Next week the 1st annual “Around the NBA Awards,” will be announced with everything from MVP to All-Rookie 2nd Team. The regular season comes to an end in just 8 short days, and then one of the most anticipated playoffs will begin. But for now, let us just take a look at the finalists for some of the big time NBA Awards.
Coach of the Year:
-Doug Collins, 76ers
Did you think Philly would be the 6 seed in the East, let alone above .500? Of course you did.
-George Karl, Nuggets
Think about what George Karl has had to go through this season. Putting up with the whole will he, won’t he with his best player, only to get 80 cents on the dollar (at best), and turn it into an intriguing playoff team.
-Tom Thibodeau, Bulls
The defense-first former C’s assistant has his Bulls a top the East and fighting for the #1 overall seed heading into the playoffs. Any other year he would be a slam dunk, but Collins and Karl are stiff competition.
Defensive Player of the Year:
-Tyson Chandler, Mavericks
Much like Kevin Garnett did for the Celtics back in ’07-’08, Chandler has completely changed the defensive attitude for the Mavs this season. There’s a “D” in Dallas joke in there somewhere.
-Dwight Howard, Magic
If he wins it, he would become the 1st player ever to be named D-Player of the Year in 3 consecutive seasons. His chances are strong, to very strong.
-Dwyane Wade, Heat
Miami was playing near .500 basketball for a good part of the beginning of the year. Their triumvirate started to get it together, having nights where they would score 90+ combined points, but perhaps the biggest change was D-Wade turning into the Glove on defense.
6th Man of the Year:
-Jamal Crawford, Hawks
Crawford won this award last season and if he were to win it again, he would join Detlef Schrempf and Kevin McHale as the only back-to-back winners, and toss in Rickey Pierce as the only other 2-time recipient of the award.
-Lamar Odom, Lakers
Odom has basically split his time between coming off the bench and starting this season for LA. (34 starts, 42 games off the bench and counting). He probably has the biggest impact of any sub in the league.
-Jason Terry, Mavericks
JET won this award to years ago; so much the same historical significance applies from Crawford here. Terry has carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA, great scorer off the bench. In fact he’s 2nd on the team in scoring behind Dirk, and has allowed them to still be successful minus Caron Butler.
Rookie of the Year:
-DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
He has literally been everything the scouts thought he would be, for better or worse. 3rd in points, 2nd in rebounding, and 4thin blocks among rookies, and got thrown off the team plane for fighting Donta Green and tossed out of practices for arguing with coaches. But did I mention the talent?
-Blake Griffin, Clippers
You can argue that he was technically in the league last year, but I still believe he should be eligible. He had a medical red shirt, get over it if you don’t think he’s a rookie.
-John Wall, Wizards
Terrible team, but Wall definitely showed flashes this year of why he was the #1 pick in the draft. 16.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists is nothing to sneeze at. I understand he does it in meaningless games, but those are solid numbers for anyone.
Also worth mentioning: Greg Monroe, Pistons and Landry Fields, Knicks
Most Improved Player Award:
-LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers
He is averaging 4 points and .6 rebounds more a game this year than last, but it’s more than just the numbers. If you watch Aldridge this year, he’s just better, no way around it. Of course I’ve always hated “Most Improved,” sounds like the guy sucked the year before. We would always make fun of the “Most Improved,” “winner” in high school and college.
-Kevin Love, Timberwolves
We all know about K-Love this year with his double-doubles and selection to the All-Star team despite being on one of the league’s worst clubs. In his 3rdyear (which would have been his senior season at UCLA), Love improved his ppg from 14 to 20.2 and his rpg from 11 to a league best 15.2. His shooting %’s are up across the board as well, making him pretty tough to beat for this “award.”
-DeMar DeRozan, Raptors
He’s also on a bad team, but DeMar improved his scoring from 8.6 points per game as a rookie to 16.8 this season. Let’s not forget he got jobbed at the dunk contest too, so maybe he deserves this as an I-O-U.
-Kevin Durant, Thunder
The league’s leading scorer is not going to average 30 points per game like he did last season, but he deserves to be in this conversation. The Thunder are primed to host a 1st round playoff series for the first time in franchise history.
-Dwight Howard, Magic
If there was any year for Howard to win the MVP, it’s this year. He will finish with a career high in points per game, he’s currently matching his best rebounding effort, career high in steals, all while shooting 60% from the field. Throw in adjusting to two separate supporting casts and likely another D-Player of the Year Award, and he could just do it.
-Derrick Rose, Bulls
He is about to set career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, 3pt %, FT%, and minutes while doing it on the best team in the Eastern Conference. With all the talk about the Heat and Celtics, Derrick Rose has led his team (through injuries, see Noah, Joakim and Boozer, Carlos) to the best record, potentially in all of basketball.
Also worth mentioning: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Heat
Check back next week when I unveil all of the winners for these awards and many others.