When the first-ever NBA awards show airs on June 26, it won’t just be revealing which players won MVP, Sixth Man of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and all that good traditional stuff. There will be new titles doled out—including an award for Best Style, because, why not?
AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today has the details:
The show will also feature six new awards — Dunk of the Year, Best Style, Block of the Year, Assist of the Year, Game Winner of the Year and Top Performance of the Year — that will be determined exclusively by fan voting.
Starting today, fans can cast their votes on NBA.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by posting #AwardName and the first and last name of the winner (Ex. #BestStyle Russell Westbrook).
So this is pretty cool. And Neuhart-Keusch embeds highlights and pictures for the finalists in every category. Head over there to check them out.
For your viewing pleasure, here are the three best-dunk finalists:
— NBA (@NBA) December 15, 2016
— NBA (@NBA) November 26, 2016
Oladipo annihilating Dwight Howard will finish as one of the top-five dunks of the season no doubt. pic.twitter.com/elb0vHUpN4
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) December 6, 2016
In case you are wondering, I’m most definitely rolling with that Larry Nance Jr. dunk over Brook Lopez. I mean, MY GOD.
There remain many flaws with the awards show, the biggest one of which is how late it airs. The league has already agreed to release All-NBA results ahead of June 26, so teams can begin planning their offseasons accordingly. This only impacts those who are contemplating designated player extensions, but still, it matters.
And June 26, overall, just feels late. MVP cases can come undone in the playoffs. These are regular-season awards, but the postseason will be what’s freshest in peoples minds, and recency bias is a real thing.
It feels like the NBA would be best served hosting something the night of the first playoff games, perhaps a couple hours before tipoff, or using one of the usual two off days in between the regular season and postseason to announce the winners. Doing this, in some way, creates more narratives and storylines to follow. The individual matchup between Russell Westbrook and James Harden, for example, might have been straight fire if one of them knew they were spurned for the other on the MVP ballot.
The awards show is a great idea, make no mistake. But, as currently structured, the league may want to rethink its timeline for the event in the years to come.