Before tip-off last night, the NBA announced the finalists in the six major categories, fans and pundits alike, love to belabor throughout the season. Beginning with the shortlisted "Top 3" for the MVP award, Giannis Antetokounmpo stands a great chance of outpacing the other two finalists, Paul George, and James Harden, by virtue of the Bucks finish atop the Eastern Conference standings.

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The "Rookie of the Year" were also accounted for. Among them, Luka Doncic is the clear favorite heading into the offseason, but Trae Young's strong 2nd half performance in 2018-2019 is likely to have manifested a certain degree of "recency bias" within the voting committee. Elsewhere, two different LA Clippers figure amongst the finalists for the "Sixth Man Award," a testament to the team's deep rotation.

On the defensive end, Rudy Gobert is a solid bet to repeat as DPOY, but don't count "The Greek Freak" and his impressionable displays on the open floor, chasing down blocks and reaching for steals. The journalists who vote on the silverware have a particular affinity for the spectacular. The remaining trophies are reserved for the league's "Coach of the Year," and "Most Improved Player." I'll let you prophesize on the rest.

Most Valuable Player

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
James Harden, Houston Rockets

Rookie of the Year

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Sixth Man Award

Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Lou Williams, LA Clippers

Defensive Player of the Year

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Most Improved Player

De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

Coach of the Year

Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks
Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets
Doc Rivers, LA Clippers

[Via]