Multiple Rockets Win at NBA Awards Show

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The Houston Rockets had their fingerprints all over the first annual NBA Awards Show on Monday night, having been nominated for several traditional and newly introduced fan-voted awards. At the end of the day, the Rockets laid claim to three separate awards…

In his first year as head coach of the Rockets, Mike D’Antoni made a drastic move by naming James Harden the full-time point guard. With a playmaker like Harden, D’Antoni could implement elements of his ‘Seven Seconds or Less’ offense – an offense that helped D’Antoni win Coach of the Year for the first time back in 2005. After being somewhat exiled from the NBA following failed coaching stints in Los Angeles and New York, D’Antoni’s efficient and explosive Rockets won 55 games (a 14-game improvement from the previous season) and completely flipped the narrative surrounding the team.

Eric Gordon – another first-year Rocket – won the Sixth Man of the Year Award by making contributions of 16 points per game on 40% shooting (37% from behind the three-point line). Perhaps a more important stat for 'Splash Gordon' is that he played 75 games this past season, the most since his rookie campaign in 2008-2009 (78). Gordon’s injury history was a major concern coming into the season, but his reduced role as a secondary scorer and playmaker allowed him to flourish in D’Antoni’s offense. He even won this year's Three-Point Shooting Contest during All-Star Weekend.

Finally, Patrick Beverley was named the recipient of the NBA’s first ever Hustle Award. Beverley’s pesky defense and all-out hustle on both sides of the floor has earned the admiration and love of Rockets fans, but this season was somewhat of a breakout year for him nationally – at least, in a positive light. Per game, Pat averaged 9.5 points, 4.2 assists, and a very impressive 5.9 rebounds. Also, Beverley was named to the All-Defense First Team for the first time in his career – an achievement he has strived for throughout his NBA career.

James Harden was famously in the running for the 2016-2017 Most Valuable Player Award, but ultimately finished the race in second place. As somewhat of a consolation prize, however, Harden was the only player to be unanimously voted to the All-NBA First Team.

The Houston Rockets had a massive turnaround after a disastrous 2015-2016, and that turnaround (on and off the floor) was validated with these awards and nominations. In fact, this season saw the Rockets win an award for the first time since Aaron Brooks won Most Improved Player following the 2009-2010 season. You can check out Red Nation Hoops’ cases for why Mike D’Antoni and Eric Gordon deserved their awards here and here, respectively.

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