To little surprise, the Magic were left largely out of the running for many of the NBA awards passed out this year. Being the team with the worst record in the league, it was going to be pretty clear that the Magic would be largely ignored. These awards tend to go to players on teams with, say, winning records.
The winners were not surprises either. LeBron James was a near unanimous winner of the MVP award. Damian Lillard won Rookie of the Year. J.R. Smith was the league's Sixth Man of the Year, edging out Jamal Crawford. And Paul George won the league's Most Improved Player of the Year Award.
Except for Nikola Vucevic in the Most Improved Player race, the Magic had little hope of getting recognition in the awards races. And it turned out that would be the case.
Vucevic and Arron Afflalo were the only players to receive any votes in the NBA's awards season voting. J.J. Redick also received votes for Sixth Man of the Year.
Vucevic finished fourth in the race for Most Improved Player behind George, Greivis Vasquez and Larry Sanders. Vucevic took advantage of increased playing time this year in scoring 13.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game, amassing the third most double doubles in the league this season including three 20/20 games and the franchise-best 29 rebounds against Miami.
Afflalo, surprisingly finished 21st in the Most Improved voting.
However, the shocker was that neither Maurice Harkless nor Andrew Nicholson were among those voted on for Rookie of the Year. Harkless came on strong at the end of the year after struggling to find his way at the beginning of the season. Perhaps he did not have the yearlong consistency of John Jenkins, who finished with the least amount of votes. However, it still seemed like Harkless should have gotten at least one vote.
Better luck next year when Harkless tries to get to All-Star Weekend for the Rising Stars Challenge, a competition that Nicholson participated in with Vucevic this year in Houston.
Of course, it is tough to break into voting awards when your team is at the bottom of the standings. Whatever improvement or success Orlando might have had went largely unnoticed to the national media it would seem.