After the Miami Heat’s Sunday practice, the Palm Beach Post’s Anthony Chiang asked Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and several players who should win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year honors.
Their answers revealed some striking thoughts. For one, Bam Adebayo said that the MVP award was a “three-way tie” among James Harden, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James. Dwyane Wade declined to answer the question. Overall, though, five of the nine Heat players picked Harden (solely) to win the MVP award.
The MVP debate reflects a question that has polarized NBA fans and pundits. Should James continue to win the award as the best player in the league, even though the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently the fourth seed in the East? Or should James Harden, who lost the MVP award to Westbrook last year, win the award because he’s taken the Houston Rockets to a 64-16 record this season?
Four Heat players picked the Sixers’ Ben Simmons to win the Rookie of the Year award and for the Sixers’ Brett Brown to win the Coach of the Year award. Does the fact that the Heat may face Philadelphia in the opening round of the playoffs factor in their voting choices? Maybe not. Udonis Haslem, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson all emphasized how far the Sixers franchise has come over the last few years.
You can read each of Spoelstra and the individual players’ responses here.