Thursday, September 20, 2018


Bucks’ Brogdon named NBA Rookie of Year, Giannis is Most Improved

  • Bucks-Pacers-Basketball-8

    Milwaukee Bucks' Malcolm Brogdon puts up a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


  • Bucks-76ers-Basketball-7

    Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo in action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, April 8, 2017, in Philadelphia. The Bucks won 90-82. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)


NEW YORK — The Milwaukee Bucks were double winners at the NBA Awards show on Monday night.

The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award, following Malcolm Brogdon’s victory for Rookie of the Year to open the show hosted by Drake.

Brogdon beat out finalists Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, both of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Brogdon was a second-round pick out of Virginia who led all rookies with 4.2 assists and 1.12 steals per game in helping the Bucks reach the playoffs.

He also ranked third in field goal percentage (.457), fourth in points per game (10.2) among rookies and became one of just five rookies in NBA history to shoot over 40 percent from beyond the arc while averaging at least four assists per game.

Brogdon joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969-70) as the only players in team history to win Rookie of the Year. He is the first player not drafted in the first round to win Rookie of the Year since 1966.

Embiid had the stronger stats than Brogdon, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.45 blocks.

 But Embiid was limited to just 31 games because of injuries.

Antetokounmpo set career highs in scoring (22.9 ppg), rebounding (8.8 rpg), assists (5.4 apg), blocks (1.9 bpg) and steals (1.6 spg), as well as field goal percentage (.521). 

He became just the fifth player in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks for a season and was the first player in NBA history to rank in the top-20 for total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. 

Despite playing nearly the same number of minutes per game in 2016-17 (35.6) as he did in 2015-16 (35.3), Antetokounmpo increased his scoring average from 16.9 points per game, to 22.9 points per game this season.

Here’s a look at some other award winners Monday night: 

MVP: Russell Westbrook won the MVP award after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles during the regular season.

The Oklahoma City All-Star joined Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for an entire season, leading the Thunder into the playoffs after Kevin Durant left for Golden State.

Westbrook beat out Houston’s James Harden and San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard for the league’s top honor.

He ended the two-year reign of Stephen Curry, who last season was the league’s first unanimous MVP.

Coach of the Year: The Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni was voted Coach of the Year, the second time he has won the award. He led the Rockets to 55 victories and a league record for 3-pointers in a season.

D’Antoni previously won the award while coaching Phoenix.

Defensive player of the year: Draymond Green is the Defensive Player of the Year, ending Kawhi Leonard’s two-year reign.

Green was rewarded for his do-everything role with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. He led the league in steals and on Feb. 10 had the league’s first triple-double ever that didn’t include points, finishing with 11 rebounds, 10 steals and 10 assists.

Leonard was trying to be the first to win three in a row since Dwight Howard. Utah’s Rudy Gobert was the other finalist.

Sixth Man of the Year: Houston guard Eric Gordon won the Sixth Man of the Year award in his first year as a reserve.

Gordon beat out Rockets teammate Lou Williams and former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala for the award given to the league’s top player off the bench.

Gordon set an NBA single-season record for most 3-pointers off the bench, helping the high-scoring Rockets make more shots behind the arc than any team in history.

Lifetime Achievement: Bill Russell received the first Lifetime Achievement award, responding with some trash talk and then praise for the big men who honored him.

Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo were on stage to present the honor to Russell, who won 11 championships as a player with the Boston Celtics and went on to become the NBA’s first black coach.

Russell pointed at them and said he would kick all their butts. After a long laugh from the crowd that was standing and cheering, Russell told the other centers that “you have no idea how much respect I have for you guys.”

The NBA Finals MVP award is named for Russell, who was one of the most dominant defensive players in NBA history.

All-Defensive Team: Golden State’s Green was the leading vote-getter for the All-Defensive team.

He was joined on the first team by Gobert and the Spurs’ Leonard — who joined Green as the finalists for Defensive Player of the Year.

Green received 99 of a possible 100 first-team votes from a panel of media voters. Gobert got 97 and Leonard received 93.

The Clippers’ Chris Paul and Houston’s Patrick Beverley were the two guards on the first team.

The second team guards were Tony Allen of Memphis and Danny Green of the Spurs. New Orleans All-Star Anthony Davis was the center and Antetokounmpo and Oklahoma City’s Andre Roberson the forwards.

All-Rookie Team: Philadelphia’s Saric and Milwaukee’s Brogdon were unanimously selected to the All-Rookie first team.

Both players received all 100 first-team votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters.

They were joined by Embiid, Saric’s teammate in Philadelphia, along with Sacramento guard Buddy Hield and Knicks forward Willy Hernangomez. There were four international players on the first team for the first time in the award’s history.

The second team was Denver’s Jamal Murray, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, the Suns’ Marquese Chriss, Lakers guard Brandon Ingram and Dallas guard Yogi Ferrell.

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