With the regular season in the rearview mirror, we have obtained the official NBA awards ballots from media members who disclosed their votes privately with HoopsHype and others made public via social media and stories. We’ve tabulated 24 in total.
One individual award and several spots on the All-Defensive and All-Rookie Teams were separated by thin margins. The results of the poll are listed below.
Note: Numbers in parentheses show the percentage of points relative to the maximum amount possible for each award.
MVP: Nikola Jokic (Denver)
After a spirited MVP debate this season centered heavily on the trio of Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jokic is the frontrunner to win the MVP award for a second consecutive season.
The Joker wasn’t playing around this year and carried the Nuggets without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Jokic led the league in player efficiency (32.8), total rebounds (1019) and defensive rebounds (813), win shares (15.2), and box plus/minus (13.7), according to Basketball-Reference.
Jokic had a better statistical season than his MVP campaign last season in scoring average (26.4 to 27.1), field goal percentage (.566 to .583), rebounds (10.8 to 13.8), steals (1.3 to 1.5), and blocks (0.7 to 0.9).
David Aldridge publicly shared his MVP vote for Jokic on The Athletic and wrote, “I agonized over MVP. Agonized. I changed my mind more than once. I know the advanced numbers favor Jokic by a lot, and I respect that. But Embiid was so good this season, in a tougher conference.”
1. Nikola Jokic (89.17 percent)
2. Joel Embiid (67.08 percent)
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo (60 percent)
4. Devin Booker (22.92 percent)
5. Luka Doncic (14.58 percent)
6. Jayson Tatum (3.75 percent)
7. Ja Morant (1.25 percent)
8. Stephen Curry (0.42 percent)
8. Kevin Durant (0.42 percent)
8. DeMar DeRozan (0.42 percent)
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the only player to be voted as a unanimous member of the All-NBA 1st Team. It’s important to note that having eligibility at the forward position allowed both Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid to earn 1st Team honors. According to our media poll, Devin Booker is on track to earn All-NBA honors for the first time in his career. Luka Doncic rounds out the best five.
The 2nd Team is headlined by Ja Morant, who will earn All-NBA honors for the first time in his career too. Stephen Curry, who became the NBA’s top three-point shooter ever this season, will earn his eighth All-NBA selection. Kevin Durant will make an All-NBA Team for the 10th time.
Per our poll, LeBron James would make his 18th All-NBA Team. That’s three more than Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who are tied at second all-time for All-NBA selections.
It’s also worth noting Pascal Siakam had more total points than Rudy Gobert but lost out on a 3rd Team spot due to a positional crunch at forward.
Luka Doncic (98.26 percent)
Devin Booker (84.35 percent)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (100 percent)
Joel Embiid (84.35 percent)
Nikola Jokic (94.78 percent)
Ja Morant (63.48 percent)
Stephen Curry (51.30 percent)
Jayson Tatum (77.39 percent)
Kevin Durant (56.52 percent)
Karl-Anthony Towns (36.52 percent)
Chris Paul (26.09 percent)
Trae Young (26.09 percent)
DeMar DeRozan (33.04 percent)
LeBron James (31.30 percent)
Rudy Gobert (11.30 percent)
Others receiving votes: Pascal Siakam (16.52 percent), Jimmy Butler (3.48 percent), Bam Adebayo (2.61 percent), Jaylen Brown (1.74 percent), Dejounte Murray (0.87 percent).
Defensive Player of the Year: Marcus Smart (Boston)
This award was separated by the thinnest of margins, with Marcus Smart edging Mikal Bridges by three total points, according to the ballots collected by HoopsHype. If Smart wins the award, he’d be the first guard to win this category since Gary Payton in 1996.
The Athletic’s Josh Robbins publicly shared his vote for Smart and wrote, “The Defensive Player of the Year choice was the most difficult choice for me because how a player performs on that end is subjective. Even the people who know the players’ strengths and weaknesses best – the league’s current head coaches and assistant coaches – tend to offer widely divergent opinions on the subject. Marcus Smart’s defensive acumen, versatility and relentless effort are clear to my eye, but Mikal Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr. and others have those traits also. In the end, Smart’s status as the best defender on the team with the league’s best defensive rating is what cemented my choice.”
1. Marcus Smart (45 percent)
2. Mikal Bridges (42.50 percent)
3. Rudy Gobert (35 percent)
4. Bam Adebayo (22.50 percent)
5. Jaren Jackson Jr (19.17 percent)
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo (10 percent)
7. Robert Williams (4.17 percent)
8. Draymond Green (0.83 percent)
8. Matisse Thybulle (0.83 percent)
Only Marcus Smart and Mikal Bridges were unanimous selections as All-Defensive players, according to our HoopsHype media poll. It would mark the first career All-Defensive selection for Bridges in the process.
Jaren Jackson Jr., who leads the league in total blocks (177), blocks per game (2.3), and block percentage (7.4), is also a strong candidate to earn his first career All-Defensive selection.
Celtics center Robert Williams, who leads the NBA in defensive rating (102.4), and Raptors guard Fred VanVleet both are projected to earn their first All-Defensive honors as well.
VanVleet edged Warriors forward Draymond Green by two total points in the voting process.
