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Around the NBA: Award Finalists

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.

  • Phil

    Coaches don't work like players. Thibs was going to get more money and, more importantly, a much better opportunity from someone else no matter what the Celtics did. It speaks volumes that he got the job at a ready contender, rather than a bottom feeder. They were lucky to not lose him a year earlier. The Celtics knew what they had in Thibodeau, but they couldn't keep paying two head coaches as long as Doc stuck around. Lets see who the coach is next year before we mourn the loss of Thibs.

    • James Patrick

      Still I wish Doc had talked Thibs into taking the Hornets gig instead. lol

  • kricky

    Puzzled not to see KG not on the shortlist for Defensive Player of the Year. Even with the team's struggles the D has been pretty solid. It's the offense that is sputtering (and defensive rebounding).

    • Mike

      Yeah that was what I was thinking too. Wade really?? KG is soooo muuuchhh better c'mon!

  • Phil

    Good award season primer, a few complaints though: Since this is a Celtics blog, I feel I have to point out that KG, along with Howard, is miles ahead of the rest of the league as far as advanced defensive statistics are concerned. Howard will run away with the award, but I think KG should be second, and I think Iguodala is getting sold short in this category a little as well.

    For MVP, we all know Rose won it weeks ago, but I have a hard time seeing Durant in the top 5. He's suffering from the fact that everyone expected his good numbers from last year to make another huge jump this season, and he's had a down year opposed to expectations. I'm just not that impressed by the 4 seed in the west with a pretty good team. I'd have Lebron, Howard, Bryant, Rose and Wade all ahead of him. I know everyone hates Lebron now, but has a 27/7/7 season ever got less press?

  • talesofJP

    Collins for Coach, although Thibs has been great, he has the MVP (Rose).
    D12 for defensive player, he changes games on defense.
    Blake for Rookie, obviously.
    Aldridge for most improved, he has been great all year, Love has been injured recently and is on a terrible team and it is still close.

    As much as I hate this (and hate him and his team) gotta give the 6th man to Odom. He's been exactly what a 6th man should and is one of their go to rotation players on a number 1-2 seed in the west.

  • Batman

    MVP: Lebron or Howard
    COY: Pop
    MIP: Derrick Rose
    Rookie: Blake
    6th man: Odom

  • Chris O

    MBP: Rose
    COY: Thibs
    MIP: Chris Humphries (seriously)
    ROY: Blake
    6th Man: Odom
    DPOY: Dwight Howard

  • Batman

    But he hasn't improved at all. He is playing 12 more minutes a game, which is why his stats are better
    Derrick rose has improved so much that it is ridiculous

    • Chris O

      Dude he almost never started and barely warranted minutes on a HORRIFIC NJ team last eyar. Now he is starting and playing at a starters level. He has also improved throughout the season getting seemingly better and better. He now averages 10ppg and 10rpg for the eyar. Look at his season splits and watch the increase EVERY MONTH. He started the season 20.3 mpg, 5ppg and 6rpg in Oct, Nov he was 24.2 mpg, 8.4 ppg and 8.8 rpg. Now in March he is 37.0 mpg, 14.2 ppg, and 14.8 rpg. If he could sustain that type of production he has gone from a borderline scrub/almost out of the league player to All-Star type numbers. That is MOST IMPROVED my friend. Rose was a beast pre this eyar. Yes he has upped it but IMO not as much as Humphries

      • Chris O

        OMG apparently I can't type the word year correctly lol

  • kricky

    This is how I see it:

    MVP: Rose (easily)
    COY: Thibs
    MIP: Love (He wasn't even getting crunch time minutes to begin the season) You could also make a real case for Rose too – did anybody think he'd be MVP level good this year)
    ROY: Griffin
    6th Man: Terry
    DPOY: Dwight Howard (KG a close 2nd)

  • Jonathan

    Most Improved Player should mention Dorrel Wright, he doubled his scoring from 8 to 16 PPG now in Golden State

  • Celtics Freak

    What happened to Nick Young, Wizards, for MIP

  • Francois H. Pienaar

    No LBJ for MVP? D12 is good, but honestly, I don't feel he has it in him. DRose on the other hand, wowzer, he get's my vote.

  • Celtics Freak

    Even Rondo should be on the list for MIP

  • I don’t t?hink one ought to dramatize this year as critical or anything else, ?… We’re rebuilding a program. Obviously, I’m sure all of us, including the coaches, would like to see that we’re making progr?ess toward a retur?n to national competitiveness. But I don’t think you put th?at on a single year and say you’ve got to do it now or never.