NBA Awards 2017: Russell Westbrook, Draymond Green take home hardware

The inaugural NBA Awards yielded a surprisingly emotional, exciting and funny night. But more importantly, an MVP was crowned.

Most Valuable Player

  • Russell Westbrook (guard, Oklahoma City Thunder)
  • James Harden (guard, Houston Rockets)
  • Kawhi Leonard (forward, San Antonio Spurs)

Westbrook, who put together one of the most historic seasons in NBA history, became the second player to ever average a triple-double throughout an entire season and recorded an NBA record 42 triple-doubles, surpassing Oscar Robertson's longstanding mark of 41.

Rookie of the Year

  • Joel Embiid (center, Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Malcolm Brogdon (guard, Milwaukee Bucks)
  • Dario Saric (forward, Philadelphia 76ers)

Brogdon, the No. 36 pick in last year's draft, had a rock solid rookie campaign and never seemed overwhelmed by the early trust coach Jason Kidd showed in him. He averaged 10.2 points, 4.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds on the season as the Bucks returned to the postseason. 

Defensive Player of the Year

  • Kawhi Leonard (forward, San Antonio Spurs)
  • Rudy Gobert (center, Utah Jazz)
  • Draymond Green (forward, Golden State Warriors)

Green, the anchor of Golden State's championship-winning defense, earned the award after finishing second two years in a row. The Warriors finished the regular season with the second-best defense in the NBA (101.1 points allowed per 100 possessions).

Sixth Man of the Year

  • Eric Gordon (guard, Houston Rockets)
  • Andre Iguodala (forward, Golden State Warriors)
  • Lou Williams (guard, Los Angeles Lakers/Houston Rockets)

Eric Gordon ensured that once James Harden and the rest of the Rockets starters got a breather, there was hardly any let up in the team's offensive firepower. Gordon, in his first year with the Rockets, averaged 16.2 points and shot 37 percent from the three-point line.

Most Improved Player

  • Rudy Gobert (center, Utah Jazz)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (forward, Milwaukee Bucks)
  • Nikola Jokic (center, Denver Nuggets)

Of all the players who took steps forward this season, it was Antetokounmpo — who took gazelle-esque strides — that stood out the most. Not only did he increase his per-game averages across the board (16.9 points to 22.9; 7.7 rebounds to 8.8; 4.3 assists to 5.4; 50.6% shooting to 52.1%), but Antetokounmpo emerged as a legitimate NBA superstar while leading the Bucks to the franchise's winningest season since 2010.

Coach of the Year

  • Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat)
  • Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs)
  • Mike D'Antoni (Houston Rockets)

D'Antoni, coaching his first season in Houston, led the Rockets to a 55-27 record — a 14-win turnaround from last season. The Rockets boasted the second-best offensive rating in the NBA (111.8 points per 100 possessions) and made an NBA record 1,181 three-pointers.

The winners of the six new fan-voted awards were announced during the show, too. 

Dunk of the Year

► Victor Oladipo over Dwight Howard



Block of the Year

► Kawhi Leonard blocks James Harden



Assist of the Year

► Draymond Green to Stephen Curry to Kevin Durant


Game-winner of the Year

► Russell Westbrook vs. Denver



Performance of the Year

► Klay Thompson's 60 points in three quarters



Best Playoff Moment

► Kevin Durant's dagger vs. Cleveland




© 2017 USA TODAY


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