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NBA Holds First Ever NBA Awards Show - This Is Sports Zone

On a night that featured Drake and was capped by Russell Westbrook winning MVP, the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks made their presence felt during the first ever NBA awards show. Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon beat out the Philadelphia 76ers duo of Joel Embiid and Dario Saric to win Rookie of the Year, while the Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni won the Coach of the Year award.

Westbrook was the favorite, and he was selected ahead of the other finalists, Rockets guard James Harden and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard. Westbrook became the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961/62 to average a triple-double for a season. He posted an NBA-leading 31.6 points a game, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists while carrying the Thunder to the postseason. He won the award over both Harden, who averaged 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and an NBA-best 11.2 assists, and Leonard, who averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists and was also a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award while averaging 1.8 steals a game.

Brogdon — taken with the 36th overall pick in the second round of last year’s draft — became the only non-first round winner in the common draft era (since 1966), according to Elias Sports Bureau. He had averages of 10.2 points and 4.2 assists this past season — the lowest of any winner — but became the second player in Bucks franchise history to win the honor, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969-70). He helped lead the Bucks back to playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Toronto Raptors. Brogdon, who played college ball at Virginia, is the first player to win ACC Player of the Year and NBA Rookie of the Year since Elton Brand in 1999-2000.

Under D’Antoni’s leadership, the Rockets made 1,181 3-pointers this season, breaking the Warriors’ record of 1,077 a season ago. He beat out Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “I never thought I would be in New York and have to thank the sports writers for winning Coach of the Year,” cracked D’Antoni, a former New York Knicks coach. D’Antoni was named Coach of the Year in 2004-05 with the Phoenix Suns. He is the eighth coach to win the award multiple times.

D’Antoni’s win was the second for the Rockets on the night, after Eric Gordon beat out fellow Houston teammate Lou Williams and Golden State Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala to with the Sixth Man award. Gordon made a career-high 246 3-pointers this season, fourth in the NBA. He made 206 of those off the bench, the most in a season in the 3-point era (since 1979-80). Gordon is the first Rocket to win the award.

The Bucks also weren’t done collecting accolades on the evening, with Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo winning the Most Improved Player award. Antetokounmpo, known as the “Greek Freak,” became the fifth player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals for a season since blocks and steals became official stats in 1973-74. Antetokounmpo, a four-year veteran, is the first Bucks player to win Most Improved Player. He beat out Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Utah’s Rudy Gobert.

Draymond Green, sporting a teal blazer paired with shorts, became the first Warrior to win Defensive Player of the Year. Green averaged a career-high 2.03 steals per game, leading the NBA. Green beat out two-time defending champ Kawhi Leonard and Gobert.

Bill Russell was honored with the first Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by league legends Abdul-Jabbar, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson. Russell engaged in some good-natured trash talk, pointing to his fellow greats and adding “I would kick your a–,” much to the raucous delight of the audience. Russell won 11 championships as a player with the Boston Celtics and went on to become the NBA’s first black coach.

Spurs vice president Monty Williams received the first ever Sager Strong Award for the courage he has displayed after his wife died following a car accident in 2016.He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.

Other winners included: the Warriors’ Bob Myers for Executive of the Year, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas for the Community Assist award, Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker for the Sportsmanship award, and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki for Teammate of the Year.

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