The 2017-18 NBA season gave us no shortage of storylines. Throughout the entire season, every team gave us an outstanding player that we at lwosports.com wants to recognize. Here are the 2017-18 Pacific Division MVP’s.
Atlantic Division MVP’s
Boston Celtics: SF Jayson Tatum
The most valuable player on the Boston Celtics last season was Jayson Tatum. Jayson was the third overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by Boston after they traded down with Philadelphia. Tatum didn’t expect to have a huge workload with the additions of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. In the first game of the season just 5 minutes in Hayward went down with an injury that would cost him to miss the rest of the season. Jayson Tatum was called upon and he delivered for Boston. He had a remarkable rookie season leading the Celtics to a win away from the NBA Finals and making a name for himself in the league. Tatum played in 80 games in the regular while averaging 30 minutes a game and 14 points per game on 48% field goal percentage and 43% field goal percentage from three. Then in the postseason Tatum played in 19 games while increasing his minutes played to 36 and seeing his scoring jump to 19 points per game.
Being a rookie in the league is a hard task especially getting the feel of an NBA season and the physical and mental toughness night in and night out. Tatum played a total of 99 games in his rookie season while being one of the top players on the Celtics. Jayson knows his potential and has been in the gym since the season ended so look for him to add to his stellar rookie season with even better numbers next season.
Brooklyn Nets: PG Spencer Dinwiddie
The most valuable player on the Brooklyn Nets last season was Spencer Dinwiddie. Spencer has been on two teams over his short 4 year career while only playing in 46 games and starting only one game in his first two seasons in Detroit. Spencer found a home in Brooklyn two seasons ago where he played in 59 total games while starting 18 of them. Then this season he got the attention of the coaching staff and earned his mark in the rotation. Spencer played in 80 total games while starting 58 of them and being a reliable player on the Nets. Spencer was nominated for most improved player in the league this season.
Whether he starts or comes off the bench he is an effective guard who can score, defend, rebound, look for his teammates, and create for himself. Spencer averaged 29 minutes per game and 13 points per game on 39% from the field and 7 assists per game. His numbers aren’t going to blow you away but what he does on the court and off the court will. Spencer is an above average starting guard in the league and an even better back up guard who can control a team.
New York Knicks: C Enes Kanter
The most valuable player on the New York Knicks last season was Enes Kanter. Kanter was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder last offseason when the Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony. Kanter was a blessing in disguise for the New York Knicks and wound up being the starting center. Enes had a good year although the Knicks season wasn’t what they expected and was a tad disappointing.
Kanter started all 71 games that he played in and he was the heart and soul of the Knicks night in and night out. Kanter averaged 14 points per game on 59% field goal percentage and 11 rebounds per game in 26 minutes per game. Kanter has a player option for this upcoming season and no decision has been made on if he will opt in or opt out of his deal. Enes has made it known that he loves New York and this franchise and loves the direction that the franchise is going and would love to be apart of the future in New York. He has also made it known that new head coach David Fizdale will have a huge part in his decision.
Philadelphia 76ers: SF Ben Simmons
The most valuable player on the Philadelphia 76ers last season was Ben Simmons. After thinking long and hard about this decision I came to conclusion that Ben Simmons was the most valuable player. I was debating between Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, and JJ Redick but without Simmons the 76ers wouldn’t have had the season they had. Ben Simmons was in his second year in the league last season but was considered a rookie because he missed his first season.
The 76ers didn’t know what they were getting in Simmons and didn’t know what to expect from him after missing a full year. Simmons came in and was dominate from the start putting up incredible numbers. Simmons started all 81 games that he played in last season and although he was the small forward on the team, he was also the primary ball handler. In his first season in the league Simmons averaged 16 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, 8 assists per game, and 34 minutes per game while shooting 55% from the field. He led the Philadelphia 76ers to the second round of the playoffs after being at the bottom of the league for the past 4 – 5 years.
Ben Simmons is one of the top players in the league and I would expect him to look to add onto his rookie season and only get better from here. Simmons has some flaws in his game which include his mid range and three point shot but if he just keeps working then he has the chance to be one of the greats in the league.
Toronto Raptors: SG Demar Derozan
The most valuable player on the Toronto Raptors last season was Demar Derozan. The Raptors changed their whole philosophy last season after having great regular seasons and disappointing postseasons. Toronto decided they needed to rest their stars more in the regular season and move the ball more and get eachother involved. The Raptors finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference and Derozan was a big part of their success. Demar played and started in 80 games last season but his minutes were reduced to about 34 minutes per game. Derozan averaged 23 points per game, 5 assists per game and 4 rebounds per game on 46% field goal percentage.
Demar is one of the top players in the league and puts up the numbers to prove it year in and year out. Derozan is the leader of the Raptors and shows his heart and soul and toughness on the court night in and night out. The Raptors ended up getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs and made a change at head coach as well as their general manager saying they are willing to move pieces. Demar and the Raptors should be in store for another good year next season and will have to get over the hump of the Cavaliers.
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