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

Donovan Mitchell, James Harden

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) defends against Houston Rockets guard James Harden, left, in the first half during an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (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:

  • Atlanta Hawks: Kent Bazemore
  • Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart
  • Brooklyn Nets: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  • Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker
  • Chicago Bulls: Bobby Portis
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James
  • Dallas Mavericks: Wesley Matthews
  • Denver Nuggets: Richard Jefferson
  • Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond
  • Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green
  • Houston Rockets: P.J. Tucker
  • Indiana Pacers: Victor Oladipo
  • Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Jordan
  • Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle
  • Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol
  • Miami Heat: Udonis Haslem
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Taj Gibson
  • New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis
  • New York Knicks: Enes Kanter
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Nick Collison
  • Orlando Magic: Marreese Speights
  • Philadelphia 76ers: T.J. McConnell
  • Phoenix Suns: Alan Williams
  • Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard
  • Sacramento Kings: Vince Carter
  • San Antonio Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry
  • Utah Jazz: Jae Crowder
  • Washington Wizards: John Wall

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