With the postseason now halfway through, the league has recently given out the regular season awards. As we all know, there are a couple of old faces and new ones that came away with these awards. There is no doubt that all of these players deserve these awards. Unfortunately, there are a couple of great players who certainly deserved to win at least a regular season award but didn’t win even one. For this piece, let’s take a look at five players that surprisingly didn’t win a regular season award (including All-Star selections) despite their spectacular performances.
Despite being the league leader in blocks, it’s unfortunate that the Pacers big man didn’t win Defensive Player of the Year. In fact, Turner didn’t even make any of the All-Defensive Team selections. He averaged 3.4 rejections per game and continued to solidified himself as a premier shot-blocker in the league. But unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to garner enough votes for a place in the All-Defensive Team. In a tweet, Turner didn’t take this snub lightly.
S/o To The Ones That Showed Love… the hell with the rest! Right back to it next season, Imma make it to where it ain’t even a debate https://t.co/gtrZbilViH
— Myles Turner (@Original_Turner) June 15, 2021
Fortunately for him, a silver-lining is that the league will still acknowledge him as the league leader in blocks, despite playing in only 47 games. The league ruled that a player must play 70% of his games to be qualified as a statistical leader. However, Turner would still lead the league in blocks, if assuming he didn’t even block a shot in four more games.
But sadly, missing the All-Defensive Teams for consecutive years despite leading the league in blocks on two occasions, will surely sting the Pacers big man.
Aside from Myles Turner, another Indiana Pacer that should’ve made the All-Defensive Team was TJ McConnell. In fact, he is arguably the biggest snub on the All-Defensive teams, according to The Athletic.
Biggest snub on the NBA All-Defensive teams?@talkhoops: Mikal Bridges.
Who do you think? pic.twitter.com/ZdIIEREVin
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) June 15, 2021
McConnell led the league in total steals during the regular season. He also finished with 1.9 steals per game, which was good for second best. Aside from his season statistics, McConnell also registered the most steals in a game this season. He tallied a rare triple double of 16 points, 17 assists, and 10 steals in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Unfortunately, McConnell failed to break-in one of the All-Defensive teams. Surely enough, the league leader in total steals should’ve taken the point guard spot. However, only Jrue Holiday was the lone point guard who was selected among All-Defensive selections.
It’s hard to imagine how Westbrook failed to make at least an All-Star selection or All-NBA Team this year. The two-time All-Star Game MVP registered one of the most dominant seasons of his career. Westbrook averaged another triple double stat-line of 22.2 points, 11.7 assists, and 11.5 rebounds per game which are certainly MVP numbers. It is worth noting that he also led the league in assists. Furthermore, he even led the Washington Wizards to a playoff appearance by becoming one of the two winners in the Play-In Tournament.
It is certainly mind-boggling to leave out a triple double machine off the All-NBA Team list and in the MVP race. Westbrook became the league leader in most number of triple-doubles accumulated in his career with 184. He surpassed no other than Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson to be declared as the official triple double king.
But despite his achievements this season, Westbrook only garnered one first-team vote, six second-team votes, and 21 third-team votes which weren’t enough to give him at least a spot in the All-NBA Team selections. Furthermore, he wasn’t even in the Top 10 when it came to the MVP race.
With an influx of great big men such as Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Rudy Gobert, people often overlooked the greatness of Clint Capela this season. Capela has been crucial for the Hawks this season, as he gave the team a very much needed defensive anchor in the paint.
This season, Capela averaged 15.2 points, 2.0 rejections, and 14.3 boards per game, which was good enough to lead the league in rebounds. He also finished Top Three in blocks.
But unfortunately, Capela couldn’t even snag a single award this year. In terms of Defensive Player of the Year, it is surprising that he didn’t even emerge as one of the finalists to win the award, which eventually went to Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
The Hawks center surely deserved a place in the All-Defensive teams. However, those potential spots went to Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, Bam Adebayo, Joel Embiid, and Draymond Green. After helping his team finish as the fifth seed in the East, Capela deserved more votes. He only garnered 36 points, with all of his voters nominating him in the All-Defensive second team to leave him without a single season award this year.
However with the Hawks eliminating the Knicks and pulling off the upset against the Joel Embiid-led Sixers, making the NBA Finals and possibly winning a championship will surely compensate for him missing these defensive awards.
Another Hawks player that came away empty this season is Trae Young. It’s puzzling to think Young wasn’t even part of the MVP conversation. He averaged 25.3 points and 9.4 assists per game to lead the Hawks into the playoffs as the fifth seed. It is worth noting he was ranked second most, in terms of assists per game.
Aside from getting left out of the MVP race, Young also failed to crack the All-NBA Team selections. To make matters more shocking, the Hawks’ rising star only garnered two All-NBA Third Team votes.
With a lot of elite guards such as Stephen Curry, Damien Lillard, Kyrie Irving, and Chris Paul dominating the league, it is so easy to overlook the greatness of Young. But despite the lack of awards in his resume, there is no question that Young has emerged as one of the premier guards in the league. Equipped with elite playmaking skills and limitless range, Young has taken over the league in the postseason.
In the first round series win over the Knicks, Young averaged 29.2 points and 9.8 assists per game, including a game-winner in Game One. And in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Hawks guard was the vital cog in eliminating the heavily favored Philadelphia 76ers. Young registered 29.0 points and 10.9 assists per game.
And just recently, Young dropped a huge double-double of 48 points and 11 assists to take Game One in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, who are led by two time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. If Young can lead the Hawks into the Finals and possibly win a championship, there’s no question that this achievement will surely taste much sweeter.