The NBA announced the finalists for six major awards on Saturday, including Most Valuable Player hopefuls Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden and LeBron James.
Antetokounmpo, who won the award last season, entered Saturday averaging career highs in scoring (29.7) and rebounding (13.7) for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Harden, the 2017-18 MVP, is on track to win his third consecutive NBA scoring title with 34.3 points per game for the Houston Rockets.
James, a four-time MVP, is averaging 25.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and a league-leading 10.3 assists for the Los Angeles Lakers. The only players with more MVP awards are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with six and Bill Russell and Michael Jordan with five each.
The Rookie of the Year finalists are Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn and New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson. Williamson and Morant were the first two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft, while Nunn was undrafted.
The finalists for Most Improved Player are Heat forward Bam Adebayo, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram. Doncic was the Rookie of the Year in 2018-19.
Antetokounmpo is also a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year, along with Lakers forward Anthony Davis and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Gobert has won it the last two years.
The Sixth Man of the Year finalists are Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder and Los Angeles Clippers teammates Montrezl Harrell and three-time winner Lou Williams. Williams would be the first four-time winner.
Two-time winner Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is a finalist for the Coach of the Year honors, along with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Billy Donovan and Nick Nurse of the defending champion Toronto Raptors.
Budenholzer, who won the award last season with the Bucks and in 2014-15 with the Atlanta Hawks, could join Don Nelson, Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich as the only three-time recipients.
All of the awards are voted on by a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
--Field Level Media
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