Although the official NBA awards were handed out in June, the NBPA Players Voice Awards were announced today on Twitter. As expected, Russell Westbrook’s historic 2016-17 season continued adding to an already historic résumé.
For those unfamiliar, the Players Voice Awards are voted on by the NBA players themselves, and often diverge from what’s given out by the NBA. The official description via the NBPA website:
“The NBPA Players Voice Awards are voted on solely by NBA players and feature many unique categories – Best Dressed, Player You Secretly Wish Was On Your Team, Clutch Performer and Best Social Media Follow – in addition to MVP, Best Rookie, Best Defender and many others. Importantly, there are awards that recognize icons of the game — the player who has the most Global Impact and the Most Influential Veteran.”
After the votes were tallied, Russell Westbrook will need to create some more space in the trophy cabinet. Check out his new awards, and listen to what his peers had to say about him.
Hardest To Guard
Westbrook was named “Hardest to Guard” by his peers — an award that makes a lot of sense for a guy that averaged a triple-double. The Thunder went where Westbrook took them in 2016-17, and he often single-handedly carried the team to victory. Who better to acknowledge this than the guys who lined up against him each night?
I mean. Everyone saw this coming.
Most Valuable Player
This particular award was no sure thing, as James Harden was voted NBPA MVP for 2014-15 — ahead of the actual MVP, Steph Curry. As the players themselves often define value differently from the media, there was at least reason to believe Harden could pull the upset yet again.
Not this time.
Westbrook was named MVP by his peers, a fitting and final bit of recognition for a season that may never be replicated. He broke Oscar Robertson’s record for single-season triple-doubles, averaged a triple-double, won the scoring title, was named league MVP, and the list goes on from there. Perhaps most incredible of all was his ability to make it all feel painstakingly normal.
With all of the questions surrounding his future, it’s a nice break to step back and appreciate last season once more. I give it 48 hours before Daryl Morey has called for the end of this awards show altogether.