The 2019 NBA Playoffs start exactly 24 hours from when I am writing this and to say I am excited is an understatement. Every year I take in literally every playoff game and this year will be no different. The first two weeks are a grind, but it is totally worth it. On this week's episode of our podcast, I gave a brief preview of each series and made my predictions, so if you are here for that go listen to the pod.
This morning we finished our best documentaries list. This was a really fun one to work on and we are happy with the 40 films we came up with. Go check out our whole list and how we got to the final 40 here, and from there you can click on any you might like to read about. Huge thanks to my brother Austin who helped with that project and many of the write-ups for it.
Ok, before the playoffs start I wanted to give out my picks for the six major awards this season with a short description as to why I chose who I did.
Coach of the Year- Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks
Coach Bud made tweaks to the Bucks system that led to a 60-win season and a #1 seed in the east. There were lots of good candidates, such as Doc Rivers, Nate McMillan and Kenny Atkinson, but Bud stands out for me.
Rookie of the Year- Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Trae Young had a fantastic second half of the season but this award covers the entire year. Doncic was more complete and steady, so this award is his.
6th Man of Year- Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
This was perhaps the easiest award to give out. Williams was terrific all season and is the Clippers' go-to guy in crunch time. Fitting that Williams will win this award in the year that he became the the NBA's all-time bench scoring leader.
Most Improved Player- Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
What this guy has done to improve his game is remarkable. This is not a case of just more opportunity, Siakam has genuinely added skills to his game that has helped make the Raptors into a title contender.
Defensive Player of the Year- Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
In a year in which wing players like Paul George and Giannis Antetokounmpo made great cases for this award, it is a big man who I feel should take it home again. Rudy Gobert alters how teams play offense and you can sense the fear players have when he is around the rim.
MVP- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis or Harden? That is the question that this regular season has come down to. I think it is incredibly close, and what Harden has done this year should be recognized as a historically significant offensive season, but I am ever so slightly leaning Giannis. The separator for me was defense and team success. The Rockets got off to such a slow start and Harden is nowhere near the individual or team defender that Giannis is. Giannis Antetokounmpo, welcome to the MVP club.
Enjoy the playoffs everyone!