The finalists for most of the NBA Awards were recently announced, and as expected, there are several Houston Rockets that have made the short list.
First, of course, James Harden was announced as a finalist for the MVP trophy. Unfortunately, we’ve already done the leg work here at TDS to deduct that The Beard will finish in second place to Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Next, head coach Mike D’Antoni was named a finalist for Coach of the Year honors. He joins Gregg Popovich of the Spurs and Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat. All three are deserving candidates, but you have to think this one goes to D’Antoni. The Rockets exceeded all expectations this year, and D’Antoni’s decision to put James Harden at the point was perhaps the best overall personnel decision we’ve seen in a long time.
Finally, the Rockets also have two candidates for the Sixth Man of the Year award, though only one of them played the majority of the year in Houston. Eric Gordon had a fine season coming off the bench and as the Rockets’ secondary scorer. He finished the season averaging 16.2 points per game, his most since 2013, and shot 40.6 percent from beyond the arc.
The Rockets’ Lou Williams is also a finalist, but he played for the Lakers up until the trade deadline, doing his damage primarily for the Lake Show. Williams had some great moments with the Rockets, but he was also inconsistent once he came to Houston, and he was also more like a seventh man than a sixth.
The third candidate is Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors. He had the typical Iggy season, providing a rugged, veteran, defensive presence for the Dubs, along with his usual minimal scoring. It was a good year for Iggy, but you have to feel Gordon is still the favorite for this award.
With the Rockets appearing as finalists on so many lists, it’s a reaffirmation of how successful this season actually was. The year did end on a disheartening note, but it doesn’t take away from how much fun basketball was in H-town this year and what this group accomplished.
You can see the rest of the award nominees here.