The NBA is hosting its first (and hopefully only) annual official awards show Monday night in New York City. The event begins at 9 PM EST/6 PM PST on TNT, as we finally learn who takes home the season awards usually announced through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
After one of the most riveting MVP races in recent memory, holding off the official announcement until several weeks after the playoffs end is a massive misstep on the part of the league, as fans have all but forgotten and stopped caring about who won.
The new system also unjustly penalizes the three MVP finalists (Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard) by holding them up against fresher memories of Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Steph Curry in the Finals. This is especially true for Westbrook and Harden, both of whom ended their playoff runs on a sour note; detractors will judge them for their ignominious bow-outs even though the award only applies to the regular season. The NBA missed a huge opportunity by not announcing the winner of the award during the first-round series between the two MVP frontrunners, losing a great deal of momentum and hype after an otherwise standout regular season.
In addition to MVP and the slew of other media-voted awards, the NBA will also present a number of fan-voted awards in categories like Best Style, Dunk of the Year, Best Playoff Moment, etc. Here the Clippers have their only nomination in the night’s festivities, as Chris Paul gets a nod in the Assist of the Year category for this wraparound dish to Brandon Bass (which wasn’t even close to his best pass of the season).
CP3 seems unlikely to win against this Draymond Green-Curry-Durant sequence, so the Clippers’ only other shot at recognition is in the All-Defense team announcement (surprisingly this hadn’t already been revealed, even though All-NBA teams came out weeks ago). Paul has made First Team All-Defense every season since coming to LA, while DeAndre Jordan has appeared alongside him each of the last two years. Odds are at least one of them will get honored again.
Honestly, it’s hard to see how the league thought this awards show would be a good idea and not a hype-killing fiasco like it turned out to be this year. Hopefully this is the last time they try something like this.