In today’s NBA, there are currently over 100 international players from 42 different countries. It is likely that most of the NBA awards will be won by international players, which goes to show how much the world has caught up to their American counterparts.
The NBA’s Most Valuable Player should be given to the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is currently leading the Milwaukee Bucks (56-19) to the best record in the NBA. If Giannis and the Bucks keep their current pace, it would be the first time the Bucks will have won 60 or more games since 1981. Giannis is also showcasing some dominant statistics with averages of 27.3 points per game, 12.6 rebounds per game and six assists per game. While his competition James Harden of the Houston Rockets averages more points with 36.2 per game, Giannis has better defensive numbers, averaging 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. The Bucks also have a better record than the Rockets which is a big factor to the media, who are the voters for this prestigious award.
The Rookie of the Year will most likely be awarded to basketball’s new sensation, Luka Doncic. Luka, a native of Slovenia, is currently averaging 21.1 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game and 5.9 assists per game with the Dallas Mavericks. He is currently leading his rookie class with seven triple doubles. While Trae Young has improved his game during the second half of the season, Luka has been dominant for most of the season.
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz should be the Defensive Player of the Year once again. Gobert, a native of France, is currently fourth in blocks per game with 2.23. The Jazz are a top-five defensive team in large part because of Gobert and his ability to block or alter shots around the rim. He forces opposing teams to change their offensive game plan because of his length that disrupts shooters when they attack the rim. No other player impacts the game defensively as much as Gobert.
Pascal Siakam has grown significantly as a player from last season to this season. A native of Cameroon, Siakam went from a player who was uncomfortable shooting jump shots to a player who is a versatile threat from everywhere. Averaging 16.8 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists per game, Siakam is an integral part of the Raptors potential deep playoff run. The Most Improved Player award should have a new home and that home should be Toronto.
American players have dominated the NBA awards since their creation. However, with the world catching up in terms of basketball talent, it is quite plausible that we will see a lot more international players rewarded over their American counterparts.