Dallas Mavericks: End of season awards predictions roundtable
By Kohl Rast
Best Story of the Year
Portland Trail Blazers
“This is cheating a little bit because their first round victory over the Thunder is being taken into the equation. After their absolute embarrassment at the hands of New Orleans last year in the first round, many felt they should blow it up.
Then, in the midst another great regular season, they suffered a devastating loss with the horrific injury of Jusuf Nurkic. Most people picked the Thunder to upset them despite Portland being the higher seed. Portland ran threw them in five games. It’s impossible not to root for this team—unless you’re a Trailblazers or Nuggets fan of course.” –Sean Bush
“I think, as a Mavs fan, this seemed inevitable. You would expect to see the Dirk Nowitzki farewell/not farewell season be at the top of my list. Where you I even start? He seems to be a true legend and icon to basketball that extends past Dallas and even outside of the US. The one thing that made him different from other NBA greats?
He never asked for a farewell tour. No ceremonies, no congratulations, nothing. You have to respect how humble he was about this being his last season and his willingness to come off the bench for the better player. Excuse you if you didn’t even shed a tear at his last home game.” –Arsal Hussain
“The best story of the season was hands down the final chapter of Dirk Nowitzki. Everything that guy did for the Mavs, the city of Dallas and the NBA overall can not be overstated. He is one of the greatest to ever play the game and he set a standard for a player that will never be met by another player. His story was not just great for Dallas, it was great for fans of basketball.” –Kohl Rast
Los Angeles Clippers
“James Harden dragging the Rockets to the playoffs is pretty compelling. What he did in the middle of the season to keep them in contention when his entire team went down with injuries was something worth talking about. But I think the Clippers making the playoffs when everyone wrote them off as a lottery team is a great story. What makes it the best story is how fun they are to watch. We all love to see the ragtag group of misfits succeed, and that’s exactly what happened here.” –Ben Zajdel
“Luka Doncic is a polarizing figure. Many writers and scouts alike see the former Barcelona product as a bright spot in the NBA. Unfortunately, there are others who look at Luka like some novelty piece whose success is limited by the “lack of athleticism”, such a silly take when you see the game tape.
The NBA was blessed to witness the many wonders of Luka. From the multiple blocks on LeBron to game-winning buckets, there wasn’t a drought of Luka magic. The league is in good hands with Luka Doncic as one of its future stars.” –Lance Roberson
“Gordon Hayward‘s gruesome injury at the very beginning of last year clearly had an effect on him over the course of the season. Caris LeVert also suffered a nasty looking injury to his foot that threatened his development. Levert came back far quicker than expected and was an integral part of the run that the Nets made to launch themselves into the playoffs.
LeVert’s injury never appeared career-threatening, but it looked as though it would completely derail his development into an excellent role player. LeVert has come back and looks as though he didn’t miss a beat.” –Evan Siegel