I will admit I didn’t watch the whole 2019 NBA Awards show. In fact, I watched about 15 minutes of it and then just shut off my TV and went to play NBA 2K19 and just let Twitter and ESPN notify me who won which award. Now, it wasn’t because it was boring, I thought Shaq did a great job hosting the event and there were some funny skits from what I saw. Just being honest, I just didn’t care for it, because it was 11 days after the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Finals and NBA free agency starts this Sunday, so all the attention is on that.
If you don’t know about the NBA Awards show, they usually give out awards to players, coaches and executives based off the regular season. Here’s the thing though: the 2018-2019 regular season concluded on April 10. The NBA Awards show happened on June 24. Towards the end of the regular season, people are usually debating who should win these awards, but once we get into the playoffs, these awards slip our minds and we focus on who’s going to win a series and who’s going to win a championship. Also, when we are in June, fans care more about the NBA Draft instead of the awards. We talk more about the possible trades, rumors, scouting and more, instead of about who’s going to win what award. When the Finals end, everyone looks towards the future of their teams, not what happened back in the regular season almost three months ago.
When Derrick Rose won his MVP back in 2011, it was during the second round of the NBA Playoffs, which was three weeks after the NBA regular season concluded. Rose got to accept the award in front of his fans and was able to hoist that trophy up in the air for all of Chicago and his teammates to congratulate him. At the 2019 NBA Award show, the fans can’t be at the ceremony and even some players can’t attend unless they are invited by the league. The players just give a speech, accept the award and take pictures. Couldn’t these players do that in their stadium during the playoffs?
I know what you’re thinking though, “Not every player makes the playoffs.” Which is true! But, let’s look at the candidates for each award.
MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), James Harden (Rockets), Paul George (Thunder)
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert (Jazz), Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George
Most Improved Player: Pascal Siakam (Raptors), De’Aaron Fox (Kings), D’Angelo Russell (Nets)
Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams (Clippers), Montrezl Harrell (Clippers), Domantas Sabonis (Pacers)
Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic (Mavericks), DeAndre Ayton (Suns), Trae Young (Hawks)
Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer (Bucks), Michael Malone (Nuggets), Doc Rivers (Clippers)
Only four players didn’t make the playoffs: the three rookies and Fox. 14 out of 18 made the playoffs, so the chances of getting a winner in the playoffs are high. It’s unfortunate for rookies because it is hard to lead a team into the playoffs, but that’s the growing pains they must go through, but let’s look at last years rookie of the year candidates: Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell, and Jayson Tatum. All three made the playoffs last year, so there are possibilities where a rookie could perhaps still receive their reward in the playoffs.
The NBA must make a change on their award process because it’s a fun thing to debate and discuss, but it’s unfair to the players and the fans to wait almost three months after the regular season to see who has finally won. The interest in these award shows for the NBA seems to be decreasing every year, so I feel like the best thing for the NBA is to go back to their old days and let the player celebrate with his team and fans.