The NBA Awards Show is tonight on TNT and the Rockets are all over it. How will the night look?
The Houston Rockets are coming off their best regular season of all time, winning a franchise-record 65 games. They were also just one win away from the NBA Finals against one of the best teams ever assembled in the Warriors.
Due to their incredible season, they will get some recognition. Tonight, the second annual NBA Awards Show will air on TNT at 8:00 CT. The Rockets are heavily featured, with three awards finalists in the show.
Last year, they were in a similar position. Houston was getting quite a bit of recognition for their impressive 2016-17 season. Mike D’Antoni took home Coach of the Year honors and Eric Gordon won the Sixth Man of the Year. James Harden was a finalist for Most Valuable Player and was the runner-up. It was an overall success last year that might not be replicated this time around, but there are still plenty of things to be excited about to watch tonight.
Let’s get right into who the finalists are from the Rockets this season!
Next: Finalist No. 1
James Harden – Most Valuable Player
The Bearded One will be a finalist for the MVP for the second year in a row and three out of the last four years. He’s been a runner-up twice, but will likely be taking home the hardware tonight in Los Angeles.
This is a moment that Rockets fans have been waiting for for quite some time. James Harden, unless something crazy happens, will be holding his first MVP trophy in his hands. While you could argue that he deserved it twice before, none of that will matter for a little while after he officially wins.
James Harden is certainly deserving of the award. He averaged a career-high 30.4 points per game to go along with 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds. Harden had an added level of intensity of the defensive end, truly rounding out his game. He shot 45% overall, his best since his second year in Houston. The Beard also dropped a 60-point triple double, the first ever.
While the MVP award is truly about the regular season, he certainly didn’t underperform in the playoffs. Yes, he had some bad games, but overall he was right there helping to propel the Rockets as far as they could possibly go. His efficiency dropped, but his scoring and playmaking were still right there.
Next: Finalist No. 2
Eric Gordon – Sixth Man of the Year
Eric Gordon just finished another great year in Houston. Last season saw him pick up the Sixth Man of the Year award, and this year he is a finalist yet again.
Gordon averaged 18 points a night and was the third option for Houston this year. He upped his scoring and overall efficiency from his award-winning year last season and also shot the ball more often. He also stepped in for some key starts whenever Chris Paul or James Harden took time off with injuries.
While his 3-point shooting was worse this year, he still got hot after the All-Star Break, helping the Rockets take the No. 1 seed in the tough Western Conference.
He will be facing off against former Rocket and finalist last year, too, Lou Williams as well as a new face in Fred VanVleet. I expect Gordon to finish second behind Williams, as Sweet Lou was incredible this season and nearly an All-Star for the Clippers. Still, EG had an incredible season for Houston.
Next: Finalist No. 3
Clint Capela – Most Improved Player
The last finalist tonight is Clint Capela. He is looking to take home the Most Improved Player award after having an excellent season for Houston.
The big man really grew as a player in his first season with Chris Paul. CP3 has that effect on young centers, and this time was no different. Clint Capela played at a near-All-Star level and was a huge part of the success of the team.
Capela, on the year, averaged career-highs almost across the board. He put up 13.9 points per game to go along with 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. Since he is up for Most Improved Player, though, let’s look at how his stats from this season compared to last and how they compare to his career numbers:
As good as Clint Capela was for the Rockets this season, he likely won’t take home the award. He’ll probably finish second to Victor Oladipo, a role player turned All-Star for the Indiana Pacers this year. That is nothing to be ashamed of, though, as all of Red Nation knows how valuable Clint is to the team. He’s going to get quite a bit of money this offseason. Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets is also a candidate.
It should be a pretty great showing from the Rockets tonight in LA. While Coach D’Antoni maybe should have had a chance to defend his Coach of the Year title, it’s still nice to have three Rockets recognized for their seasons. Could we also see Daryl Morey get some Executive of the Year chatter?
Be sure to tune in tonight, we’ll have posts up about each of the awards!