MANILA, Philippines – James Harden of the Houston Rockets won his first career NBA Most Valuable Player Award in the NBA Awards Show in Santa Monica, California on Monday, June 25 (Tuesday, June 26, Manila time).
Harden averaged a league-high 30.4 points a game to go along with 8.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.8 steals on 45% shooting and 37% from 3-point land. He bested 4-time MVP LeBron James and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Anthony Davis in the MVP shortlist.
The 28-year-old combo guard also led Houston along with new addition Chris Paul to a league- and franchise-best 65-17 record, topping the Golden State Warriors. However, Harden and the Rockets would also fall to eventual champion Golden State in a grueling 7-game series in the Western Conference Finals.
Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons was named Rookie of the Year ahead of Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz won Defensive Player of the Year, edging out New Orleans’ Davis and the Sixers Joel Embiid.
Meanwhile Coach of the Year honors went to Dwane Casey, who was fired by the Toronto Raptors after they were swept by Cleveland in the second round of the playoffs.
Casey’s honor came despite a successful regular season which saw the Raptors finish with a franchise-record 59 wins.
Widely admired across the league, Casey was snapped up by Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, roughly one month after being sacked by Toronto.
“When you get fired, which I did recently, you always doubt yourself a little bit, you think ‘Okay, can I do this? Do I want to do this again?'” Casey said.
“Then I interviewed with (Pistons owner) Tom Gores. We connected, he’s given me an opportunity. All you want as a coach or as a player is an owner that believes in you and trusts you with his franchise.
Full list of awardees:
- Most Valuable Player – James Harden, Houston Rockets
- Rookie of the Year – Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
- Defensive Player of the Year – Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
- Sixth Man of the Year – Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
- Most Improved Player – Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
- Coach of the Year – Dwane Casey, Detroit Pistons (formerly Toronto Raptors)
- Executive of the Year – Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets
– with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com