The NBA Playoffs have officially begun, which means regular season awards ballots have all been sent in and the league will begin handing out those trophies soon.
This season, the various awards races have been hotly debated, particularly Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year, which means there will be some fan bases and players upset when trophies get handed out. On Sunday night, just after Jayson Tatum polished off a thrilling Celtics win over the Nets in Game 1 with a spinning layup at the buzzer, the league released the three finalists for each award, allowing for the debates to rage on for a bit longer.
MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic
DPOY: Mikal Bridges, Rudy Gobert, Marcus Smart
ROY: Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley
MIP: Darius Garland, Ja Morant, Dejounte Murray
6MOY: Tyler Herro, Cam Johnson, Kevin Love
COY: Taylor Jenkins, Erik Spoelstra, Monty Williams
There aren’t a ton of surprises, although some will be upset by the DPOY and MIP finalists, and we now know the field for the awards after ballots have been tallied. The MVP race, in particular, features the three expected names but few fans are willing to agree on who should take home the award. DPOY is the same way, with all three players having made their case for why they should win publicly. Sixth Man and Coach of the Year are the two with the closest thing you can get to locks, as Tyler Herro has been the runaway favorite for some time, and Monty Williams is a heavy favorite off another sensational Suns season — and in part out of some potential voter regret for not giving him the award last year.