Just because the NBA playoffs are over doesn't mean there isn't any hardware still to be given out. The 2019 NBA Awards are here, and there are plenty of players and coaches up for recognition in the final big event until free agency.
Here's how we think things will shake out.
MVP: James Harden
Harden put together one of the best scoring seasons in history for the Rockets this year and practically willed his team into the playoffs. He shot the lights out, averaging 36.4 points per game, the highest in a single season for a player not named Wilt Chamberlain. He also led the league in win shares for the third consecutive season, proving just how valuable he is.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert
It's the second consecutive year Gobert is up for the award and the second consecutive year that he's going to win it. Gobert played smothering defense for the Jazz, averaging 2.3 blocks per game while posting a 100 defensive rating. Track record alone could have won him the award, but he followed up a stellar defensive campaign from the 2017-18 season with an even better one.
Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic
Doncic did it all for the Mavericks in the 2018-19 season, averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists over 72 games. The third overall pick in the 2018 draft gave the franchise the young star they needed and helped them land Kristaps Porzingis from the Knicks. His impact on Dallas cannot be understated, and he deserves recognition for it.
Sixth Man: Lou Williams
Who else would it be but Lou Williams? He was a true force off of the bench for the Clippers, averaging an even 20 points per game. Nobody in the NBA can quite match his production outside of a starting role, making him a virtual shoe-in to win the award for the third time in his career.
Most Improved Player: Pascal Siakam
Talk about taking a massive step forward. After an offseason of change in Toronto, Siakam stepped up and produced a phenomenal campaign for the Raptors practically out of nowhere, He averaged 16.9 points per game (more than double his average from the year before), his free-throw shooting improved from 62.1% to 78.5%, and he was absolutely vital to the team's success.
Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer
Mike Budenholzer took a team that got bounced in the first round of the NBA playoffs last year, won 60 games (tops in the league), and brought them to within two wins of an NBA Finals appearance. He turned the Bucks into the top team in the league during the regular season and deserves to be recognized for just how special his season was.