JOHANNESBURG - Russell Westbrook proved an obvious choice as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2016/17 season, receiving his prize at the inaugural NBA Awards gala dinner held in New York Monday night.
The 28 year old point guard from the Oklahoma City Thunder, was always likely to be a runaway winner after a season in which he became the first man in over 50 years to average a triple double (double figures in three of the main statistical categories) in a season.
Westbrook was a one man show at times for the Thunder last season inspiring them towards the play-offs where they eventually bowed out to James Harden and the Houston Rockets - Harden was also shortlisted for the MVP award.
Asked if he could top a season in which he averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, Westbrook said: “I don’t know. I get asked that question every year and I never know the answer. I just go out and play to the best of my ability, and then whatever comes from it, that’s what it is.”
Also honoured at an awards ceremony hosted by Canadian rapper Drake and featuring an energetic performance by Nicki Minaj, was Malcom Brogdon, named rookie of the year, the ‘Greek Freak’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the most improved player, and a natty attired Draymond Green, who was named defensive player of the year.
NBA Most Valuable Player: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA Rookie of the Year: Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks
NBA Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
NBA Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
NBA Sixth Man Award: Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets |
NBA Coach of the Year: Mike D’Antoni, Houston Rockets