NBA Midseason Awards

NBA+Midseason+Awards

Chris Samuel, theSCORE Co-Editor

In the shortened NBA season, hot debates and discussions are centered around every individual award. Here some of the midseason winners of the 2020-21 NBA season so far.

Most Valuable Player: Joel Embiid, Center, Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid’s nickname is “The Process” and he has used that to be one of the top centers in the league. This season, the Philadelphia 76ers are atop the Eastern Conference and Embiid has been a good reason why. Embiid is averaging 29 points and 11 rebounds a game while shooting 52 percent from the field. His contributions along with other 76ers star Ben Simmons and new coach Doc Rivers have helped Philadelphia have the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Embiid would be the first center since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000 to win MVP. Embiid is also set to make his fourth All-Star appearance.

Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Center, Utah Jazz

As the center for the Utah Jazz, Gobert has been one of the best rim protectors in the league. Gobert is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and is making a strong case for a third one this year. Gobert is averaging 13.2 rebounds per game and 2.8 blocks per game, which both rank in the top three in the league. Along with star guard Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz are currently at the top of the Western Conference. Gobert would be only the fourth player in NBA history to win the award three times. Gobert is set to play  his second All-Star appearance.

Rookie of the Year: LaMelo Ball, Guard, Charlotte Hornets

The 3rd overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft is already making an immediate impact for the Charlotte Hornets. So far, Ball is averaging 15.7 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game and 6.4 assists per game, which all lead the league for rookies. With Ball’s contributions, the young Charlotte Hornets sit at the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Ball hopes to lead the Hornets to their first postseason appearance since 2016.

Most Improved Player: Julius Randle, Forward, New York Knicks

Randle is having a career year on a surging, young New York Knicks team. Randle is averaging 23.1 points per game along with 10.9 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists per game, which are both career highs. Randle has the veteran leader for the Knicks and his contributions have them in the playoff picture for the first time since 2013. Randle is also set to play in his first All-Star game.

Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Clarkson, Guard, Utah Jazz

Clarkson has been a huge spark plug for the Utah Jazz. As a key reserve, Clarkson is averaging 18.2 points per game, which is his career high. Clarkson’s scoring has been one the main reasons that the Jazz have the third best offensive team in the league at 116 points per game. In his role, Clarkson has also been very efficient, playing 26 minutes a game for Utah.

Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks

In his first year of coaching the New York Knicks, Thibodeau has already brought a culture shift to the team. Thibodeau takes over a young team that includes R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson with key veteran Julius Randle. The Knicks have the best defensive team in the league allowing 104 points per game and have the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Thibodeau hopes to lead the Knicks to their first postseason since 2013.