BOSTON - With the slew of awards honoring the best players, coaches, and executives of the 2018-19 NBA season now officially handed out, we can say that this season is one for the history books. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks was named MVP, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks was named Rookie of the Year, and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was named Defensive Player of the Year. The Sixth Man Award, the Most Improved Player, the Coach of the Year, and the Executive of the Year went to Lou Williams (Los Angeles Clippers), Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors), Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee), and Jon Horst (Milwaukee), respectively. In other words, the Boston Celtics didn't win a whole lot.
Kyrie Irving was named to the All-NBA Second Team and Marcus Smart was named to the All-NBA Defensive Team. Smart was also awarded with a special honor, the Hustle Award, which he definitely deserves when considering how he never once gave up on a play. Additionally, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson won the Lifetime Achievement Awards. Aside from those relatively small honors, the Celtics pretty much came up empty handed at the awards evening. So I thought I would give out some “Boston Celtics Awards” to honor the best players of the team this year.
Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year would obviously go to Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge, respectively, but what about some of the other trophies?
As for Rookie of the Year, the Celtics had just two rookies: Robert Williams and Brad Wanamaker. Wanamaker played more for the Celtics, but Williams was a thrill whenever he was on the court. He averaged just 2.5 points per game and 1.3 blocks per game, but he was a difference maker when he was not hurt. If Williams can keep a steady growth, he might be the center of the Celtics’ future.
Instead of a “Sixth Man” award, let’s turn that into a trophy for the best Celtics’ bench player. Considering the starting lineup as Irving, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, the Best Bench Player award definitely goes to Marcus Morris. Smart has outstanding hustle, there’s no denying it, but there were large stretches of the season where it seemed like Morris was Boston’s best player. He averaged 13.9 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game and often led the Celtics’ charge whenever Kyrie was sidelined.
Defensive Player of the Year is an obvious one as it definitely goes to Smart, who is one of the league’s best defenders. His 1.8 steals per game were among the best in the league.
Most Improved Player is awarded to Jaylen Brown. Not only did he improve from the 2017-18 season, he also made marked improvements over the course of the season. His numbers were down overall, but Brown rebounded from an abysmal first stretch of the season to post similar numbers to the previous year’s campaign despite a reduced role. Brown’s growth is definitely reassuring going forward.Lastly, who is the MVP of the Celtics? Kyrie was undoubtedly the best player on the team, but in terms of which player was the most valuable, I think it was definitely Horford. He recorded 13.6 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game, but was a leader on and off the court and became Boston’s best player during the post-season. It’ll be tough to (probably) lose both Irving and Horford in the same season, considering they were Boston’s top assets. But who knows? Maybe this time next year, we will be waxing poetic about the team’s new MVP. Name? To be determined.