NBA: FOG’s End of Season Awards

By Max Feldman

NBA awards are just around the corner now, so what better time to reflect on a chaotic and unprecedented season than now? FOG dropped two major pieces prior to the season with Top Breakout Candidates under 23, hitting the nail on the head with Lonzo Ball and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander but missing on Malik Monk. Secondly, the NBA standings predictions. Of course, the season was not played to it’s full extent, but FOG did nail some teams while missing on one headliner especially in the 76er’s.

The following list is not a prediction, but rather how FOG would cast their vote for these awards. However, I do not necessarily agree with how the All-NBA teams are stratified into positions, as FOG rarely ever denotes any player to a certain position, rather into guards, wings and bigs. But, I will follow the rules here to give a realistic lens.

I skip over the MVP conversation as Giannis should secure his back-to-back accolade simply due to his dominance in every statistical category. The Greek Freak led the leagues best team in points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. LeBron continues to age like fine wine and would likely win this award in most other seasons, but what Giannis is doing continues to re-write history. If the season was played to it’s full length, the margin between the two could have been far smaller if even existent.

  • Three All-NBA teams
  • Two All-Defensive teams
  • MIP
  • Coach of the Year
The All-Rookie teams were already published in detail.

All-NBA Team’s

First Team

C: Anthony Davis

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo

F: Kawhi Leonard

G: James Harden

G: LeBron James

Second Team

C: Nikola Jokic

F: Jimmy Butler

F: Pascal Siakam

G: Luka Doncic

G: Damian Lillard

Third Team

C: Rudy Gobert

F: Khris Middleton

F: Jayson Tatum

G: Bradley Beal

G: Chris Paul

The synopsis? This is extremely tough. The Kawhi versus Luka debate can go either way but Kawhi’s improvement as a playmaker and his defensive win shares (3.0) were the difference makers. It is hard to imagine that Damian Lillard does not make the first team after scoring 28.9 points per game with a historic month of January with four games over 40 points and 34 points per game, but Harden’s offensive ranks are astronomical and LeBron is neck and neck with Giannis for the MVP.

The second team was pretty clear cut. Jimmy Butler’s analytics were incredible, with 6.0 offensive win shares, .219 win shares per 48 on a career high usage rate of 25% also landing in the top 10 of the league in vale over replacement player. Pascal Siakam continues to evolve as he eclipsed the All-Star mark and as crazy as it may sound because he won the award last season, it is difficult to argue that the leap Siakam took this season is on par with the Most Improved Player candidates.

The third team has about 8 players in contention. Left off was Bam Adebayo, Ben Simmons, Kyle Lowry and Trae Young. Bam Adebayo should and and very well could be on an All-NBA team. It came down to Bam and Middleton, and Middleton got the edge because of his career season scoring the ball while just about completing the elusive 50/40/90 shooting campaign. Bam’s areas of impact were far more vast than Beal’s, but Beal’s 36 points per game tear in February on a 34% usage rate in 57 games all while landing 17th in the league in Player Efficiency Rating (23.1) was difficult emulate. Bradley Beal’s explosive season on the offensive end deserves accolades and All-NBA recognition, although the case is more difficult because of how poor his and the Wizards’ defensive ratings were. Both Middleton and Beal put up unmatched numbers on the offensive end and while Bam stuffed the stat sheet all season long, he will have to wait to eclipse the All-NBA mark. He surely will not have to wait too long.

First Team All-Defense

C: Rudy Gobert

F: Anthony Davis

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Defensive Player of the Year)

G: Ben Simmons

G: DeJounte Murray

Second Team All-Defense

C: Brook Lopez

F: LeBron James

F: Kawhi Leonard

G: Marcus Smart

G: Kris Dunn

The biggest debate here was the last guard spot on the first team. Kris Dunn has been getting the notoriety nationally but DeJounte Murray still remains my favorite back court defender league-wide. They had similar steal numbers with Dunn getting the nod there, but Murray’s contributions on the boards and versatility were enough to lock down the last spot. Murray was tasked with guarding more positions than Dunn and is surrounded by multiple negative defenders while playing in the more high powered Western conference. Outside that battle, Myles Turner and Patrick Beverly could have certainly broken the mark here. Lopez’s prowess in the paint was able to dictate the Bucks scheme which allowed their perimeter defenders to be more aggressive, resulting in a much higher defensive plus/minus. A higher defensive win share, higher steal percentage and total made Smart the pick over Beverly.

Most Improved Player

1. Brandon Ingram

2. Bam Adebayo

3. Markelle Fultz

The improvement in Ingram’s offensive efficiency were the difference maker. New Orleans is showing to be Ingram’s safe haven after coming into his own following the Anthony Davis trade. One of my favorite stat lines to check every night this season, BI’s ability to fluidly score at all three levels and take over games at just 22 years old was the surprise of the season. A 5% increase in usage rate led to a 6 point increase, over a rebound over an assist per game a massive rise in his shooting efficiency from deep and from the free throw line. He has ascended to the player we had hoped coming out of Duke and eclipsed the All-star mark for the first time of what looks like many more to come. Improvements on the defensive end were also a notable piece of his development.

This article as a whole will not show it, but I do love Bam Adebayo and how much he has grown in terms of versatility. He should be the Heat’s cornerstone and checks out analytically in nearly every category. It did not necessarily falls his way here but there should be no shortage of accolades in Bam’s future.

Coach of the Year

  1. Billy Donovan, OKC
  2. Nick Nurse, Toronto
  3. Erik Spoelstra, Miami

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