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Raptors News

Casey, VanVleet among NBA Awards finalists

Not at all awkward.

Well, this is certainly awkward, even if it was entirely expected. The NBA announced the finalists for their year-end awards on Wednesday, and recently fired head coach Dwane Casey is among the three finalists for Coach of the Year.

Casey was already named the NBCA Coach of the Year as voted on by his peers and is considered the favorite to win the media-voted award, as well. Brad Stevens and Quin Snyder are the other finalists. The case for Casey is pretty clear, as he led the Raptors to their fifth step forward in the last six years with a franchise-record 59 wins, a top-five offense, a top-five defense, a top-three net rating, and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. His regular season performance, which included a dramatic shift in the team’s playing style, is difficult to assail, and his job security was instead sunk by another underwhelming postseason showing for the team.

Also up for an award is Fred VanVleet, who is among the three finalists for the Sixth Man of the Year Award along with Eric Gordon and presumptive favorite Lou Williams. VanVleet was the engine of the Raptors’ vaunted Bench Mob, providing leadership, playmaking, shooting, and hard-nosed defense. His counting stats – 8.6 pints, 3.2 assists, 55.6-percent true shooting – pale compare for Gordon and Williams but few players helped their teams win like VanVleet, who ranked first among reserves and fourth among all players in net rating. Bet on yourself, indeed.

VanVleet is also the favorite for the NBA’s unofficial waves of the year award.

The NBA will hand out the end-of-season awards at a special awards show on June 25.

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