The 2017 NBA Finals Participation Awards

Not everyone should get an award. But it's 2017, and so everyone will.

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Credit: http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1038787-you-tried

There is only one real individual award given out after the NBA Finals. Actually, because of the stupid way the NBA is now unveiling the regular season individual award winners, technically all individual awards are given out after the Finals, but what I mean is that only one of those is in reference to Finals-only performance.

That award is the Finals MVP, and Kevin Durant just won it for the five game William Wallace-ing he just laid down on the Cavs. He earned and deserved it. However, it is also 2017, and that means everyone needs an award, even if everyone doesn’t get a trophy.

A friend of mine is a school teacher, and she had me help create year-end awards for all of her students. When I asked what these awards were supposed to be, um, rewarding, she said, “Participation,” and looked at me like I was crazy for not already understanding the concept. Participation awards are unnecessary, annoying, and stupid, but it is 2017, and stupidity reigns supreme. So, here are your 2017 NBA Finals Participation Awards:

Most Likely to Be Unfairly Shit-Talked in the Future for Not Winning a Finals MVP: 

Steph Curry.

This award obviously goes to Curry, who was the best player on the 2015 Warriors title team, but not this year’s championship squad. He is one of only nine guys in the history of the league to win two regular season MVP awards as well as two NBA titles. The other guys are Jordan, Magic, Bird, Duncan, LeBron, Wilt, Russell and Kareem. People are most certainly going to talk shit about Steph because he hasn’t won a Finals MVP yet, but those people can STFU for three reasons.

  1. LeBron is the best player in the world. The past six Finals MVPs have either been LeBron, or the guy who guarded LeBron. That was Durant this year.
  2. In 18 career NBA Finals games, Curry averages 24.9 PPG.
  3. The Warriors are going to win like, four more titles in a row. Curry will be the MVP of one of them.

Most Likely to Prompt the Response, “Wait a second, WHO has two rings?”

Ian Clark.

Most Likely to Confuse the Shit out of Some Poor Parent Who Just Wants to Buy their Child the Jersey for their Favorite Cavs Player, but their Child Only Specified that their Favorite Player was Der. Williams, and the Parent Can’t Remember if Der- ended in -ick, or -on.

Deron Williams & Derrick Williams (Tie).

Note: This scenario requires a living, breathing human being to actually have either Deron Williams or Derrick Williams as their favorite player, so it’s extremely unlikely, unless you are related to Deron Williams or Derrick Williams, in which case, you probably know which jersey is theirs.

Actually never mind, even their own relatives probably don’t know that.

Most Likely to Reach his Eighth Straight NBA Finals Next Season:

James Jones.

Jones rode LeBron’s coattails for his entire tenure in Miami, and jumped ship with him to Cleveland as well three years ago. Jones must be the best teammate ever.

Most Likely to Spend the Summer Shirtless Again Because YOLO:

J.R. Smith.

After winning the title last year, Smith famously spent most of the following summer being photographed shirtless. Why did we all think that had anything to do with winning the title? J.R. is going to be shirtless again all offseason, and hopefully all next season. Ideally, he gets his jersey tattooed on his body so he can play the season shirtless. I know advertisers are soon going to be placing small patches on jerseys to boost league revenue, but I’m sure if they offered to pay for J.R.’s tattoo, he’d be cool with it.

Most Likely to NOT Prompt the Response “Oh, Which Georgia?”:

Zaza Pachulia.

Pachulia is from Georgia. Use your brain. It’s not the one that’s a state.

Most Likely to Have a Statue of His Mid-range Jumper Erected Outside His High School:

Shaun Livingston.

I watched many of the Finals games with a friend of mine who does not know much about basketball. Every time Livingston took defenders into his office in the short post and hit his little turnaround jumper where he extends his arms 17 feet into the air and essentially drops the ball downwards into the hoop, my friend would say, “Why doesn’t he do that all the time?” and I would have to respond, “He does. He does do it all the time. It will probably be the position in which he asks to be buried.”

Most Likely to Already Be Looking at Houses in Indiana: 

Kevin Love.

Poor Love. He’s an All-Star level player capable of carrying his own team to the playoffs (in the East) if he wanted to. As LeBron transitions into a full-time point-power forward though, Love’s inability to protect the rim makes him a liability as a center. He’s probably getting traded this summer.

Most Likely to Be Discussed as a Potential Hall of Famer When He Definitely Does Not Deserve to Be One:

Andre Iguodala.

