NBA offensive explosion leads to award controversy


Kristine Brown

The Washington Wizards are currently fighting for a spot in the postseason and every game matters. On Oct. 28, they faced off the Indiana Pacers where they lost 127-117.

Logan Earle, Staff Writer

The end of the school year comes with many events to think about: preparation for finals and AP exams and most important of all, the NBA playoffs. The playoffs include 16 teams and 15 series that are seven games each. 

The NBA this season has had an offensive explosion, with 23 games where a player has scored 50 or more points. There has been only one day of NBA basketball where there was not a 30 point performance. 

This historic overall offensive performance has included some all time great single games. On Dec. 27, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic scored 60 points with 21 rebounds and 10 assists. In that game against the New York Knicks, Doncic and the Mavericks came back from behind to win in overtime.

 Later, on Jan. 2, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points with 11 assists and eight rebounds against the Chicago Bulls. He was the first player to score more than 70 points since 2017 and only the third to do so since 2000.

Fans argue over NBA awards every single year, the majority of fans rarely agree collectively on an award choice. Looking into possible award winners for this season, there are some easy choices and some that are up for debate.

The Wilt Chamberlain Rookie of The Year Award should be awarded to Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero. Amongst rookies this season, Banchero leads in points and is top five in rebounds and assists.

 The John Havlicek Sixth Man of the Year Award goes to the best bench player in the league; this year it is Immanuel Quickley of the New York Knicks. The Knicks came out of the all-star break on a hot streak, winning their first nine games, and Quickley played a major role. In that streak he scored almost 19 points per game with three 3-pointers.

The George Mikan Most Improved Player Award goes to the player that has improved the most from the prior season. This year, the best pick is Lauri Markkanen. After being traded to the Utah Jazz, there were not high hopes for him. However, as soon as the season started, he looked like a completely different player, becoming a first time all-star and having a 10 point improvement in points per game.

This year the NBA is introducing a new award, the Jerry West Clutch Player of the Year Award, which is given to the best player in close late game situations. The best player to give the award to is Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic. Doncic is sixth in clutch scoring, first in clutch assists and top five in clutch rebounds.

The Hakeem Olajuwon Defensive Player of the Year Award should go to Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez. A late defensive boom has shown up in Lopez’s long career, as he is averaging 2.5 blocks a game on a top two defense in the NBA.

The Michael Jordan Most Valuable Player Award is a title given to a leader who makes his team better when he’s on the court. There is a tight five man race this year, and could go any of them. The player who stands out the most is Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks are the top team in the NBA, and Antetokounmpo is the biggest reason. Averaging 31 points, almost 12 rebounds and five assists, he has been almost unstoppable all season.

When it comes to who can actually win the NBA finals, it comes down to four teams: the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns. Still, only one team can win. 

The western conference is very tight: the difference between 13th and fifth is four games, so 13 teams are still fighting for a spot in the postseason. But the western conference finals series will be the Denver Nuggets vs. the Memphis Grizzlies; these two teams have consistently been on the top of the rankings and have been in good playoff positions before. I think the Denver Nuggets are the more well-rounded team and will win in six games.

On the other hand, the eastern conference is not as tight. The two best teams are the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, and they will face off in the conference championship. I believe both teams work very well together and it will be a great series, but the Bucks will barely get through the Celtics to win in seven.

Milwaukee vs. Denver will be the two teams facing off in the NBA Finals. It will be the Nuggets’ first finals appearance ever. Both teams are strong and have arguably the two best players in basketball right now with Nikola Jocik and Giannis Antentokounmpo. But, the Bucks have been to the finals before and will win in six because of their prior experience. 

This NBA season has been one to remember and will have a very entertaining playoffs with continued great play by every team that makes it.