Either James Harden, LeBron James or Anthony Davis will be this year’s NBA MVP, it was revealed Wednesday night on TNT prior to Game 2 of the Western Conference finals between Golden State and Houston.
Harden, widely considered the favorite to take home the hardware, led Houston to a franchise-best 65 wins, but James put together what was arguably the best season of his career while Davis kicked his game into another gear following DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending injury in January.
The finalists for the rest of the NBA’s 2017-18 regular-season awards — Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player — were also announced during the hour-long special.
The Rookie of the Year finalists are Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Boston’s Jayson Tatum. While Simmons and Mitchell are the two favorites, all three played huge roles on their respective teams in both the regular season and the playoffs. Though postseason success has no impact on the award, Tatum’s Celtics are just two wins away from a trip to the NBA Finals.
The award winners will be revealed at the second annual NBA awards show on June 25. The event will take place in Santa Monica, Calif. and will air live on TNT.
The award candidates were voted on by a panel of media members before the start of the playoffs.
The rest of the award finalists are below:
Coach of the Year
- Boston’s Brad Stevens
- Utah’s Quin Snyder
- Toronto’s Dwane Casey (who was fired last week)
Defensive Player of the Year
- New Orleans’ Anthony Davis
- Utah’s Rudy Gobert
- Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid
Sixth Man of the Year
- Houston’s Eric Gordon
- Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams
- Toronto’s Fred VanVleet
Most Improved Player
- Indiana’s Victor Oladipo
- Houston’s Clint Capela
- Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie