Donovan Mitchell awarded top rookie by players, James Harden takes their MVP

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Taking a page from the Nuggets, the National Basketball Players Association finished announcing its Players’ Voice Awards during Game 3 of the NBA Finals last night.

The main winners:

    • James Harden — The NBPA MVP Award
    • LeBron James — The NBPA People’s Champ Award ([best uses his platform to positively impact society])
    • Vince Carter — The NBPA Most Respected Award (influential veteran)
    • Russell Westbrook — The NBPA Best Side Hustle Award (best off-court endeavors, in fashion, tech, media, art, etc.)
    • Damian Lillard — The NBPA Mr. Clutch Award (most clutch)
    • PJ Tucker — The NBPA Sneaker Champ Award (best shoe game)
    • Donovan Mitchell — The NBPA Leader of the New School Award(best rookie)
    • Rudy Gobert — The NBPA Locksmith Award (best defender)
    • Russell Westbrook — The NBPA Freshest Award (best style/fashion on and off the court)
    • James Harden — The NBPA Toughest To Guard Award
    • Lou Williams — The NBPA X-Factor Award (best off the bench)

The players chose chalk in the main categories except their version of Rookie of the Year, which went to Donovan Mitchell over Ben Simmons. That’s a contentious debate, though I expect Simmons to win the real award (and expected Mitchell, a higher scorer, to win this one).

The union also named “The NBPA Backbone Award for best team leader” on all 30 teams. The winners:

Yup, the Bulls’ “best team leader” was the guy who punched a teammate during practice, breaking his face and concussing him.