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Spears: NBA to Hold Award Show For Winners this Season

Rather than a press release, the NBA will hold an awards show in New York for MVP, DPOY, ROY, 6MOY, MIP, and COY winners.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

According to Marc J Spears of ESPN, the NBA will host its first ever awards show in New York next June, announcing the winners for Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player, and Coach of the Year.

In the past, winners have been announced via unceremonious press release. Most Portland Trail Blazers will be out of discussion, but one or two have a non-zero chance of winning an award and headlining the new event.

Most Valuable Player Award
Most likely Blazer to be considered: Damian Lillard
Chances of winning: Real

Lillard could very well lead the league in scoring if he stays close to his current levels of production. The problem is that so could guys like Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis. That said, the Portland Trail Blazers have a better chance of experiencing team success than the Oklahoma City Thunder or the New Orleans Pelicans, and that certainly factors into the voting. With Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant likely to take votes from each other now that they are teammates in Golden State, the door is cracked for Lillard to wedge his foot in.

Defensive Player of the Year Award
Most likely Blazer to be considered: Al-Farouq Aminu
Chances of winning: Miniscule

Although Aminu is a top notch defender, proven capable of slowing some of the league’s best wings, there are more obvious candidates out there, including but not limited to San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, and Golden State’s Draymond Green. The Trail Blazers would have to become one of the league’s better defenses—with Aminu as the leader—to pull the spotlight his way. That’s a tall order.

Rookie of the Year Award
Most likely Blazer to be considered: Jake Layman
Chances of winning: Nonexistent

Layman is the Trail Blazers’ only rookie and is unlikely to exceed 100 total minutes played in 2016-17.

Sixth Man of the Year Award
Most likely Blazer to be considered: Evan Turner
Chances of winning: Real but slim

Turner is expected to initiate Portland’s offense off the bench. He has a strong mid-range game, good court vision, and is a capable defender. He would, however, need to make drastic improvements within his role, as his tenure with the Trail Blazers is off to an inauspicious start.

Most Improved Player Award
Most likely Blazer to be considered: Noah Vonleh / Moe Harkless
Chances of winning: Miniscule

Vonleh has nowhere to go but up. After a strong preseason, he cracked rotation and got off to an even stronger start to the regular season. If his minutes grow, his chances will too.

Harkless has earned a starting role on the squad and could be considered for most improved if he slides into a ‘third prong’ role in the nightly Lillard/CJ McCollum offensive assault.

However, candidates like D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers, Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, and the aforementioned Whiteside are much more likely choices.

Coach of the Year Award
Most likely person to be considered: Terry Stotts
Chances of winning: Real

Barring a Steve Kerr/Luke Walton situation, Stotts will be the only member of the Trail Blazers organization considered for this award, for obvious reasons. The team would have to exceed expectations for him to win, and now that there actually are some, that may be particularly challenging.

Will any Trail Blazers get to join the pageantry next summer? We are just one season removed from McCollum winning most improved, so it cannot be said that nobody is watching Portland. There is still a long season ahead of us. A lot can happen.