The 2020-2021 NBA season has been an eventful one, with the COVID-19 pandemic still playing a prominent role.
However, the players have still been able to display top-end talent, highlighted by these season awards below:
Most Valuable Player - Nikola Jokic
The big Serbian was a force to be reckoned with this season, averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game, whilst leading the Denver Nuggets to the three seed in the Western Conference with a 47-25 win-loss record.
'The Joker' became the first centre to win the league MVP since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000, earning 91 first place votes out of a possible 100, with Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry being his biggest competitors for the award.
Nikola Jokic receives his MVP trophy 🃏💪
“This trophy is not mine. It’s all of these guys over here, so I wanted [you to cheer] for them.” pic.twitter.com/u4HpnkqSFH
— ESPN (@espn) June 12, 2021
Defensive Player of the Year - Rudy Gobert
The Utah Jazz centre is the ultimate rim-protector, averaging a league-high 2.7 blocks per game.
The 7 foot 2 Frenchmen also amassed an elite 13.5 rebounds per game, including 10.1 defensive rebounds per game, and was a 'no-brainer' pick for the best defensive player in the game for the 2020-2021 season.
The Utah Jazz surprised Rudy Gobert with the DPOY trophy 🙏
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 10, 2021
Sixth Man of the Year - Jordan Clarkson
The Utah Jazz guard provided immediate impact off the bench, averaging a career-high 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 26.7 minutes in 68 games (one start).
Clarkson's scoring average of 18.4 points as a reserve was the highest in the NBA.
this rules. Inside the NBA crew and his teammate Joe Ingles surprise Jordan Clarkson that he won 6th Man of the Year award. pic.twitter.com/Kfcac862pC
— Wobvin Durant (@WorldWideWob) May 24, 2021
Most Improved Player - Julius Randle
The New York Knicks forward enjoyed a breakout year, leading the Gardeners to the four seed in the Eastern Conference, and in doing so, breaking a seven-season playoff drought for the often mocked franchise.
The braided Randle averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists in an NBA-high 37.6 minutes in 71 games. He also set career highs for averages in points and assists and matched his career high in rebounds, ranking in the top 20 in the NBA in all three categories.
Randle received 98 first-place votes out of a possible 100, and was a clear winner for the Most Improved Player award this season.
Julius Randle wins the 2020-21 NBA Most Improved Player award 📈📈📈 pic.twitter.com/x4zIpkp6aE
— ESPN (@espn) May 25, 2021
Coach of the Year - Tom Thibodeau
The head coach of the New York Knicks enjoyed a successful season taking his third franchise to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
Thibodeau took over the Knicks this season, and turned a 21-45 record last season into a 41-31 record this season which is a remarkable turnaround for one of the biggest franchises in the NBA.
This is the second time Thibodeau has won Coach of the Year award, after initially winning the prize whilst leading the Chicago Bulls in the 2010-11 season.
'Thibs' narrowly edged out Phoenix Suns head coach, Monty Williams by a margin of just 11-votes (351 to 340).
𝗧𝗼𝗺 𝗧𝗵𝗶𝗯𝗼𝗱𝗲𝗮𝘂: 𝗖𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗬𝗲𝗮𝗿 (𝟮𝟬𝟭𝟭, 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟭)
The 10th NBA coach to win the award multiple times. pic.twitter.com/Z99PtzluQ9
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) June 7, 2021
Rookie of the Year - LaMelo Ball
The playmaker may have honed his skills 'down under' with the Illawarra Hawks, but his form for the Hornets this season was, at times, 'out of this world'.
Across his 51-game debut year, the right-handed point guard averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 boards and an eye-catching 6.1 assists per appearance.
The third son of the outspoken LaVar took home the award over the highly-fancied Minnesota shooting guard, Anthony Edwards.
With the vast majority of his career still ahead of him, hoops fans can look forward to many more dimes like this from the precocious Californian.
This LaMelo Ball assist was too smooth 🔥 pic.twitter.com/dYIj1JdAbg
— Bally Sports: Hornets (@HornetsOnBally) December 20, 2020
All-NBA First Team
- Stephen Curry - [Golden State Warriors]
- Luka Doncic - [Dallas Mavericks]
- Kawhi Leonard - [Los Angeles Clippers]
- Giannis Antetokounmpo - [Milwaukee Bucks]
- Nikola Jokic - [Denver Nuggets]
All-NBA Second Team
- Chris Paul - [Phoenix Suns]
- Damian Lillard - [Portland Trail Blazers]
- LeBron James - [Los Angeles Lakers]
- Julius Randle - [New York Knicks]
- Joel Embiid - [Philadelphia 76ers]
All-NBA Third Team
- Kyrie Irving - [Brooklyn Nets]
- Bradley Beal - [Washington Wizards]
- Jimmy Butler - [Miami Heat]
- Paul George - [Los Angeles Clippers]
- Rudy Gobert - [Utah Jazz]