Here is the first part of my official NBA awards ballot for that season. He led the team in scoring (23.4 points per game), was second in both rebounds (7.0 RPG) and steals (1.4 SPG), third in blocks (0.9 BPG) and fourth in assists (3.0 APG), making him the only member of the team to finish among the top five in those main statistical categories. Availability matters. My initial pass unearthed 40-ish semi-plausible candidates. On top of all of that, Tatum had the tendency to step up in the biggest of games, like when he scored 39 points over the star-studded LA Clippers during a double-overtime win, or when he dropped a career-high 41 points against the Lakers at Staples Center, or when he tallied 29 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists during a Game 7 win over Toronto during the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He added more change-of-pace craft on the pick-and-roll. He showed glimpses of advanced big man passing last season. Seth Curry was splendid, but he's a tick below this crew. Budenholzer should probably be more co-favorite than he appears to be. Embarrassing admission: I had Norman Powell No. He can switch in a pinch. But 9.7 points per game for a 21-45 train wreck isn't trumping Williams. Terence Davis did winning things for a winning team, but Clarke was better.Nick Nurse and the Raptors have hardly skipped a beat with the departure of Kawhi Leonard. No portion of NBA.com may be duplicated, redistributed or manipulated in any form. Rick Carlisle outthinks almost everyone. He has learned to modulate his head-down, full-speed-ahead style. He posted (by far) the best shooting season of his career, and was a secondary driver of Oklahoma City's insane crunch-time success; Schroder hit 24-of-47 in the last five minutes of games when the score was within five points, per NBA.com. It got lost as Toronto snatched control, but Milwaukee had chances to win Game 3 in regulation, overtime, and double overtime -- and to take an insurmountable 3-0 lead. They're right! He led Barkley in almost every category. He might have scored too much this season. Gobert also went through mini-funks, and that's enough for him to cede his throne to Antetokounmpo.As rookies, Zion Williamson and Ja Morant each provided a rare combination of skill and flair. He just got a little better at everything. The next read is to the big man rolling to the rim, but Leonard is a threat to that pass, too. 1. I'm not sure taking an average team and making them great is more "valuable" than taking a solid team and making them into some historical juggernaut. Jokic started the season out of shape and indifferent. 2. To opt out of the sale of your personal information as permitted by the California Consumer Advanced metrics are indistinguishable. From a team perspective, Tatum was without a doubt the most impactful all-around player on the Celtics’ roster. The Clippers have no one like Harrell. He milks every efficiency hiding in plain sight. By the end, he was the second-best defender in the league on a possession-to-possession basis -- yes, better than Davis. The race for spots two and three is murkier than usual, but the winner was easy. A total of 388 books were submitted for this year’s National Book Award for fiction. The judges are Randy Ribay, Neal Shusterman, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Joan Trygg (chair), and Colleen AF Venable. Here we go... Of all the strong individual performers that the Celtics had this season, there was one that stuck out among all others in his ability to carry the team on his back night-in and night-out. The Mavs are deeper, and outscored opponents by almost the same amount regardless of whether Doncic was playing. Harden was a pretty easy choice for No. 8 seed. Tatum's first three months were scattershot, leaving people wondering if the leap was coming at all. If you make a request through Lopez has one main job, and does it as well as almost anyone. But Nunn has good teammates, too. (He still can't hit pull-up 3s.) James Harden, Houston Rockets Davis, Update: Antetokounmpo third player to win DPOY and MVP in same season. I get nervous when he blames high-stakes postseason eliminations largely on unlucky shooting streaks, but he's not entirely off-base about last season's conference finals. Ingram canning 86% from the line after falling short of 70% in prior seasons is encouraging. Derrick Rose had a similar season for a horrible team, and his 3-pointer fell off. Lou Williams, LA Clippers, Update: Harrell keeps Sixth Man award with Clippers. Christian Wood came closest. A total of 311 books were submitted for this year’s National Book Award for Young People's Literature. In the Playoffs, Tatum was nothing short of magnificent. He recommitted to defense. Gobert defended the screener on almost 2,100 pick-and-rolls, compared to about 700 for Antetokounmpo. There is value in grasping the preferences of your roster -- especially of your stars -- and allowing them to do what they do best.ESPN Daily podcastMonday through Friday, host Pablo Torre brings you an inside look at the most interesting stories at ESPN, as told by the top reporters and insiders on the planet. It's just that many of the Bucks who bonked those looks don't have track records as above-average 3-point shooters. He's undersized, but he works on defense and offers some schematic flexibility -- including the possibility of switching. It will be a disappointment if Embiid doesn't win this award multiple times. Leonard inspires that same panicked hesitation. 