The NBA has officially announced all the 2020-21 regular season award winners. From Most Valuable Player to Rookie of the Year, all award winners defied the odds to help their teams achieve great things.
Most Valuable Player
Winner: Nikola Jokić
Runner-ups: Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry
It has been over 20 years since a center has won the MVP award, but Jokić proved all the doubters wrong with a dominant season this year.
Jokić averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists during the season and accumulated a good number of triple-doubles along the way. On top of that, he led the Nuggets to the third seed in the Western Conference.
As mentioned earlier, Jokić became the first center to win the award since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000. He also became the first Denver Nugget to win the award and was the first Serbian-born player to win the award.
In the end, Jokić ended up receiving a total of 91 first-place votes and a collective total of 971 points. For a breakdown of the award click here.
Defensive Player of the Year
Winner: Rudy Gobert
Runner-ups: Ben Simmons and Draymond Green
For the third time in his career, Rudy Gobert won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. Gobert led the league in defensive rebounds at 8.4 per game and was also ranked second in blocked shots at over 2.1.
Gobert played a key role in the Utah Jazz’s defensive success. He was credited with the most impact when it came to defending field goals and holding opponents to a low shooting percentage.
Due to his huge defensive presence, the Jazz were able to secure the No. 1 seed in the West. In addition to winning the award, he was also named to the NBA all-defensive first team. Gobert ended up receiving a total of 84 first-place votes and a collective total of 464 points. For a breakdown of the award click here.
Sixth-Man of the Year
Winner: Jordan Clarkson
Runner-ups: Joe Ingles and Derrick Rose
In a role he never really wanted, Jordan Clarkson ended up having one of the most impressive seasons coming off the bench, which ultimately ended up winning him the sixth-man of the year award.
Clarkson averaged a career-high of 18.4 points, 4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in just over 27 minutes of action for the Jazz. In addition to that, Clarkson also had a career-high of 208 three-pointers made.
One interesting thing to note is that Clarkson was also joined by his teammate Joe Ingles in this award race. Ingles’ impact coming off the bench helped the Jazz in securing the No. 1 spot in the West.
Clarkson ended up receiving a total of 65 first-place votes and a collective total of 407 points. For a breakdown of the award click here.
Coach of the Year
Winner: Tom Thibodeau
Runner-ups: Monty Williams and Quin Snyder
For the first time in over eight years, the New York Knicks made it to the playoffs. A big reason why they made it is because of head coach Tom Thibodeau. Last year the Knicks finished 12th in the East with a record of 21-45. This year, under Thibodeau, they finished 4th in the East with a record of 41-31 and made it to the NBA playoffs.
Not only did Thibodeau lead the Knicks to the playoffs, he also made everyone else around him better, including Julius Randle, who ended up winning most improved player of the year and even became an NBA all-star as well.
Thibodeau ended up receiving a total of 43 first-place votes and a collective total of 351 points. For a breakdown of the award click here.
Most Improved Player of the Year
Winner: Julius Randle
Runner-ups: Jerami Grant and Michael Porter Jr.
It was no surprise that Julius Randle won this award. Randle averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6 assists for the Knicks this season.
Due to his massive success this year, he was able to help the Knicks secure the 4th spot in the Eastern Conference and helped them achieve their first playoff berth in over eight years.
Randle dominated the voted by getting a total of 98 first-place votes and a collective total of 493 points. For a breakdown of the award click here.
Rookie of the Year
Winner: LaMelo Ball
Runner-ups: Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton
In one of the most impressive rookie seasons, LaMelo Ball came out and silenced all doubters by having a dominant season and winning the Rookie of the Year award.
Ball had a tremendous rookie campaign averaging 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals a game for the Hornets. Ball, who was drafted 3rd overall in his class, managed to get three NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Awards and was selected to the NBA Rising-Star roster.
On top of that, he became the youngest player in the NBA history to record a triple-double at only 19 years and 140 days old. Ball received a total of 84 first-place votes and a collective total of 465 points. For a breakdown of the award click here.
All the winners were rightfully deserving of each of their individual awards and helped contribute to make their teams better in many different ways. All eyes now turn to the playoffs to see who will be crowned champion of the league and who will win the most coveted individual award of all: Finals MVP.