4 Rockets named finalists for NBA awards
By Ben Casey
The NBA announced finalists for several of its biggest regular season awards, and four Houston Rockets players made the cut, more than any other team.
The Larry O’Brien trophy will not go to the Houston Rockets this season. As it has in the past two years, it’ll likely end up in Cleveland or the Bay Area. But Red Nation can boast about something that no other fanbase can: more players from the Rockets will make appearances at the first annual NBA Awards show than any other team in the league.
Mike D’Antoni is a finalist for Coach of the Year, along with Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs and Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat. Pop will always be in the COY discussion, and Spoelstra did a fantastic job guiding his should-be-tanking squad to as close as you can get to the playoffs without qualifying.
However, D’Antoni will likely win the award. His hiring was met with skepticism from fans and pundits alike, questioning his strategy and lack of defensive-mindedness. He responded by leading his team to 55 wins and getting Houston past the first round for only the third time since 1998. His case for COY is pretty strong.
For Sixth Man of the Year, there is a two-thirds chance the Rockets take it. Both Eric Gordon and Lou Williams are finalists, along with Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors. Even before the trade that brought Sweet Lou to Houston, he and Gordon were the leading candidates. Since they joined forces, it’s only been solidified. There’s technically a 66.6% chance one of them wins but I’d put it closer to 90%.
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Of course, James Harden is a finalist for Most Valuable Player. He sits in the top three along with Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. Thanks to the extensive research by the guys at The Dream Shake, it’s clear now that Westbrook will win the highest individual honor in the league this year.
I could beat the Harden-should-win-MVP drum all day (and I probably will at some point this summer, stay tuned), but I’ll have to settle for a COY and 6MOY year consolation prize instead. There’s also a good chance that Daryl Morey will win Executive of the Year, by the way.
Either way, Houston Rockets fans can appreciate the fact that their team was consistently great this season even if they don’t hoist the trophy this June. They’re in a good place going forward with plenty of prime Harden for the future.
Next: James Harden earns All-NBA 1st team selection
To watch the Houston Rockets make appearances at the NBA Awards show, tune in to TNT on Monday, June 26.