The halfway point of the NBA Season has arrived, and it is time to hand out midseason awards. The NBA season has been up and down through its first half, and while some of these awards were hard to determine, others were not.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
The MVP of the 2019-20 NBA season will be Giannis Antetokuonmpo. This is hardly a spoiler, however. Through 42 games, the Bucks sit at 36-6 and are on pace to win 70 games as the league’s best regular season team. Antetokuonmpo has served as the engine of the Bucks offense, often operating as anything from their Point Guard to their Center. On the other end of the court Giannis has anchored their defense. The numbers back this up too. His 30/12.7/5.5 splits as well as 12.6 Box Plus Minus and .312 Win Shares/48 are all historically great. James Harden has made a case with his 37.8 points per game, however the Rockets currently sit in the fifth spot in the Western Conference, and the award has historically overwhelmingly gone to players on top seeded teams.
Rookie of the Year (ROTY):
The Rookie of the Year will be Ja Morant. Top draft pick Zion Williamson entered the season as the clear cut favorite for the award, but injury and surgery have sidelined him for much of the season. In his absence, Morant has taken the award for himself, averaging 18 points per game and 6.9 assists per game, leading the Grizzlies to the eighth spot in the Western Conference. Although many feel that Williamson is the superior player, in all likelihood he will not play enough games this season to be considered for the award (much like Malcolm Brodgon winning ROTY in 2017 over Joel Embiid.)
Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY):
The Defensive Player of the Year award is not as clear cut. Multiple players have made strong candidacies and their standings may change, but through the halfway point of the year, Anthony Davis has made the strongest case. He has anchored the Lakers’ elite defense, averaging 2.6 blocks and 1.5 steals, while posting a superb defensive rating of 100. Honorable mentions through this point in the season are Utah’s Rudy Gobert along with Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokuonmpo.
Sixth Man of the Year (6MOTY):
The Sixth Man of the Year thus far has been predictably, Lou Williams. The 6’1” scoring guard averages 19.9 points per game, leading the bench unit of the championship-contending Los Angeles Clippers. While Williams comes off the bench, he is a more than capable starter who is utilized by coach Doc Rivers as a bench piece with Montrezl Harrell, in order to let offensive superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George open the game. Despite not starting games, Williams is routinely in the closing lineups for the Clippers. Williams has previously won this award three times.
Coach of the Year (COTY):
The Coach of the Year race thus far has been close with a few good contenders but among the candidates so far, the Coach of the Year should be Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Spoelstra has made the most of a Miami Heat roster that despite having just one All-NBA level player currently sits in the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Spoelstra has led the Heat to a stellar 18-1 record at home and 28-12 record overall and has inspired breakout performances from Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson.