Breakfast Special: Official Pace and Space 2019 Awards

There were no NBA games last night because the Virginia Squires won the ABA championship…no, wait, because the Virginia Cavaliers won the NCAA championship and would still lose by 50 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But uninformed draft takes from me are coming…never. I go on vacation after the Finals.

Today’s Breakfast Special is all about highlight reels for players who win awards, and I get to choose who wins the awards because even though I have been tragically overlooked as a media member for getting an award ballot, I still have a bully pulpit.

So join me, will you? We’ve got highlights of the best players doing the best things…

MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Not James Harden. Greekazoid.

Antetokounmpo gets the nod because unless something truly out-of-this-world wacky happens in the NBA (like, say, Russell Westbrook averaging a triple-double…never mind, that’s not impressive anymore since he’s done it three times in a row and can’t shoot a lick), the MVP is the best player on the best team.

Milwaukee has home court throughout the playoffs.

And besides, as a national media guy, my main exposure to non-Pacers action is compiling highlights, so of course I’m going to gravitate toward a guy who’s the MVP at breakfast as well.

Feast your eyes on this case of going 1-on-4 without looking like a Dark Ages mess:

Plus, unlike Harden, Giannis is an elite defender who is capable of breaking Joel Embiid in half:

Then there’s this massive supercut of Greekazoid’s best play from every game:

Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Turner

Turner led the league in blocked shots, and the Pacers were a top-5 defensive team when he played and a disaster when he sat.

The one thing that bugs me about Turner is that he needs to work on his blocks turning into Pacers possessions the other way. He has a few too many swats that end up out of bounds or bounce off the backboard to an open player on the other team.

But as a drop defender on the pick-and-roll, as a shotblocker, and even as an emerging rebounder, Turner is the defensive king.

And unlike Rudy Gobert, Turner can actually range out to the perimeter against good shooting big men—Gobert’s biggest weakness is opposing centers who can shoot threes like Brook Lopez.

It took two videos to get all his blocks in:

Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams

Every year, I want to make the case for someone else just to shake things up, because media members do that.

I wanted to make a case for Montrezl Harrell. I wanted to make a case for Domantas Sabonis.

But Lou-Will just set a career high for points per 36 minutes (27.1) and is the greatest off-the-bench scorer at least since Jamal Crawford if not Vinnie Johnson if not of all time.

He even messed around and got a triple-double off the bench.

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer

You could fairly argue that any fool can put four league-average shooters around the MVP and win 60 games.

But if any fool can do it, Milwaukee wouldn’t be so special now, would they?

The Bucks underachieved for the first five years of Greekazoid’s career. They brought in Coach Bud and became great.

Here’s another collection of Greekazoid highlights to celebrate.

Most Improved Player: Pascal Siakam

Siakam went from 7.3 to 17.0 points per game. He went from a 14.5 PER to 18.7. From a 22 percent three-point shooter to 36.8 percent.

And from a defensive guy on a good Raptors team to the best guy not named Kawhi Leonard while arguably surpassing Kyle Lowry as well.

Siakam has arrived as a star.

Bust out the mixtape and watch P-Skills in action:

Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic

Trae Young came on like a house of fire after the All-Star break.

But it’s not Rookie of the Two Months After the All-Star Game. It’s Rookie of the Year.

I’ve made the case elsewhere for Doncic as ROY statistically. This is the Breakfast Special, and that means highlights. So many wonderful Luka highlights.

America’s New Greatest Slovenian (sorry, Goran Dragic and not sorry Melania Trump):

We’re seeing a changing of the guard. LeBron James is in the twilight of his career, doing an MJ-on-the-Wizards in Los Angeles. Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade had farewell tours this year. The Warriors are about to run into salary cap problems.

Look at all the youth in this awards list. The next generation is here. No dark age required.

Tomorrow, it’s back to regular game highlights. Later today, it’s a Pacers last-rites Tuesday column. Playoffs are almost here, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!