The NBA award season, which we’d usually be done with by now, is just getting warmed up. Prepare thyself.
This week, on Thursday, May 18th, the league will announce the All-NBA first, second, and third teams, and then, to really stoke intrigue, will reveal the finalists for the various NBA awards of the 2016-17 season in a 90-minute special on Friday, May 19th, at 7pm (before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals). That’s a long television program.
Those awards include: Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man Award, Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year. They’ll be given out at the NBA Awards show, the first of its kind, hosted by Drake — surely on hand to rep the Raptors — on June 26th on TNT.
It’s deeply unlikely any Raptors will get into the discussion for any of these awards. The team’s rookies didn’t play enough, no one sixth man was solid enough, the coach didn’t overachieve, no one dramatically improved or defended with exceptional vigour, and while there’s an argument to be made for the relative value of Kyle Lowry, it does not put him into the discussion with the other five favourites for the top prize. Such is life.
But that All-NBA team, particularly the third iteration, should maybe find a spot for DeMar DeRozan. As you’ll recall, DeRozan had yet another career year, putting up per game averages of 27.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, while shooting a (surely unsustainable) 47 percent from the field. He was also his usual sturdy self, missing only eight games (mostly due to an ankle sprain) all year.
And, as the Raptors’ social media team helpfully pointed out, DeRozan also had a hand in breaking some records this season. It was quite a run for the man who once declared, “I am Toronto.”
Is it enough to get DeRozan into that elite 15-man group? We’ll find out on Thursday.