Updated: May 17, 2021
The Sport City Chefs are tipping their cap to the end of the NBA regular season with our latest article. We love to debate in the kitchen but wanted to handicap how this year’s awards shook out. Read Ty "Tymeless" Powell, Barry “The Villain” Jordan, Aaron “Serious” Simmons, and Dave "Jets" Cuthbertson as we break down our picks for this season’s NBA awards.
6th Man of the Year
Tymeless - Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz
Jordan Clarkson is having a season that most starters would want to have. Is instant offense off the bench is what separates this Jazz team from the rest. He is a walking bucket but the pressure of being a starter is off his shoulders and he's blossomed in his role.
Serious - Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz
Jordan Clarkson has been spectacular coming off the bench for the best team in the league this year, putting up 17.2 points. He played a huge factor in keeping the Jazz at the top of the Western Conference while Donovan Mitchell dealt with his sprained ankle.
The Villain - Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz
If Derrick Rose was on the Knicks all year, this would be a tight race. Clarkson is the second leading scorer on the league’s best team. His 18 points per game on 26 mins per night make him my favorite.
Dave Jets - Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz
He seems like he’s fit to be a sixth man and not sure how well he’d do as a starter, but having Clarkson off the bench has been solid.
Most Improved Player
Tymeless - Julius Randle, New York Knicks
Julius Randle hands down has improved to a 24 ppt / 10 rebs / 6ast on the #4 seed Knicks squad. His previous averages were 13 ppts / 7 rebs / 2 asts .
Serious - Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons
Grant’s production has gone up from 12.0 points to 22.6 points this season, his rebounds from 3.5 to 4.8, and his assists from 1.2 to 2.9. Some late-season injuries might have had him sidelined but this award is definitely deserved.
The Villain - Julius Randle, New York Knicks
Jerami Grant, Michael Porter Jr. and Christian Wood are legit candidates, and that’s about it. Anyone who doesn't pick Randle needs to get their head checked. He’s carried the Knicks to the playoffs for the first time in 8 years, improved every category (points, FGs, FTs, 3p, etc.), the only of the 4 with a legit MVP argument, his first All-Star selection and All-NBA argument. As Kendrick Perkins would say, carry on.
Dave Jets - Julius Randle, New York Knicks
The reason Thibs will win coach of the year, he consistently overachieved with a lot of minutes on him. Never seemed to feel any of the pressure either.
Rookie of the Year
Tymeless - LaMelo Ball
Ball's impact on the Hornets is on the court as a play-in tournament team, but his impact the franchise is even bigger. Finally made Michael Jordan a smart owner in picking the right player. His 6 assists per game shows the impact he has on the game and his flashy plays make them must watch.
Serious - LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
LaMelo Ball, Even though the injury LaMelo secured this award for not only what he's done before he got hurt but for getting the Hornets into the play-in tournament.
The Villain - LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets, Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
As a Villain, it's easy to not make a choice and pick both! Ball was the clear choice until a broken hand stopped his stellar season. Edwards got off to a slow start but averaging 19 points per contest has put him in the lead. But Ball’s 15 ppts / 6 asts / 6 rebs on a playoff team is hard to ignore, despite playing less games.
Dave Jets - LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Despite a “different” path to the NBA, he proved he belonged right away by recording a triple double at 19. There was no Zion this year and Ball was the best rookie of the bunch.
Defensive Player of the Year
Tymeless - Rudy Golbert, Utah Jazz
Rudy Golbert is the 2-time Defensive Player of the Year as he is top 3 in the league in blocks and rebounds yet again. He's the anchor of the best team in the league and his impact on the defensive end is rare to see.
Serious - Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Bam has the unique skillset to guard 1-5 plus plays in the East where the big man is more of a focal point of a team's offense. He ends the season averaging close to 2 blocks a game and anchors the Heat's defense.
The Villain - Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
I’m looking for new blood, and Ben Simmons is deserving. His perimeter defense is unmatched, he is a steals machine who guards the 1-4 positions and is the leader on one of the best team defenses in the league. Simmons proves that a rim protector isn't the only way to impact the game defensively.
Dave Jets - Rudy Golbert, Utah Jazz
It’s simple. He’s a good defender who gives his team more possessions from his prowess on the glass. He’s also a leader on his team and plays some of the best center basketball of anyone in the game.
Coach of the Year
Tymeless - Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns
Monty Williams has led a great turn around in Phoenix. After their bubble run of 8-0 and the offseason trade for Chris Paul, expectations were high. People predicted a #5-7 seed in the playoffs, but instead Williams guided the Suns to 51-51 record and a #2 seed.
Serious - Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns
Monty Williams, the Suns are BACK in the playoffs. Monty is the reason for this turnaround. a 51-21 record in the tough Western Conference is in itself a huge accomplishment.
The Villain - Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks
Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz, Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers and Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns are the best coaches on the best teams. Williams has led a great turn around, but has Chris Paul. Synder has no true elite player on the Jazz. But the job Thibodeau has done in New York is nothing short of a miracle, with Noel/Gibson/Burks as their big signings. The Knicks combined for 38 wins the last two years and finished with 41 and 10 games over .500. One of the best defensive teams with no DOY candidate, take notes.
Dave Jets - Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks
There is no other option. After decades of bad decisions, including executives, draft picks and coaches, Thibodeau has gotten the most out of a roster that is led by Julius Randle and the savvy veteran Rose.
Tymeless - Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Despite the injury midway through the season, Embiid was the clear MVP of the league. Embiid is top 5 in scoring and top 10 in rebounds per game with a crazy 28 ppts / 10 rebs per game stat line. His defense is top notch and he's the most deserving.
Serious - Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Honestly, a case can be made for one of 3 guys. What Nikola Jokić, Joel Embid, and Steph Curry have done this season needs no ringing endorsement from me. For the sake of being different, I’m going to give the nod to Steph Curry. This man has singlehandedly placed the Warriors into the play-in game. Has eclipsed 2,000+ points, and has secured the scoring title.
The Villain - Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
The race was much tighter before Joel Embiid went down with an injury. The Joker has played for the whole season and at a stellar rate. Even when Jamal Murray went down, the Joker’s play has remained consistent. His numbers are unreal: 26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 56.% FG, 39.8% from 3 point range. There’s nothing not to like about his game.
Dave Jets - Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have somehow quietly been a consistent contender but they are no longer quiet with Jokic putting together a career that Carmelo Anthony always should have had.