Harden, last season's winner, pumped his production into overdrive.
His Antetokounmpo transformed the Milwaukee Bucks from a win team that lost in the opening round of the playoffs into a win powerhouse that reached the conference finals. He was one of only two players to rank among the top six in scoring and rebounding, plus he was top 15 in blocks and top 30 in assists.
The strength of these nominees shows as much.
Ayton averaged a double-double, shot nearly 60 percent from the field, posted a That's how good Young and Doncic were. Young was one of only four players to average at least 19 points and eight assists, which is remarkable since he really didn't find his rhythm until after the All-Star break That second-half surge made this interesting, but Doncic's consistency is too much to overcome.
Their bench was every bit as brilliant as you'd expect, averaging over five more points than any other second unit.
Williams, already a two-time winner in this category, played one of his best seasons to date, pacing the win team in points Harrell was both the Clippers' energizer and an offensive spark plug in his own right. He averaged Sabonis shouldn't be overlooked, though.
He provided nightly doses of George's 3. But Gobert's 4. His combination of length, mobility and sharp instincts allowed him to anchor the interior better than anyone. He ranked fourth in both blocks and boards, and he keyed a Utah Jazz defense that surrendered the fewest points per possessions from January to April.
Russell, the second overall pick in , made huge strides in both volume and efficiency, culminating in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Siakam, the 27th selection a year later, made a monumental leap from energetic reserve to semi-featured starter.
The degree of improvement and the fact it happened on a better team, the champion Toronto Raptors, probably gives the big man this award.
Rivers did the most with the least among this trio. This could have been the best coaching campaign of the year-old's career, and he's steered a championship vessel before.
Budenholzer, though, was arguably the biggest offseason addition for a Milwaukee team that led the league in wins 60 and net rating plus He changed up the Bucks' defense and spread out their offense, and both were top-four units.
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