April 23, 2022

2022 NBA Awards: Jokerman

Standing on the waters casting your bread
While the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
Distant ships sailing into the mist
You were born with a snake in both of your fists while a hurricane was blowing
Freedom just around the corner for you
But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?

— Bob Dylan / “Jokerman”

Much of the NBA’s 75th season was decided off the court. Kyrie Irving was a conscientious objector to the COVID-19 vaccine. He eventually won a staring contest against logic, reason and the mayor of New York City, helping lead the Brooklyn Nets all the way to seventh place in the East.* Ben Simmons missed the season with a herniated disc and mental illness. (I believe him.) Kawhi Leonard missed the season the old-fashioned way — with a knee injury.

On the court, Nikola Jokic was the league’s best player. He set single-season records for box plus/minus (13.7) and player efficiency rating (32.8) and became the first player with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season. Trae Young was the second player to lead the league in total points and total assists.

Stephen Curry passed Ray Allen to become the all-time leader in 3-pointers. Gregg Popovich passed Don Nelson to become the all-time leader in wins. And Ol’ Man River, he keeps rolling along. LeBron James, 37, became the first player with 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 10,000 assists.

The NBA announced its 75th anniversary team. Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard made the list. Dwight Howard and Tracy McGrady didn’t.

* The Nets were 14-15 with Irving, 30-23 without him. They were 36-19 with Kevin Durant (MCL), 8-19 without him. The Warriors were 45-19 with Curry (foot), 8-10 without him.
— Kevin Brewer


Best record | Phoenix Suns, 64-18

Worst record | Houston Rockets, 20-62

Had their best season | Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies

Tanking | Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder

Best offense | Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks

Best defense | Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors

Fastest pace | Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets

Slowest pace | Dallas Mavericks


Most Valuable Player | Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

2. Joel Embiid, 76ers
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
4. Jayson Tatum, Celtics
5. Stephen Curry, Warriors

Coach of the Year | J.B. Bickerstaff, Cavaliers

2. Monty Williams, Suns
3. Taylor Jenkins, Grizzlies

Executive of the Year | Arturas Karnisovas, Bulls

Offensive Player of the Year | Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

Defensive Player of the Year | Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Teammate of the Year | DeMar DeRozan, Bulls

Worst Teammate | Kyrie Irving, Nets

Rookie of the Year | Evan Mobley, Cavaliers

Sixth Man of the Year | Kevin Love, Cavaliers

Rest of bench | Tyler Herro, Montrezl Harrell, Bogdan Bogdanović, Cameron Johnson, Gary Payton II, Brandon Clarke

ALL-NBA / First team

Forward | Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
>>>  29.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, 61.6 2-point shooting

Forward | Jayson Tatum, Celtics
>>>  26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 85.3 free throw shooting

Center | Nikola Jokic, Nuggets
>>>  27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists

Guard | Stephen Curry, Warriors
>>>  25.5 points, 6.3 assists, 92.3 free throw shooting

Guard | Luka Doncic, Mavericks
>>>  28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 8.7 assists

ALL-NBA / Second team

Forward | Kevin Durant, Nets
>>>  29.9 points, 6.4 assists, 91.0 free throw shooting

Forward | Jimmy Butler, Heat
>>>  21.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 87.0 free throw shootoing

Center | Joel Embiid, 76ers
>>>  30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists

Guard | Chris Paul, Suns
>>>  14.7 points, 10.8 assists, 55.9 2-point shooting

Guard | Devin Booker, Suns
>>>  26.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 86.8 free throw shooting

ALL-NBA / Third team

Forward | LeBron James, Lakers
>>>  30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 60.2 2-point shooting

Forward | DeMar DeRozan, Bulls
>>>  27.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 87.7 free throw shooting

Center | Rudy Gobert, Jazz
>>>  15.6 points, 14.7 rebounds, 71.8 2-point shooting

Guard | Trae Young, Hawks
>>>  28.4 points, 9.7 assists, 90.4 free throw shooting

Guard | Ja Morant, Grizzlies
>>>  27.4 points, 6.7 assists, 53.4 2-point shooting

Others receiving votes | Fred VanVleet, Karl-Anthony Towns, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Jrue Holiday


Box Plus-Minus | Nikola Jokic, 13.7

Real Plus-Minus | Nikola Jokic, 11.8

Estimated Plus-Minus | Nikola Jokic, 9.3

Total RAPTOR | Nikola Jokic, 14.8

Scoring | Joel Embiid, 30.6

Rebounding | Rudy Gobert, 14.7

Assists | Chris Paul, 10.7

2-point shooting | Rudy Gobert, 71.8

3-point percentage | Luke Kennard, 44.9

Free throw shooting | Jordan Poole, 92.5

Steals | Dejounte Murray, 2.0

Blocks | Jaren Jackson Jr., 2.3


Best shooters | Kevin Durant and Seth Curry, Nets

Best mid-range shooter | Chris Paul, Suns

Best backcourt | Chris Paul and Devin Booker, Suns

Iron man | Mikal Bridges, Suns

Tallest player | Tacko Fall, 7-6

Shortest player | Isaiah Thomas, 5-9

Best prospect | LaMelo Ball, 20 years old

Best young players | Jayson Tatum (23), Luka Doncic (22)

Best old players | LeBron James (37), Chris Paul (36)

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