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MVP: James Harden
The league’s high scorer and runaway chief in free throws and threes, James Harden was, but once more, the one most useful supply of offense within the recreation.
As if slowly perfecting his shot profile, Harden’s try charges from 10-16 and 16-23 toes trended down for the fifth straight season. Fairly quickly, he’ll solely shoot layups, threes and free throws, presumably inflicting Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets’ analytically-focused workers to combust with pure pleasure.
Every part Houston does on offense is constructed round Harden and the specter of his step-back three.
DPOY: PJ Tucker
Robert Covington’s arms are all over the place, and he has the best on-off defensive splits on the crew. However PJ Tucker’s been doing the soiled work all yr, banging with facilities and throwing his physique round beneath the boards so Houston can stretch issues out on the opposite finish.
No Rockets participant defended more isolation possessions than Tucker, who dealt with himself simply tremendous when on an island towards some extent guard, a wing or an enormous. Totally switchable, exceptionally sturdy and as robust as they arrive, the 35-year-old Tucker issues extra to Houston’s protection than some other participant.
Greatest Newcomer: Robert Covington
In 14 post-trade, pre-bubble video games with the Rockets, the 6’7″ Covington flew across the ground, grabbed 7.9 rebounds per recreation and, extremely, blocked 2.5 photographs per contest. Primarily Clint Capela’s alternative in Houston’s new five-out beginning lineup, Covington, a wing his whole profession, took care of big-man duties as successfully as an actual heart.
Add 35.7 % capturing on eight.zero three-point makes an attempt per recreation and unparalleled off-ball protection to the profile, and it is no surprise the Rockets had been a modified crew with him within the fold.
It Took Some Tinkering Award: Russell Westbrook
The Rockets found out easy methods to extract most worth from a hyperaggressive level guard who could not shoot, and all they needed to do was scrap many years of positional norms. After a tough begin to the yr, Westbrook thrived in five-out seems that unlocked his attack-mode offense.
Russ completed the pre-bubble season ranked third within the league with 15.2 paint factors per recreation, however that undersells his close-range surge. He led the league in factors within the paint from Feb. 1 on and even scored a ridiculous 234 over a 10-game span. Shaquille O’Neal stuff, mainly.
With no opposing heart within the lane as a final line of protection, Westbrook regained his kind as a devastating driver.