of the Mills All-Star to a bonafide superstar. Successfully took on the Bertans of Spurring the entire offense, all while continuing to anchor the team's Pau-werful defense and providing strong Lee-dership. In-Tim-idated opponents by Duncan over everyone and blocking shots left and right. Too Manu reasons to count Kawhi he's the MVP. I Gasol have to vote for him 


Executive of the Year

Jeremy Wright

- Made key acquisitions at the trade deadline that helped propel Milwaukee back into playoff contention and nice try that's a made up name and you never would have known the difference don't pretend you care about this award.


Coach of the Year 

Russell Westbrook

- Called and executed every OKC play this season.

Mike D'antoni

- His breakthrough discovery that 3 is a bigger number than 2 promises to revolutionize the league forever.


Defensive Player of the Year

Draymond Green

- Hustled, played tough defense, and went for every lose ball(s).

Rudy Gobert

- Made blocking shots look easy. Which, objectively speaking, it is if you're 7 feet tall.

Donald Trump

- Though unorthodox, his strategy of building a wall between both sides of the court proved highly effective.


Most Improved Player

Kobe Bryant

- By being physically unable to jack up more contested, off-the-dribble, fading-out-of-bounds threes due to his retirement, saw his field goal percentage increase from last year.

Javale McGee

- All it took was the greatest NBA team of all time to transform McGee into a competent role player.


Player with the Most Exciting Play of the Year

Zaza Pachulia

- An underrated ball-hander for a big man, had one of the nastiest ankle breakers of all time, on no less than the NBA's best defender in Kawhi Leonard.


Biggest Baller of the Year

Lavar Ball 

- Demanded the GDP of Belize in exchange for the right to make overpriced footwear named after his high school sons.

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