3. That's fine. The Thunder struggled when Schroder manned the ship without Paul, but that isn't surprising considering the talent gulf between Oklahoma City's starters and its non-Schroder bench. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here. Opponents hit only 41.8% of shots at the rim with Antetokounmpo nearby, by far the lowest figure in the league, per NBA.com. Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. The Lakers gave up more points than you'd expect on pick-and-rolls when Davis switched onto guards, per Second Spectrum. That isn't the case in the reverse situation, though the Bucks remain quite good there, too. Donovan managed with limited depth. Siakam is one of the greatest development stories in league history: from 7.3 points per game two seasons ago to almost 24 this season as an All-Star and All-NBA candidate. Antetokounmpo was about to miss time because of a knee injury. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans Antetokounmpo 1. 3. However, the season was suspended on March 11 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I narrowed that to a dozen or so -- all fine choices depending on your taste. He is one of only two players (along with Jonathan Isaac, coming for one of these spots in his next healthy campaign) to average 1.5 steals and at least two blocks this season. But he logged about 250 more minutes than Leonard. It didn’t take long for Tatum to gain star status, as he earned his first All-Star nod Jan. 30. He leveraged Toronto's length and versatility -- from Siakam and OG Anunoby, to Chris Boucher and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Doncic, the most notable omission here, checked in at 29 and 9 -- a wash. Doncic doubled Lillard in rebounds. I don't know what to do with Year 2 guys, either. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz Portland is 29-37, and there are voters who disqualify players from mediocre teams. Budenholzer and his staff largely doubled down on what made Milwaukee great last season -- and improved all of it. The numbers were closer in 1997, but Jordan led several categories. 4 and 5. Erik Spoelstra blended system and star, and let Adebayo test the limits of his game. 3. You see ball handlers turn the corner on the pick-and-roll, load that crosscourt pass to the corner, and then pull it back when they realize Leonard is the weakside defender. Opponents squeezed out just over one point per play in 100 isolations against Lopez.). He is one of its steadfast cultural touchstones. NBA Privacy Center | Williamson in that alternate reality -- New Orleans in the playoffs -- would have presented an interesting case for spot No. The Bucks might be deeper, but the Lakers have Anthony Davis. If you're considering Williamson that seriously, you should probably give him the award outright; he was the best rookie on a per-minute basis. Do Not Sell My Personal Information | I defaulted to Williams. 2020 NBA awards ballot: Zach Lowe's picks for MVP, ROY and close races. 3. In this reality, with only 565 minutes in 19 games, putting him on the ballot felt like a cop-out. The winner in each category will be announced at a ceremony in New York City on November 18 at the 71st National Book Awards ceremony, which will be held exclusively online. Andre Iguodala should have won at least once in Golden State. These were his game-by-game scoring totals from one scintillating two-week stretch starting in mid-January: 34, 34, 61, 47, 50, 36, 48, 51. (What if the answer is actually Leonard?) Davis Bertans started fires on offense and defense for a bad Washington team. In doing so, he became the only player in the East to win the award this season other than eventual back-to-back league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Pick whatever numbers you want: counting stats, rate stats, nerd stats with weird acronyms -- Antetokounmpo leads in everything but assists and 3-point shooting. A few media members picking LeBron have invoked the MVP races in 1993 and 1997 -- when Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, respectively, unseated Michael Jordan. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: email@example.com. We’re handing out six awards throughout mid-October as we roll through this year’s Celtics.com Awards Series. He has the best advanced stats among all candidates. • The last spot came down to Leonard, Doncic, and Jokic.
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