Before we can completely close the book on the 2018-19 NBA season, there is one final order of business to attend to: handing out the hardware.
Months of debate and anticipation will come to an end on Monday night at the 2019 NBA Awards Show, which will be hosted by Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
Many of the top players in the league will be in attendance as heralded annual awards like MVP and Rookie of the Year are handed out to their rightful owners. Other awards to be given out include Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man of the Year and Coach of the Year. In addition to the major awards, they will also announce the winner for Executive of the Year (Masai Ujiri, anyone?).
It’s been a while since the regular season ended, so a brief refresher regarding all of the major awards and finalists seems appropriate. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about the awards show.
How to watch 2019 NBA Awards Show
- Date: Monday, June 24
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Barker Hangar, Santa Monica, California
- Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
- TV: TNT
Below is a list of every NBA award plus the finalists for each category:
Most Valuable Player
Paul George had an excellent season in Oklahoma City, but the league’s highest individual honor is expected to go to either Harden or Antetokounmpo. The former had a historic offensive season while leading the league in scoring for the second time, while the latter was the best player on the league’s best team record-wise. If Antetokounmpo wins, it will be his first-ever MVP award. For Harden, it would be his second straight.
Prediction: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Rookie of the Year
The 2018 NBA Draft boasted a very promising crop of rookies, and the class didn’t disappoint. Luka Doncic generated headlines almost immediately with his flashy, yet mature play, while Trae Young started slow, but came on extremely strong during the second half of the season when he often looked like a future All-Star. In Phoenix, No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton had a bit more quiet — but still solid — season. All three project to be key pieces for their respective franchises moving forward, but only one will walk away with trophy on Monday night.
Prediction: Luka Doncic
Defensive Player of the Year
Antetokounmpo, George and Gobert are all excellent defenders, and deserving candidates. Gobert is one of the league’s top rim protectors, while George is one of the top perimeter players on the defensive side of the ball. Antetokounmpo, though, is an anomaly, as he is capable of defending both post and perimeter players aptly. His versatility makes him extremely valuable on the defensive end, and should give him a leg up on the other two nominees.
Prediction: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Sixth Man of the Year
If you bet that a Clipper would win this award, the odds would be in your favor. L.A. boasted one of the best benches in the entire NBA over the course of the season, and Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell were the main reasons why. Harrell brought energy and tenacity off the bench, while Williams provided the Clippers with a top-tier offensive option. Williams is, of course, no stranger to the Sixth Man of the Year Award as he has won it twice before, including last year. After a solid season that saw his scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers all climb, Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers rounds out the candidates for the award.
Prediction: Lou Williams
Most Improved Player
There are three candidates for the Most Improved Player award, but only one jumped from an enigmatic question mark coming off an injury to an All-Star, and that would be D’Angelo Russell. De’Aaron Fox had a solid season in Sacramento, but as only a sophomore in the league, improvement is expected. Similarly, Siakam benefited from increased opportunity as he started for the first time in his three-year career in Toronto.
Prediction: D’Angelo Russell
Coach of the Year
Ironically enough, Nick Nurse, the coach that led the Toronto Raptors to their first title in franchise history, isn’t an option when it comes to the league’s Coach of the Year award. Instead, we have Mike Budenholzer, whose Bucks finished with the league’s best overall record in his first season in Milwaukee, Doc Rivers, who led the Clippers to a playoff spot with a roster short on top-tier talent, and Michael Malone, who took the Nuggets from outside of the playoff picture to the second seed in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
Prediction: Mike Budenholzer