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The Hook's 2014 NBA Awards: Knicks failure, Gregg Popovich quotes, worst contracts and more

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Let us guide you back through the 2013-14 NBA regular season with a look at the superlatives in selected categories.

SB Nation 2014 NBA Playoff Bracket

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

The NBA regular season ends soon, which means one very important thing: it's award season! (Also, the playoffs, I suppose.) We could give you our opinions on who should win MVP, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player and all of that. OR, we could celebrate the regular season with gobs of snark and a lineup of invented, meaningless awards.


However, this is a job for a team, not one man. So I recruited some of my friends from and our team blog network to nominate candidates. Meet our esteemed awards council: Paul FlanneryMike PradaEddie MaisonetDavid RothSeth RosenthalAkis YerocostasGreg WissingerJason PattJames HerbertMichael Levin and Evan Dunlap. I made all final award decisions.

Let's go.


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As you can tell, this is a special category.

Andrea Bargnani's infamously ill-fated shot too early in the clock against the Bucks.

The bench's infamous reaction to said shot:

The night J.R. Smith stopped shooting.

The game J.R. took 22 threes.



FARTDOG, the Friendly Alliance of Really Terrible Defenders for Opposing Guards.

J.R.'s Shoelace Gate.


J.R.'s Twitter beef with Brandon Jennings.

Mike Woodson is not going to sit here.

The size of Mike Woodson's suit jackets, which we swear have grown over the course of the season.

Raymond Felton in December after back-to-back blowout wins moved the Knicks to 5-13:

"At some point it was going to get unleashed. Brooklyn was just the team that got the first wrath of it, so everybody else is going to have to feel it later on, too."

Amar'e Stoudemire saying the Knicks might be the best team in the league on paper ... after they were eliminated from the playoffs.

Chris Smith. Chris Smith was a paid professional basketball player for the New York Knicks. Chris Smith.

And the award goes to ...


Nominated by Eddie, Pop on Patty Mills:

"He was a little fat ass. He had too much junk in the trunk. His decision making wasn't great, and he wasn't in great shape. He changed his entire body. He came back svelte and cut and understood you have to make better decisions, point-guard type decisions. He did all those things better and he earned it. He's been real important to us, obviously."

Nominated by Flannery:

"Sometimes in timeouts I'll say, ‘I've got nothing for you. What do you want me to do? We just turned it over six times. Everybody's holding the ball. What else do you want me to do here? Figure it out.' And I'll get up and walk away. Because it's true. There's nothing else I can do for them. I can give them some bulls-, and act like I'm a coach or something, but it's on them."

Nominated by Wissinger:

Nominated by Herbert:

"He's a weirdo. Matty's Matty. He's a lumberjack from New Hampshire. He's like the dweeb, egghead kind of guy. Highly intelligent, great sense of humor, well-read. Coach can't understand what he's saying half the time. He always has questions and you don't even know how to answer ‘em. That's why we love him."

And the award goes to ...

Popovich talking about junk in one's trunk is basically an automatic victory.


Tyreke Evans got what, to do what? And you gave away Robin Lopez to make it happen? Good plan. -- Flannery (Editor's note: this was written before Tyreke mercilessly beat the Thunder on Monday.)

OJ Mayo got $8 million a year from Milwaukee to devour all the bratwurst and brew he could find in town and wear No. 00 to invoke memories of Anthony Avent and Benoit Benjamin. -- Maisonet

Josh Smith, the signing that finally cost Joe Dumars his job. -- Yerocostas

Andrew Bynum. Sure, Cleveland managed to free themselves pretty early in the season, but they dumped, what, $11-12 million down the drain in the process? For that money, they got eight points and five rebounds per game in limited minutes, and a major distraction in practice. -- Wissinger

Tough to pick between Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. Both had god-awful years on an underachieving team and are right up there in the YOLO 3 rankings. -- Patt

It was clear going into the offseason that someone would overpay Josh Smith, and it was equally clear by that point what type of player Josh Smith is and what he does. But the Pistons overpaying with the intention of playing him out of position and then watching him become the world's first sleepwalking chucker ... anyway, the impressive part is that it somehow wound up being worse than expected. -- Roth

The Bucks' Big Four: O.J. Mayo, Zaza Pachulia, Carlos Delfino and Gary Neal. Individually, each one seemed more or less okay, but this was Milwaukee's plan to get back to the playoffs. As a group these guys have been out of shape, injured or traded. Welp. -- Herbert

And the award goes to ...

The panel is clearly leaning toward Josh Smith, but I'm going to go with his spiritual brother, J.R. Smith. Smitty signed an overpriced deal ... then had knee surgery ... then served a drug suspension ... then forgot how to shoot for most of the season ... then got fined for a) shoelace capers and b) a Twitter beef. Only $12 million left on that deal!


A special category from our friend James Herbert.

Let Boris Diaw introduce you to frogging: (Example 1, Example 2, Example 3, Example 4, Example 5, and Example 6). Stop trying to make frogging happen, Boris.


As nominated by Jason Patt.


Kobe unfollowing all of his teammates on Twitter, then switching it up and unfollowing everybody instead. #KobeTweetSystem.

The supervillain piano.

Kobe entering to the Imperial March for his debut.

I guess signing a ludicrous, cap-killing extension and then implying that he expects the team to turn things around instantly is more of a How We Live Now Moment than a Kobe Moment. But it's pretty strong. -- Roth

And the award goes to ...

I'm torn between the hilarious self-awareness present in the Rondo comment and the hilarious lack of self-awareness in the Twitter nonsense. So we'll split the difference and go with him selling out Mike D'Antoni toward the end of the season.


Suspiciously relevant this year, given the travails of the first-rounders.

Ryan Kelly, only because it's always good to hear friends ask during Lakers games, "Is Luke Walton still in the league?" While having to remind him that a) Yes he is, and b) that's not Luke Walton. -- Maisonet

Ray McCallum, because Michael Malone seems intent on giving him a year's worth of minutes in the final month of the season. -- Yerocostas

Either Marko Todorovic or Bojan Dubljevic. -- Flannery

Pierre Jackson. Sure, he never got to the NBA, but when we look back on this answer in a few years I'll look like a genius. -- Wissinger

Ditto on Pierre Jackson. Let's not let the fact that he hasn't played in the NBA this year obscure the fact that he is clearly the best basketball player chosen in the second round of the draft. -- Roth

Erik Murphy for somehow getting signed by the Jazz after showing not a single ounce of NBA talent and getting waived by the Bulls, thus relieving Chicago of his cap hit and creating some more room under luxury tax. -- MYSTERY COUNCILMAN

Nate "I LOVE WALTAHS" Wolters. -- Herbert

And the award goes to ...

Even the second-rounders are underwhelming from this draft class! Let's go with Pierre and hope for the best.


Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports


Jim Buss. I know this is cheating, but for real it's probably Pau Gasol. Poor, sad Pau. -- Flannery

Larry Sanders. Busted his thumb in a bar fight after signing his first post-rookie deal and then got suspended for smoking pot. To top it off, in his apology for the latter, he advocated for its legalization. That stance in and of itself isn't at issue; it's just tonally inappropriate and serves as a sad coda to a lost season. -- Dunlap

Luol Deng. Because no one deserves to be traded to Cleveland. -- Maisonet

Derrick Rose. This was supposed to be his comeback year.  Instead, it's looking like he might be the next Brandon Roy. -- Yerocostas

Kobe Bryant. He fought and clawed his way back from an Achilles injury, only to fracture his lateral tibial plateau in his left knee.  I don't even know what exactly a lateral tibial plateau is, but I know I never want to fracture mine. To fight so hard to get back and to only play six games was a huge disappointment to Kobe and the Lakers.  -- Wissinger

NBA Power Rankings

Andrea Bargnani. Brought in to be the "secondary scorer" to Melo, but almost immediately became a scapegoat for Knicks' poor start. Commited countless boneheaded plays, one which resulted in a season-ending injury and an exceptional mashup. -- Patt

Steve Nash. Every injury sounds and seems more painful than the last, they are coming in rapid succession and every time he comes back for some sad-o cameo, he's playing with the Lakers. He doesn't deserve that. No one does. -- Roth

And the award goes to ...

I want to go with J.R. Smith again, but poor Pau Gasol really had a nasty little year.


The Cleveland Pistons strike me as a franchise in need of a new direction. -- Flannery

Uh ... Knicks. -- Maisonet

Philadelphia if they fall out of the top 3 in the draft. -- Yerocostas

BucksPistonsHawksNuggetsCavsKNICKS -- Levin

Gotta be the Knicks. -- Wissinger

Knicks are an obvious choice, but Pistons are right there. Spend a ton in free agency, fire the coach midseason and then get worse. Never really a threat to make playoffs despite terrible East. -- Patt

The Knicks are a disaster as a team, but a smashing success as a piece of satirical performance art. -- Roth

The Pistons have an oversized frontcourt that brings the worst out of everyone involved, two horrible long-term contracts in Smith and Jennings, a really difficult free-agent decision to make on Greg Monroe, new management, likely a new coach, dwindling fan support and what sounds like an over-eager owner. If they were the New York Pistons, there would be much more coverage of their disastrous situation. -- Prada

And the award goes to ...

The Cavaliers and Pistons were expected to make the postseason and failed. The Knicks were talking about winning a championship. They missed the playoffs in a conference in which 37 wins gets you in. No contest. Knicks Knicks Knicks.


