The second edition of the NBPA Players' Awards is in the books (or Twitter as times require), and the big winner was Stephen Curry. The Warriors' star won the MVP, Toughest To Guard and Clutch Performer awards. LeBron James won Player You Wish Was on Your Team and Best Social Media Follow, while Kobe Bryant took home the Global Impact award in what was his last season in the league.
Curry winning the most prestigious awards is not a surprise. He put together a dominant performance on the best regular season team in league history. The voting for the awards takes place before the regular season ends, so his struggles with injury in the playoffs simply didn't matter. Last year the players picked James Harden instead of Curry as MVP, but he now found vindication by getting the ultimate honor.
He also claimed Toughest To Guard and Clutch Performer, which, again, he more than earned during the regular season and the first three rounds of the playoffs. Curry routinely put opponents away late, often looking impossible to defend.
James, meanwhile, won Player You Wish Was on Your Team, which means that even though he seemed to be preserving his body for the playoffs during the regular season, his peers still see him as an elite force. He also won Best Social Media Follow, which makes sense, since he made waves throughout the season with his activity on Twitter and Instagram.
Among other things, he unfollowed the Cavaliers' account and sent cryptic messages through Twitter that seemed aimed at his teammates.
He also posted a video of himself screaming after a workout on Instagram as well as a bizarre drawing of himself dressed as Batman that the Internet made sure to mock:
After that, he went into radio silence before breaking after the Finals to celebrate the championship and taunt his critics. All in all it was an eventful year for James in social media.
Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan were also celebrated in the last season of their careers. Bryant won a well-deserved Global Impact award, while Duncan won Most Influential Veteran. The younger generation of players clearly have nothing but respect for two of the best to have ever played the game.
Make sure to visit the Players' Association site to watch video about each award.
Here's the list of winners:
NBPA Awards winners
MVP: Stephen Curry
Toughest to Guard: Stephen Curry
Coach You Most Like to Play For: Gregg Popovich
Best Off the Bench: Jamal Crawford
Best Defender: Kawhi Leonard
Best Homecourt Advantage: Golden State Warriors / Oracle Arena
Best Dressed: Russell Westbrook
Best Rookie: Karl-Anthony Towns
Global Impact: Kobe Bryant
Most Influential Veteran: Tim Duncan
Player You Wish Was on Your Team: LeBron James
Best Social Media Follow: LeBron James
Clutch Performer: Stephen Curry
Best Comeback Player: Paul George
Individual teammates of the year: