In the grand scheme of things the weekly and monthly NBA awards mean very little, but they are a fun way to look back at the end of the season and to see the story lines at random intervals and a snapshot at the players/teams/coaches that were the most dominant at any given time. For the Raptors it certainly appears like it is going to be a heavy dose of awards by the time the year ends, with three more such being added to the list today.
There will always be multiple contenders for such an award, and there are plenty of surprises in this category each year with so many being handed out, but Kawhi Leonard joins teammate Pascal Siakam as the second Raptor this year to win Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
The Raptors went 3-0 in the week, with two quality wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors and another against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, and Kawhi was dominant across the board with averages of 29.3 points and 9 rebounds per game.
Safe money is this won’t be Kawhi’s last such award.
Hellooooooo, Nurse! It’s nice to see Nick get recognized for his role in the 20-4 start to the season by winning the first Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award. Yes, Nurse took over a 59 win team that added Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, but he has put his own touch on a situation that could have easily been thrown back in his face.
It would be easy to look at what the Raptors have done and assumed that they are simply living up to expectations, but installing two new starters, rotating the starting centre, resting Kawhi on back-to-backs, and dealing with small nagging injuries to Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Delon Wright, and Norman Powell, Nurse should be celebrated for what he is doing.
He has tinkered (although arguably not as much as what was originally indicated) and is still installing sets/plays on both sides of the ball, and 20-4 is an incredibly start to the season for a team that has yet to peak. Nurse earned this award and should be in contention to be the Raptors second straight Coach of the Year if he keeps it up.
Also, even if you remove the record he deserves the award for his Craig Sager suit tribute alone.
The Raptors at present are running both the NBA and the G-League (Raptors905 are currently second in the G-League, but first in our hearts), and Chris Boucher ran away with the G-League Player of the Week after averaging 30.3 points, 15.7 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks while the 905 went 3-0.
Boucher has been a star and if he remains in the G-League all season (the most likely scenario) he should run away with every award that is offered. He is first in the league for points, fourth in rebounds, and first in blocks (4.0 per game!). He also has the league’s best Net Rating at 18.1!
He remains a work in progress and can stand to improve his efficiency, but the Raptors have found a gem for the second straight year with a 2-way contract.
It’s a silly thing, but two Raptors winning Player of the Week in the same week is a beautiful thing.