SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Guard James Harden of the Houston Rockets was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player during the league’s annual awards show Monday night.

Harden joined Michael Jordan as the only players to average at least 20 points, eight assists, five rebounds and 1.7 steals in a season.

Harden led the league in scoring, 3-pointers and 50-point games with four. He helped the Rockets to an NBA-leading 65 wins.

Harden beat out LeBron James of Cleveland and Anthony Davis of New Orleans for the award.


COACH OF THE YEAR: Dwane Casey was honored for his work with the Toronto Raptors, who fired him last month. He has since become the coach of the Detroit Pistons.

Casey led the Raptors to the No. 1 seed in the East for the first time in franchise history. Toronto won a team-record 59 games. Casey coached the East in the All-Star Game.

Casey was named the winner over Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz and Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Guard Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers won the honor. He averaged 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, joining Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only rookies to post those numbers in a season.

Simmons helped Philadelphia to a 52-30 record, including ending the regular season with a 16-game winning streak.

He beat out finalists Donovan Mitchell of Utah and Jayson Tatum of Boston.

MOST IMPROVED: Guard Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers won the award. He averaged 23.1 points in his first season with the Pacers and earned his first All-Star berth.

Oladipo also led the league in steals for the first time.

He beat out Clint Capela of Houston and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Center Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was the leading vote-getter for the all-defensive first team.

Gobert anchored a defense that ranked second in the NBA in defensive rating.

He beat out Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Joel Embiid of Philadelphia.

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR: Guard Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers won the award.

He became the first player to average at least 20 points for the first time in his 13th season or later. He led the league in fourth-quarter points and scoring average.

Williams beat out Eric Gordon of Houston, last year’s winner, and Fred VanVleet of Toronto.

Williams kissed his two young daughters on his way to the stage after becoming the Clippers’ third winner in the last five years.


PACERS: Indiana is parting ways with guard Lance Stephenson, the gritty veteran who brought energy off the bench in last season’s surprising run to the playoffs.

Indiana won’t pick up the team option next season, said the president of basketball operations, Kevin Pritchard.

“This was a very difficult decision, but as free agency begins on July 1, we want to have flexibility so we can prepare for all of our available options,” he said.