The first ever NBA Awards will be held at Basketball City of New York on June 26 at 9 p.m. with Drake serving as the reported host while Nicki Minaj, his capable label mate with bars full of sports references, is set to perform. Just one shy of Young Money’s Big 3, this ceremony is definitely worth watching, not just for the musical entertainment but particularly because of the talented nominees and curiosity over how well the inaugural award show will do. Check out our preview of the night’s biggest awards and potential winners.
Kia NBA Most Valuable Player
James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder are nominated. Although Leonard and the Spurs had the better season record, Harden’s PPG was greater than Leonard’s and The Beard led the league in assists. Westbrook, who led the league in PPG, is impressive overall, averaging a triple double for a whole season, something the NBA hasn’t seen in about 50 years.
Should win: James Harden Will win: Russell Westbrook
Kia Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors, and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs are the hopeful nominees. With all three having impressive stats, this one is a nail biter. Will Draymond’s defensive versatility overpower big man Gobert’s traditional style of shot blocking and rebound grabbing? Leading the league in blocks, there’s a hope Rudy will stop Draymond from the chance at a second trophy this year.
Should win: Rudy Gobert Will win: Draymond Green
Kia NBA Sixth Man Award
Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets, Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors and Lou Williams of the Houston Rockets are nominated. Although the Rockets have the better chance in taking this award, it might not happen. Gordon, who was traded mid-season from the Lakers, left the bench to average his career best in points per game. Although Iguodala is a lower scorer, he puts up numbers in several categories on the stat sheet including rebounds and assists.
Should win: Eric Gordon Will Win: Andre Iguodala
Other award categories include Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Most Improved Player, as well as a handful of categories which determine winners based on fan voting. Head to NBA.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to vote for these fan awards. Submissions end June 22 prior to the NBA Draft that same night.