From Least Valuable Player to non-play of the year: our NBA season awards
Find out who the big winners of the 2016-17 NBA season were. Note: the Golden State Warriors may make a few appearances
On Monday night, the NBA finally handed out its regular season awards, roughly 3m years after the last game of the 2017 finals. But why trust the league when you have us here at the Guardian? OK, sure, we will admit that some of the categories that follow are not official. In fact, a few of these awards might be more accurately classified as insults, but we assure you that they will combine to give you a perfect picture of the 2016-17 NBA season.
MVP: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
This has been one of the most contested MVP races in NBA history. The Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James is the best basketball player alive. His mere presence has swung the Eastern Conference every postseason since 2012. The San Antonio Spurs Kawhi Leonard was the best two-way player in the league and he seamlessly replaced the seemingly irreplaceable Tim Duncan. The Houston Rockets James Harden had his greatest season yet, silencing his many critics (including this one) with an offensive performance that was as aesthetically pleasing as it was brutally effective.
Still, what Westbrook accomplished in his first year playing without Kevin Durant was special. Completely unleashed, he averaged a triple double for the season, eventually breaking Oscar Robertsons record after his 42nd of the season. He carried his team in a way we hadnt seen a player do since the end of LeBrons first stint in Cleveland, mostly because the Thunder desperately needed to be carried by him. Westbrook received so little help from team-mates that he ended up easily leading the league with his 41.7% usage rate. Thats fairly valuable.