Russell, Gordon, D’Antoni other big winners in NBA Awards
Aside from MVP Russell Westbrook, Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and Most Improved Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo, several other superstars, including a legend, were honored in the first-ever NBA Awards.
Reigning three-point king Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets won the Sixth Man Award after averaging 16.4 points per game while sinking 37% of his three point shots.
Gordon sank 246 threes last season compared to his previous best of 141. He beat teammate Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors.
Houston head mentor Mike D’Antoni earned his second Coach of the Year Award after guiding the Rockets to the second round of the playoffs.
The Rockets posted a 55-27 win loss mark good for the number 3 seed in the tough Western Conference.
The Rockets won just 41 games before D’Antoni took over in Houston. He won the before in 2005 while leading the “seven seconds or less” Phoenix Suns.
D’Antoni won the award over equally qualified tacticians Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat.
As expected, Golden State Warriors’ Bob Myers won the Executive Award of the Year. Myers won the award for the second time.
Players voted Dirk Nowitzki as Teammate of the Year while Kemba Walker of Charlotte Hornets was bestowed with the Sportsmanship Award.
Boston Celtics’ guard Isaiah Thomas took home the Community Assist Award.
In the fan-voted categories, Klay Thompson bagged The Performance of the Year after scoring 60 points in three quarters in the Warriors’ game against Indiana Pacers.
Game Winner of the Year went to Russell Westbrook’s shot vs the Denver Nuggets.
Teammate Victor Oladipo scored the Dunk of the Year against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Assist of the Year went to the Warriors’ Draymond Green to Stephen Curry to Kevin Durant against the Pacers.
Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard won the Block of the Year against the Rockets.
Kevin Durant tabbed the Best Playoff Moment during game 3 of the finals series against the Cavaliers.
Best style went to Westbrook.
Boston Celtic legend Bill Russell won the Lifetime Achievement Award and the best trash talk of the night after dissing his presenters Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson, Shaquille O’ Neal and Dikembe Motumbo.
Also cited were Monty Williams with the Sager Strong Award; Patrick Beverly of the Houston Rockets with the Hustle Stats Award; and Carrie Berran with the Jr. NBA Coach of the Year.
By Erel Cabatbat