Marcus Smart (100 percent)
Mikal Bridges (100 percent)
Bam Adebayo (78.26 percent)
Jaren Jackson Jr (71.74 percent)
Rudy Gobert (84.78 percent)
Jrue Holiday (54.35 percent)
Fred VanVleet (21.74 percent)
Matisse Thybulle (45.65 percent)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (67.39 percent)
Robert Williams (39.13 percent)
Others receiving votes: Draymond Green (17.39 percent), Joel Embiid (13.04 percent), Evan Mobley (10.87 percent), Dejounte Murray (6.52 percent), Herbert Jones (6.52 percent), Patrick Beverley (4.35 percent), Chris Paul (4.35 percent), Kyle Lowry (4.35 percent), Derrick White (2.17 percent), Gary Payton II (2.17 percent), Ayo Dosunmu (2.17 percent), Alex Caruso (2.17 percent).
Rookie of the Year: Evan Mobley (Cleveland)
The Rookie of the Year will be a two-man race to the finish between Evan Mobley and Scottie Barnes. Both players won 58 percent of their games played for their respected teams this season when each was on the floor. In our HoopsHype staff awards ballot, both players tied for the award.
NBA executives made their case for each player in a recent HoopsHype story.
“If you consider where the Cavaliers were a year ago compared to this season, you see why (Mobley) is touted to be the best player in this draft class and why the Cavaliers have made such a huge leap this season,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “At 7-feet tall, he has all the tools to become a generational talent. Combine his statistical season and Cleveland’s run into the postseason, there is no doubt he should be named NBA Rookie of the Year.”
“(Barnes) is the only rookie this season to rank in the Top 5 in every major statistical category, and he’s doing so with a combination of averages that put him among an elite class of rookies all-time, the most recent being Luka Doncic,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype.
1. Evan Mobley (78.33 percent)
2. Scottie Barnes (68.33 percent)
3. Cade Cunningham (33.33 percent)
Evan Mobley, Scottie Barnes, and Cade Cunningham were the only players to earn unanimous All-Rookie honors in our poll. Franz Wagner narrowly missed the same distinction thanks to one voter.
Cade Cunningham (100 percent)
Evan Mobley (100 percent)
Scottie Barnes (100 percent)
Franz Wagner (97.83 percent)
Jalen Green (73.91 percent)
Josh Giddey (60.87 percent)
Herbert Jones (56.52 percent)
Ayo Dosunmu (43.48 percent)
Bones Hyland (41.30 percent)
Chris Duarte (28.26 percent)
Others receiving votes: Jonathan Kuminga (15.22 percent), Davion Mitchell (8.70 percent), Ziaire Williams (6.52 percent), Jalen Suggs (4.35 percent), Alperen Sengun (2.17 percent).
Sixth Man of the Year: Tyler Herro (Miami)
This category had the most lopsided win, with Tyler Herro earning Sixth Man of the Year after leading the league in bench scoring (20.8). It’s worth noting Herro was substantially more efficient coming off the bench in 56 games compared to 10 as a starter regarding his field goal percentage (.462 to .376), three-point field goal percentage (.421 to .300), true shooting percentage (.580 to .472), and offensive rating (109 to 95).
1. Tyler Herro (95.00 percent)
2. Kevin Love (46.67 percent)
3. Cameron Johnson (27.50 percent)
4. Bogdan Bogdanovic (2.50 percent)
4. Luke Kennard (2.50 percent)
4. Jordan Clarkson (2.50 percent)
7. Kelly Oubre Jr (1.67 percent)
8. Jordan Poole (0.83 percent)
8. De’Anthony Melton (0.83 percent)
Most Improved Player: Ja Morant (Memphis)
While Ja Morant is the projected winner in this category, he’s been campaigning for his teammate Desmond Bane to win the award most of the season, and most recently on April 11 in a tweet. Both Bane and Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey increased their scoring average by nine points per game this season.
Darius Garland and Dejounte Murray both earned their first All-Star selections this season. Jordan Poole started for Klay Thompson during a large portion of this season and shot career-highs across the board.
1. Ja Morant (47.50 percent)
2. Darius Garland (36.67 percent)
3. Dejounte Murray (35 percent)
4. Jordan Poole (26.67 percent)
5. Tyrese Maxey (11.67 percent)
5. Desmond Bane (11.67 percent)
7. Miles Bridges (3.33 percent)
8. Robert Williams (2.50 percent)
8. Anfernee Simons (2.50 percent)
8. Jaren Jackson Jr (2.50 percent)
Coach of the Year: Monty Williams (Phoenix)
Several coaches led remarkable improvements in the win column for their team.
The Phoenix Suns had the best record in the league (64-18) under the guidance of Monty Williams. Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins led Memphis to an 18-game improvement this season. Ime Udoka and the Celtics went on a 26-6 run to close the season.
Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff won 22 more games this season as well. Despite finishing last in the media poll, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch won 23 more total games for the team than a season ago.
1. Monty Williams (85 percent)
2. Taylor Jenkins (60 percent)
3. Ime Udoka (13.33 percent)
4. JB Bickerstaff (11.67 percent)
5. Erik Spoelstra (7.50 percent)
6. Tyronn Lue (1.67 percent)
7. Chris Finch (0.83 percent)
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