Kevin Durant Named NBA MVP

Kevin Durant Named NBA MVP

Kevin Durant Named NBA MVP (1)

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words // Brandon Richard

Kevin Durant is a five-time NBA All-Star, four-time scoring champion, FIBA World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist. Now, following today’s official announcement, we can call Durant the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

This season, Durant posted career highs in scoring (32.0 ppg) and assists (5.5 apg), also adding 7.4 rpg. He became one of only four players to ever average 32+ ppg, 7+ rpg and 5+ apg in a season, joining Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor. Durant scored 40+ points in 14 games and 25+ in 41 consecutive games, the third longest streak of its kind.

Behind Durant’s leadership, the Thunder weathered Russell Westbrook’s injury woes and finished with 59 wins, second best in the tough Western Conference.

It’s been an uphill battle for Durant, who finished second in MVP voting to LeBron James in three of the last four seasons. With another piece of hardware added to his ever-growing collection, he now turns his attention to the final piece of the puzzle — an NBA Championship.

Durant’s preferred shoe for his MVP season was the Nike KD 6, which you can pick up in a variety of colorways now at Eastbay.

Kevin Durant Named NBA MVP (2)

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Michael Carter-Williams Named NBA Rookie of the Year

Michael Carter-Williams Named NBA Rookie of the Year

Michael Carter-Williams Named NBA Rookie of the Year (2)

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words // Brandon Richard

The lone bright spot in the Philadelphia 76ers’ season was the play of rookie guard Michael Carter-Williams, who was officially named NBA Rookie of the Year earlier today.

Carter-Williams averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds,joining Oscar Robertson (1960-61) and Alvan Adams (1975-76) as the only players since 1950-51 to lead all rookies in those three categories. He also joined Robertson and Magic Johnson as the only rookies in NBA history to average at least 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Carter-Williams also led all rookies in steals (1.86 spg, sixth in NBA).

Philadelphia’s 11th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played October 29 – November 3, joining Shaquille O’Neal as the only rookies in NBA history to be named Player of the Week to begin their careers. Carter Williams won Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in October, November, January, March and April. On the season, he recorded 17 double-doubles and two triple-doubles.

Carter-Williams spent his historic rookie campaign playing in the Nike Zoom HyperRev, available in a variety of colorways at Eastbay.

Michael Carter-Williams Named NBA Rookie of the Year

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Goran Dragic Named NBA Most Improved Player

Goran Dragic Named NBA Most Improved Player

Goran Dragic Named NBA Most Improved Player (1)

words // Brandon Richard

Almost every “expert” predicted that the Phoenix Suns would be one of the worst teams in the NBA prior to the season. However, they were in playoff contention until the final week. Because of that, coach Jeff Hornacek was runner-up for NBA Coach of the Year, and the team’s leader Goran Dragic brought home Most Improved Player honors today.

Dragic led the upstart Suns in both scoring and rebounding. His 20.3 points per game were up big over last season’s 14.7. He also established new career-highs in rebounding and field goal percentage and was the only player in the league to shoot at least 50% from the field and 40% from three-point range.

Indiana’s Lance Stephenson was the runner-up for the award, followed by Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.

An adidas Basketball athlete, Dragic spent this season playing in the Rose 773 II, which is available now at Eastbay.

Goran Dragic Named NBA Most Improved Player (2)

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Gregg Popovich Named NBA Coach of the Year

Gregg Popovich Named NBA Coach of the Year

Gregg Popovich Named NBA Coach of the Year

words // Brandon Richard

It’s been about 10 months since the San Antonio Spurs suffered one of the biggest collapses in NBA Finals history. They were up 5 with just 28 seconds left to play in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals, but LeBron James and Ray Allen each hit clutch three-pointers to force overtime, where they’d steal the game and eventually the series. Many wondered how the Spurs would rebound after such a devastating loss. When Gregg Popovich is in your huddle, poise is never an issue.

On the bench for his 18th season with the Spurs, ‘Pop’ was as good as ever. San Antonio finished with a 62-20 record, the best record in the NBA and second highest win total during Popovich’s tenure. From late-February to early April the Spurs enjoyed a 19-game winning streak, tied for the sixth longest of all-time. On top of that, the team’s starters averaged just 26.9 minutes per game, dead last in the NBA. That means they’re as rested as possible to make another run at the NBA Finals.

For those reasons, Popovich was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year for the third time earlier today. He beat out Phoenix’s Jeff Hornacek and Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau for the award.

The Spurs return to the court for Game 2 of their first round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow night.

Gregg Popovich Named NBA Coach of the Year

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Joakim Noah Named NBA Defensive Player of the Year

Joakim Noah Named NBA Defensive Player of the Year

Joakim Noah Named NBA Defensive Player of the Year

words // Brandon Richard

When Derrick Rose went down with another knee injury in November, it looked like the Chicago Bulls would be lottery bound. Making the playoffs seemed next to impossible when the Bulls traded Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers in January. However, when you have a guy like Joakim Noah in your huddle, there’s no such thing as giving up.

Through all of the adversity, the Bulls persevered, winning 48 games and taking the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. The anchor for all of that was Joakim Noah, your 2013-2014 Defensive Player of the Year.

Noah averaged 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals this season. Behind his play, the Bulls held teams to a league-low 91.8 points per game.

He received 100 out of 125 first place votes for the award.

Before the season, Noah entered a multi-year partnership with adidas Basketball. He spent majority of his award-winning year playing in the Crazy Ghost and Crazyquick.

It’s a good thing the Bulls seem to be at their best with their backs against the wall. They dropped Sunday’s playoff opener to the Washington Wizards at home. See what adjustments Chicago and the Defensive Player of the Year make in Game 2 tomorrow night.

Joakim Noah wearing adidas Crazy Ghost

image via McClatchy Tribute for Getty