The Cavs should be up for these post-season awards
It’s not fair to go up against the Cavs this season for any post-season awards. Cleveland is clearly a front runner for at least six of the awards, and that’s not really in dispute. They’re a strong 13-10, and I say strong because they had a string of five losses in a row that easily could’ve been victories had they not been so banged up, as well as being without two of their key bigs due to health and safety protocols.
The Cavs should be the front runners but that doesn’t mean there aren’t deserving teams and players outside of Cleveland who are going to make a case for their own legitimacy.
The problem is, the Cavs have a handicap. Their handicap is that everything they do is more magnified after the last three years of terrible basketball. They were a team that wasn’t considered to be a playoff-bound team in 2021-2022, let alone able to beat the very best the NBA has to offer.
*Note: This was written before the Cavs and Jazz met on Sunday*
Sixth Man of the Year – Ricky Rubio/Kevin Love
They’re going to take votes from one another, but Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love are both vying for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Rubio is averaging 13 points and six assists per game, while Love is averaging closer to a double-double, with 11 points and nearly eight rebounds a game. Both men have been incredibly vital to the Cavs during this rebound season, and both men should be up for the award.
If you can argue that any two players have been as integral to a team’s success this early into the season, I’d love to hear it. Rubio has been able to negate the loss of Collin Sexton’s ball movement, and his ability to score and lead the second unit has allowed Isaac Okoro to fit in seamlessly with the starters. The starting five’s defense is robust with Okoro’s addition, and that’s contributing to the success. A success that was made possible due to Rubio’s versatility.
Love has also shown up. He started a bit slow but he’s been picking up in the last few weeks with his shooting. What’s most notable is his hustle and effort on defense; it’s been years since we’ve seen him play so strong and committed.