OKC vs. Golden State. Double game winner. -- Maisonet

Sixers beating Miami in their first game of the season. -- Levin

March 26. Pacers 84, Heat 83. I don't care if the Pacers have slipped recently, just please give me a 7-game series between these two teams. -- Wissinger

March 21. Thunder 119, Raptors 118 in double overtime. Durant goes nova and brings Thunder back in second OT, nailing ridiculous three to win.

And the award goes to ...

OKC-Golden State.


Absurd Raymone passes. -- Maisonet

LBJ and FLOTUS -- Wissinger

Game-winner over Iggy -- Patt

These two passes to Ray Allen, only one of which resulted in a made basket. -- Prada

And the award goes to ...

The FLOTUS play, but only because of Michelle Obama's stinkface.


From Ed:

From Akis:

From Patt:

And the award goes to ...

"Terrence Ross just did that."


The Nick Young era in L.A. -- Maisonet

Isaiah Thomas is technically still a minimum contract player, and he's averaging 20.7 points and 6.4 assists a game. -- Yerocostas

D.J. Augustin. Dude stunk in Indy last year and was waived by the Raptors this year before tearing it up with the Bulls. Once again proving that Thibs is the point-guard whisperer, unless your name is Marquis Teague. -- Patt

Shaun Livingston has been really great, and remains a great story and an easy dude to cheer for. But also holy crap how is Isaiah Thomas making the minimum. I assume that, like Livingston's salary, will rectify itself soon enough. -- Roth

And the award goes to ...

I'm giving the award to Shaun Livingston only because Isaiah is still on a second-round rookie deal. Had he been a free agent like Livingston last summer, Isaiah would be making millions. Both will be making millions next year.


Sunday Shootaround

Andrew Nicholson. 16.9 points/36 on 55.7 percent True Shooting as a rookie; 13.1 points/36 on 47.5 percent as sophomore. Asking him to shoot the occasional corner three sounded like a good idea in camp, but it's yielded poor results. It seems to have affected his confidence inside the arc as well; he's shooting 44.9 percent on twos after converting 52.7 percent in his first season. -- Dunlap

Ricky Rubio shoots as well as your little brother does when he tries to play NBA 2K on the hardest level. On second thought, little brother might shoot better than Rubio. -- Maisonet

Ersan Ilyasova. PER dropped from 18.3 to 13.8. True Shooting percentage drop from .552 to .486. Three-point percentage dropped from .444 to .282.  Oh, and he's locked in to two more years of a guaranteed $7.9 million a year. Then again, the Bucks could probably field an entire team of Most Devolved Players. Sup O.J. Mayo. -- Yerocostas

Derrick Williams. Getting out of Adelman's system was supposed to help Thrilly D Williams, but he's become an afterthought in Sacramento and is regularly outshined by Travis Outlaw. -- Wissinger

Can we count first-half Paul George and second-half Paul George? -- Patt

Ilyasova's the saddest. That whole team has spent the year collaborating on forgetting how to play basketball, and he is absolutely leading the way. No one looks more lost out there than him, which is baffling because of how good he looked exactly one year ago. I'm bumming myself out writing this. -- Roth

Harrison Barnes. He's in the wrong role and his confidence is shot. Too bad, because the dude was fearless in the playoffs as a rookie. Super bummer. -- Herbert

And the award goes to ...

Nicholson and Barnes have compelling cases, but they are young and we're not sure last season was truer than this season. Ilyasova, though, appears to have forgotten how to function on a basketball court.


Anything involving Ian Eagle. -- Flannery

Tommy Heinsohn goes full Hawk Harrelson -- Patt

I really liked the one where Reggie Miller was like, "Wow, that player did a really bad job there. You've got to do a better job than that." I learned a lot AND it sounded great. -- Roth

NO, ED MALLOY! -- Herbert

WEDGIE! -- Prada

And the award goes to ...

NO, ED MALLOY! What a call.


#SelfieSunday for the Kings. -- Yerocostas

Hipster Mustaches, San Antonio Spurs.  Mostly because it's weird for the Spurs to acknowledge any trend that exists post-1999. -- Wissinger

The Bulls Big Macs promotion for scoring 100 points in wins has been around awhile, but the fact that the team now has the "Running of the Big Macs" is just goofy as hell. -- Patt

Bucks' Beard night -- Herbert

Drake Night (Raps, duh). -- Herbert

Y2K Night in Milwaukee! PT Cruiser! Coolio! -- Rosenthal

And the award goes to ...

The Bucks gave away a PT Cruiser! You really cannot beat that. This also gives me a reason to remind you that, for some bizarre reason, the NBA elected to have Vanilla Ice make an unannounced performance on All-Star Saturday in New Orleans. This decision has still not been explained. I blame the Pistons' '90s Night promotion for bringing Ice back into our collective consciousness.


I have a feeling we missed some great candidates, so fire away in the comments! Many thanks to the esteemed awards council for their input.