NBA Season Awards Explained

At the end of the NBA season there are a number of individual awards handed out to players who have performed well in a number of different categories. This a breakdown of each and how and why they are awarded.

MVP

This is the NBA’s most prestigious individual award handed out to the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. This is awarded to the player voted as the most valuable to their team in that season, so is not necessarily the NBA’s best player. The winner is voted for by a number of sportswriters and broadcasters from the US and Canada. They vote for their top 5 candidates; each first place vote is worth 10 points, second 7; third 5; fourth 3 and fifth is worth one point. Since 2010 an online vote by fans has been worth one ballot in the overall vote. The player with the most points wins the MVP Award.

Past 5 winners:

2014 Kevin Durant; 2013 LeBron James; 2012 LeBron James; 2011 Derrick Rose; 2010 LeBron James

Most Wins:

Kareem Abdul Jabaar (6)

Sixth Man of the Year

The Sixth Man of the Year award is given to the player who provides the most impact for their team off the bench. This can be not only statistically but from how he impacts the rest of the team and the game as a whole. This award is again voted for by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. For this award they only vote for three candidates with their vote for first receiving 5 points; second 3 and third receiving 1 point. Again the player with the most points receives the award.

Past 5 winners:

2014 Jamal Crawford; 2013 J.R Smith; 2012 James Harden; 2011 Lamar Odom; 2010 Jamal Crawford.

Most Wins:

Jamal Crawford; Kevin McHale; Ricky Pierce; Detlef Schrempf (each with 2)

Rookie of the Year

The Rookie of the Year award is handed to the Rookie who has performed the best in their class that season. Due to their being a limited number of rookies each year their is usually only one stand out candidate. Rookies are first year players who have entered the league through the draft or as undrafted free agents. The voting process is identical to the one for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Past 5 Winners:

2014 Michael Carter-Williams; 2013 Damian Lillard; 2012 Kyrie Irving; 2011 Blake Griffin; 2010 Tyreke Evans.

Michael Carter-Williams Rookie of the Year 2014
Michael Carter-Williams Rookie of the Year 2014

Most Improved Player

The Most Improved Player Award is handed to the player voted to have progressed the most since their last season in the league. For example a players statistics could improve drastically and become more of a factor on the court would lead them to becoming a contender for this award. The voting system for this award is the same as the previous two awards.

Past 5 Winners:

2014 Goran Dragic; 2013 Paul George; 2012 Ryan Anderson; 2011 Kevin Love; 2010 Aaron Brooks.

Most wins:

No multiple winners.

Defensive Player of the Year

This award is given to the player voted as the best defensive player of that season. This award is considered by steals and blocks but also how much defensive impact a player has on their team. This award has the same voting system as the Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man and Most Improved Player awards.

Past 5 winners:

2014 Joakim Noah; 2013 Marc Gasol; 2012 Tyson Chandler; 2011 Dwight Howard; 2010 Dwight Howard.

Most Wins: Dikembe Mutombo & Ben Wallace (4).

Joakim Noah Defensive Player of the Year 2014
Joakim Noah Defensive Player of the Year 2014

Coach of the Year

The Coach of the Year Award is awarded to the NBA Coach which has had the most standout season that year. This is given to a coach that has had a large impact on the success on their team. This is again voted by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters voting for their first, second and third best coaches.

Past 5 Winners:

2014 Gregg Popovich; 2013 George Karl; 2012 Gregg Popovich; 2011 Tom Thibodeau; 2010 Scott Brooks.

Most Wins:

Gregg Popovich, Don Nelson & Pat Riley (3).

All-NBA Teams

The All-NBA teams are voted for at the end of the season and are comprised of the NBA’s top players. The voting is again done by a group of sportswriters and broadcasters from the USA and Canada. Players receive 5 points for a first team vote; 3 points for a second team vote and 1 point for a third team vote. The five players with the most points make the first team, the next five players with the most points make the second team and the final three players with the most points make the third team. Each team consists of two guards, two forwards and a center.

Last years teams:

First: (G) Chris Paul; (G) James Harden; (F) Kevin Durant; (F) LeBron James; (C) Joakim Noah.

Second: (G) Tony Parker; (G) Steph Curry; (F) Blake Griffin; (F) Kevin Love; (C) Dwight Howard.

Third: (G) Damian Lillard; (G) Goran Dragic; (F) Paul George; (F) LaMarcus Aldridge; (C) Al Jefferson.

Most Selections:

Kareem Adbul-Jabaar & Kobe Bryant (15)

There are also All-Rookie Teams and All-Defensive Teams voted for each season.

All-NBA First Team 2014 selectee Chris Paul.
All-NBA First Team 2014 selectee Chris Paul.

These are the main individual awards handed out at the end of each season, there are also more lesser known awards that have not been covered in this article, they can be found here.

Next: NBA All-Star Explained.

If you have any further questions let me know in the comments below or email/tweet me from the links on the contact page.

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