The first annual NBA Awards were hosted Monday night, and it was a great night for the young Bucks. Both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Malcolm Brogdon won the awards they were finalists for.
Brogdon won the Rookie of the Year award over Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. Malcolm, who is 24, was the 36th pick in last year's NBA Draft. This makes him the first 2nd round pick to win the award since 1966. He averaged 10.2 points (45.7% FG, 40.4% 3PT) and 4.2 assists per game. The President won this award with his clutch performance against Boston in March. He finished off his 16 point performance by taking over the final 3 minutes. Each Bucks possession involved him in some way, whether it was scoring or assisting. This included him making an incredible shot to put Milwaukee up 3 with 3.9 seconds to go. The shot ended up being the dagger, and the Bucks earned a very important road victory. The voters got this one right. Joel Embiid only played 31 games, and Dario Saric didn't do enough to win the award. Like it or not, voters take team position into account. The Bucks were a playoff team who took Toronto to 6 games. The Sixers were once again a joke. Next year, Philadelphia can focus more on the results and not the process.
Malcolm also gave a great speech when he was on stage. He talked about how him winning the award was a testament to the hard work players put in, especially those who are either 2nd round draft picks or undrafted.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the Most Improved Player. He is in Greece, so he could not go on stage and teach everyone how to say his name. Giannis won the award by a large margin, and it's no surprise. The Greek Freak improved in every single statistical category this season, including a 6.0 point jump in the PPG category. Antetokounmpo did everything this year, from blocking Norman Powell's shot twice (once with his elbow and once with his hand for good measure) to draining a game winner in the most famous arena in the world, Madison Square Garden. The Freak was even an MVP candidate this season and would have gained more exposure in that race had there not been such a duel between Harden and Westbrook.
The Bucks had flashes of greatness throughout the season, and the voters recognized and honored that. It was a great night for the team and the fans, and hopefully, there are many more great nights in the coming seasons.