The NBA will announce its major award winners beginning at 9 p.m. Monday night with a special first-time ceremony hosted by Drake.
The Heat’s Erik Spoelstra is one of three finalists for the NBA’s Coach of the Year award along with Houston’s Mike D’Antoni and San Antonio’s Gregg Poppovich, and center Hassan Whiteside is a finalist for the league’s best block.
Earlier in the afternoon Monday, the Heat came up just short when the league announced its All-Defensive and All-Rookie teams.
Whiteside, who was named to the All-Defensive Second Team in 2015-16 when he led the NBA in blocks, was the only Heat player to receive votes for the All-Defensive team this season and he placed fourth among centers with 25 total votes. He received one first-team vote.
Utah center Rudy Gobert earned first team honors along with forwards Draymond Green (Golden State) and Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio) and guards Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) and Patrick Beverley (Houston). New Orleans center Anthony Davis was named to the second team along with guards Tony Allen (Memphis) and Danny Green (San Antonio) and forwards Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee). Clippers center DeAndre Jordan earned the third-most votes (35) among centers.
The Heat finished fifth in the NBA defensive rating last season. Forward James Johnson, who was one of the league’s elite defenders in isolation situations, didn’t receive a single vote.
Guard Rodney McGruder, meanwhile, just missed the cut to earn All-Rookie honors. He finished 11th among all rookies with 61 votes – two fewer than Dallas guard Yogi Ferrell, who named the last spot on the All-Rookie Second Team.
Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, Philadelphia’s Dario Saric and Joel Embiid, Sacramento’s Buddy Hield and New York’s Willy Hernangomez earned All-Rookie First Team honors. Denver’s Jamal Murray, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Phoenix’s Marquese Chriss, the Lakers’ Brandon Ingram and Ferrell made up the second team.
McGruder made 65 starts as a rookie and averaged 6.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists for Miami. Those numbers weren’t necessarily overly impressive, but McGruder did finish third among all rookies in win shares (2.9) behind only Brogdon (4.1) and Hernangomez (3.4).
Clearly, Heat captain Udonis Haslem was taking score.
“If you know anything about being a champion then you would know you can’t win without guys like Rodney McGruder,” Haslem wrote on Instagram Monday afternoon. “[I don’t know] who the hell chooses these all rookie teams, but I’ll be damned if he wasn’t one of the best rookie stories of the year. Just another reason to stay hungry and keep that underdog mentality like I told you bra. Stay prayed up and get what you deserve next season!”