Tha Sports Junkies 101

Two Weeks Into the Season – Who Wins What Award?

Russell Westbrook



The drama and excitement of the 2016-17 NBA season is finally back and in full force.  Will Kevin Durant mesh with Steph Curry and the 73 win Warriors team of last year?  Can LeBron James keep hope alive in Cleveland after finally giving the city its first championship in 52 years?  Will Russell Westbrook try and take out his

Durant divorce frustrations on all 449 active players in the NBA?  It’s pretty safe to say we know the answer to at least one of those questions.  Now that we are two weeks into the young 2016-17 NBA season let’s look at the league and who has taken home the hardware thus far.

MVP – Throughout the history of the NBA there has been only one player to average a triple double for an entire season, “The Big O” Oscar RobertsonRussell Westbrook to date is averaging 31.1 ppg on .430% shooting to go along with 8.4 rpg and 9.5 assists.  Those numbers make him 2nd in the NBA in scoring and 3rd in assists so far in this 2016-17 NBA season.

Westbrook has always had the ability and shown he is more than willing to fill up the stat sheet on any night.  The question has always been do the huge numbers translate to team success and a winning record.  With “his” Thunder atop the brutal Western Conference with a 6-1 record two weeks into the season then the MVP award has to go to Russ.  What was that about coming back with a vengeance?

Rookie of the Year – Unlike the MVP discussion in which you can at the very least make a case for a few candidates, like the Houston Rocket’s James Harden, the NBA Rookie of the Year award two weeks into the 2016-17 NBA season has to go to Philadelphia center Joel Embiid.  The 7” foot former third pick out of Kansas in his first year for the 76ers is averaging 17.6 ppg on .483% shooting, 6.8 rp and 2.6 blkpg.  Oh and by the way, he is also shooting .667% from three point range.

Unfortunately for 76ers fans it look like they will have to endure yet another season of below .500 ball with the team currently piling up a 0-6 record and at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.  However, with the emergence of Embiid as a legitimate force in the NBA game and the hopeful healthy return of last year’s number 1 draft pick Ben Simmons the not so distant future does look bright for this strained fan base.

Defensive Player of the Year – The easy choose for this award should be two time winner Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs.  However, two weeks into the season the award has to go to the Golden State Warrior’s Draymond Green.

This season the virtual swiss army knife Green is averaging 10.7 rpg, 1.7 blkpg and 2.4 stlpg all while logging 33.1 minutes of playing time per outing.  However, it’s the non stat sheet numbers that should bring home the award for Draymond.  With the Warriors going with the ultimate small ball stretch the floor game plan there is no player in the league that is asked to do as much or means more to his team then Green.  He has not only the speed to come out and defend wing players but the size and aggressiveness to mix it up with the big boys underneath.

Most Improved Player – It is hard pressed to find a category more competitive two weeks into the season as Most Improved Player.  So far it is a possible two person race between Phoenix Suns teammates Devin Booker and Tj WarrenBooker is averaging 23 ppg up from his 14.6 career average, all while shooting .44% from the field.  Even with the impressive burst out of the gate by Booker the award two weeks into the season has to go too Warren.

So far this season Warren has upped his career scoring average from a mere 9.7 ppg to 20.5 on .464% shooting from the field and .375% from three.   Going into the season it was well known that Warren had the ability to score but the question was if he could commit to defense.  So far this season Warren has also upped his rebounding totals from 3.1 per game to 5.8 and his steals from .8 per game to 2.0, which makes him 11th in the league right behind two time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard.

Coach of the Year – Lets shoot for someone not named Greg Popovich for this one shall we, how about Charlotte Hornets head Coach Steve CliffordClifford has his Hornets off to a 6-1 record and second in the Eastern Conference.  The hard nosed coach is known for preaching a defensive mindset, being aggressive on the boards and minimizing turnovers.  Currently the Hornets are 4th in the association in defensive rebounding percentage, which allows his team to control the pace of the game.

In an Eastern Conference still reigned supreme by Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers the conference as a whole on paper has seemed to improve.  With the likes of the Hornets playing well you still have the Toronto Raptors coming back as a contender, the Celtics with the addition of Al Horford and Atlanta Hawks with what seems to be a happier Dwight Howard.  All of which makes the Hornets sitting in second place and only one game behind the Cavaliers all the more impressive.

Champions – This should be an easy choice; I mean how can you not pick the reigning champs in Cleveland, or the new super team in Golden State or even the model of consistency in San Antonio?  All of whom have only 2 loses or less so far this season.  However, two weeks into the season the somewhat surprising best team in the league is that team out in LA, no not the Lakers, the Clippers.

The Clippers are currently atop the Western Conference with a 7-1 record.  But the notoriously high flying offense is surprisingly not the reason the Clippers sit atop the conference.  The Clippers currently are middle of the pack in scoring at 104.3 points per game, good for 14th in the league.  They do however lead the league in defensive rating, allowing their opponents to score only 90 points per game and rank in the top five in turnovers force per game at 17.1.  These statics will become even more important once we get to the playoffs and the game slows down and turns into a more half court style of play.

Now two weeks is an awfully small sample size, let’s see who can sustain their success for another 75 regular season games.  Let the 2016-17 NBA season officially begin!