Iggy is now a two-time champion, a Finals MVP, a one-time All-Star, and a two-time All-Defensive Team member. Those are not the stats of a Hall of Famer. There are those that will bring up Manu Ginobili in comparison, since Ginobili has a similarly low count of accolades and yet is widely expected to be enshrined. Those people forget that Manu has four titles, and was a top three player on most of them, or all of them, depending on what you value. He also is the god of Argentine Basketball, made the Eurostep famous (despite not being European), and won a Gold Medal for a country not named the United States. Manu will be in the Hall of Fame. Iguodala will not.

Most Likely to Leave a “2017 NBA Champions” Ring-Shaped Impression on Derek Fisher’s Cheekbone:

Matt Barnes.

Lol.

Most Likely to Have Finally Convinced Every Anti-Analytics Basketball Fan that Mid-range Jumpers are a Bad Idea:

Iman Shumpert.

There were between four and six thousand instances over the course of the five Finals games in which Iman Shumpert took an ill-advised jump shot. I know they were ill-advised because they were shot by Iman Shumpert, but they were dumb anyway, because the only players in the series who should’ve been even thinking about taking step-back midrange jumpers were LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Shaun Livingston. That’s it. Shumpert missed just about every single one he took and probably caused many Cavs fans to start ripping out their hair in frustration.

Most Likely to Be Forgotten Before You Reach The End of This Article:

Damian Jones.

Sorry dog. But when you play only 21 more minutes in the playoffs than I do, you’re probably getting forgotten.

Most Likely to Have An Existential Crisis Similar to a Dog Who Finally Caught The Mailman:

David West.

Two years ago, David West turned down a $12 million player option for the final year of his contract with the Indiana Pacers and instead signed a $1.5 million deal with the San Antonio Spurs, in hopes that they would be able to win him his first NBA championship ring. He left about $11 million on the table to chase a ring. When the Spurs failed to reach the promised land last year, West ring-chased again, signing with Golden State for the league minimum. The Warriors won, and David West has his first ring.

But now that he finally has it, what will he do now? Will he stay put and win more rings? Or will future Warriors rings feel empty, because he wouldn’t have had to chase them? Is a destination worth it without the journey to get there? Will he and Tristan Thompson exchange phone numbers after their tussle/make out session during Game 5? Will Khloe Kardashian care? These are all questions David West needs to answer.

Most Likely to Leave You In The Dark About Whether or Not He’s Retiring or Is In Fact Already Retired:

Dahntay Jones.

Jones played one game all regular season. He played one game all last regular season too. Why is he still in the league, and why does Cleveland keep bringing him on for their playoff runs? Nobody actually cares whether Dahntay Jones retires or not, so even though he will leave you in the dark about the status of his career, it’s the kind of darkness you don’t even acknowledge, like how it’s probably pretty dark under the couch in your neighbor’s house, but that’s not anything you ever really need to spend time thinking about.

Runner Up: Most Likely to Leave You In The Dark About Whether or Not He’s Retiring or Is In Fact Already Retired:

Richard Jefferson.

People do actually care whether or not he retires, but not because he’s good anymore, because he certainly is not good anymore. People care about Richard Jefferson’s retirement status the way they care about their aging father’s retirement status. They think he should probably retire soon to somewhere warm, but if he wants to keep working, who are we stop him?

Most Likely to Be This Year’s Version of J.R. Smith:

JaVale McGee.

Last year, as mentioned above, J.R. Smith went nuts after winning the title. Ridiculed as a goofball for most of his career, Smith was finally vindicated and everyone was super pumped for him. That’s JaVale this year. I am so happy “JaVale McGee, NBA Champion,” is a real phrase now. I hope he dunks his ring as soon as he gets it.

Most Likely to Already Have Enough Accolades So That I Can Basically Exclude Them From This Exercise:

Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, & LeBron James (Tie)

Most Likely to Be Maybe Sorta Kinda Good in the Future:

Patrick McCaw.

McCaw was a 2nd round pick for the Warriors last year and actually played about 15 minutes per game over the course of the 71 regular season games he was featured in. He played in all five Finals games and went to high school at the Montrose Christian School in Maryland. You know who else played in all 5 Finals games and went to Montrose Christian? Kevin Durant. This means absolutely nothing. Stop considering it.

Most Likely to Be the Last Two Players Mentioned Because I Actually Forgot to Put Them On Here and Don’t Want to Bother Thinking of an Award for Them:

James Michael McAdoo, Kevon Looney & Edy Tavares (Tie)

And there you have it. Your 2017 NBA Finals Participation Awards. Go stick it on your fridge, kids.

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