NBA

Bad timing causes NBA awards show to be late to its own party

Jay Asser 27/06/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
MVP: Russell Westbrook. Picture: Getty Images.

There’s a lot that the NBA gets right, more so than almost every other sport. Their freshly minted awards show, however, is not one of them.

The league’s bloated, long-overdue night to announce the winners of its major individual honours wasn’t the tension-filled, entertainment spectacle it was billed as, but rather an inevitable snoozefest.

The issue with the show has less to do with its concept and more to do with its timing.

Interactions and style are strong suits of the NBA, so bringing together the league’s best and most recognisable players and allowing their personalities to shine should theoretically be a slam dunk.

It’s difficult to feign interest though when no one cares – from the fans to the players themselves.

While it was certainly cool to see Russell Westbrook give a teary and heartfelt thanks to his family, Bill Russell direct some friendly trash talk towards fellow legends and James Harden lustily gaze at Nicki Minaj during her performance, but the general vibe felt simultaneously try-hard and indifferent.

That’s going to happen when you announce regular season awards in late June, weeks after the Finals concluded and sandwiched between the draft and free agency. Everyone has moved on to the offseason, so it’s hard to get up for awards that we stopped debating nearly two months ago.

In the inaugural edition, the NBA also avoided what could end up being an awkward situation in future shows, particularly when it comes to the MVP: a player accepting an award either after being trading (unlikely) or days before sending shockwaves by switching teams in free agency (possible).

Who knows how long the NBA will keep the production going, but considering the reception to it and how woke the league is, it’ll eventually be axed. Not even Drake can give this show more life.

Most popular

Related Tags

NBA

NBA Awards: Russell Westbrook picks up MVP title as Draymond Green is named Defensive Player of the Year

Sport360 staff 27/06/2017

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, who became only the second player in NBA history to average a triple double for an entire season, was named the NBA Most Valuable Player at the inaugural NBA Awards show.

Westbrook defeated fellow finalists James Harden of Houston and Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio to claim the season MVP award for the first time in ceremonies at New York.

[inlinescript1]

The 28-year-old guard who helped the Americans win 2012 London Olympic gold averaged a league-high 31.6 points plus 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists a game, matching Oscar Robertson from 1962 with double digits in three statistical categories for a full season. "To everybody in Oklahoma City who helped me go out every night and compete at a high level, I thank you for that," said Westbrook, who invited teammates on stage with him. "It was an amazing season for me but without these guys none of it would have been possible. This award is not for me. It's for all of us." Westbrook thanked "all my fans all across the world who appreciate me" and cried as he thanked his wife and parents. "I couldn't do none of this without you guys," he said. "I can't say thank you enough." Westbrook also won awards for best style and from fans for the game winner of the year. Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks won the Most Improved Player award, beating out Gobert and Serbian forward Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. Another Bucks standout, Milwaukee guard Malcolm Brogdon, won Rookie of the Year honors and thanked his teammates. "They believe in me," he said. "They have given me tremendous opportunity... This is a testament to guys who get overlooked. You can always achieve your dreams if you have faith and you sacrifice." Cameroon center Joel Embiid and Croatia's Dario Saric, both with Philadelphia, were losing finalists for the top newcomer award. Golden State forward Draymond Green was voted the Defensive Player of the Year, defeating co-finalists Leonard and French center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz. "This isn't an individual award," Green said. "There are five guys on the floor every time. I can't do this all by myself so I appreciate them." Golden State's Bob Myers was named Executive of the Year. Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon was named the NBA's top reserve player, taking the Sixth Man Award. "We just had an unbelievable year," Gordon said. "I would like to thank my teammates and my coaches for making my job easy this year." Houston's Mike D'Antoni was named Coach of the Year over San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Miami's Erik Spoelstra. "This is the ultimate team award," D'Antoni said. "You do not win this alone." German star Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas was named Teammate of the Year in voting by players, the 39-year-old forward expected to be back with the Mavericks next season. "My teammates are there to support me and push me and motivate me," said Nowitzki. "I still enjoy to compete. Hopefully, I'll be around a couple more years." Other fan-voted awards went to Leonard for block of the year, Golden State's Klay Thompson for performance of the year in a 60-point effort, Golden State's Kevin Durant for best playoff moment for a 3-pointer in game three of the NBA Finals, Golden State's Stephen Curry and Green for assist of the year and Oklahoma City's Victor Oladipo for dunk of the year.
Provided by AFP Sport

Most popular

Related Sections

NBA

Bulls failed to get enough back for Butler

Jay Asser 23/06/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Seeing red: Jimmy Butler. Picture: Getty Images.

The fact that Jimmy Butler will play somewhere other than Chicago this coming season isn’t much of a surprise. That his new home is Minnesota and he was sold for pennies on the dollar, however, is.

No one should blame the Chicago Bulls’ for deciding to “set a direction”, as vice president of basketball operations John Paxson described it. Aside from the (fool’s gold) optimism gained by taking a 2-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs before Rajon Rondo suffered a thumb injury, the Bulls had no reason to think they were in position to contend.

And look no further than what Indiana are going through right now for what being ‘patient’ gets you with a star on a middling team.

In practice, acquiring assets for Butler was the right move. The execution… that’s where Chicago made their mistake.

In no universe should a 27-year-old star entering his prime, with two years left on his team-friendly contract that pays less than $20 million per season, be traded for an underwhelming package of Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and essentially a pick swap of No16 for No7.

Where to start? How about with the pick swap. For a team in need of as many assets as possible, the Bulls should have drawn a line when proposed with the idea of surrendering their own selection.

It just has the feeling of a clueless front office making a concession to get the deal done. Teams should be scrap and claw for every negotiating point in a trade and from the outside, it looks like Chicago failed to do that.

Depending on your assessment of Lauri Markkanen as a prospect, you could easily criticise the Bulls for how they used that No7 pick. But that’s besides the point because the trade was already a fleecing before the Arizona product donned a Chicago cap on stage with commissioner Adam Silver.

As far as LaVine and Dunn go, the former is still recovering from a season-ending ACL tear, while the latter showed little offensive promise in his rookie season. The Bulls better hope they hit on at least one, otherwise they’re looking at a potential sixth man who can score and not provide much else, along with a rotation player, respectively.

On the flip side, Chicago’s loss is Minnesota’s gain.

Butler gives the Timberwolves a three-headed core to build around, accompanying Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

He also reunites with former coach Tom Thibodeau, who was in need of a veteran presence to help shape the young guys and cultivate a defensive edge which was the signature quality of his Bulls teams.

As with any trade that involves picks and young players, the true verdict is out and won’t be known for years. Nevertheless, this is as one-sided as a deal for a star gets.

Most popular

Related Sections