The National Basketball Association ended another fine season last evening and now heads into the playoff season which in my most humble opinion is far too long but hey? What do I know (Coughs, TV Money, Coughs)?
With the playoffs ready to start, it’s high time we take a look at the players who are up for the major awards this season and of course I’ll be giving you my picks along with who I think will actually win each award. Let’s start at the top.
NBA Most Valuable Player Award
Who Should Win? LeBron James
Who Will Win? LeBron James
James went above his career averages in both rebounds per game and assists per game while dropping about a point per game scoring-wise this season but that is just the tip of the iceberg. During the Heat’s incredible 27-game winning streak, James was the catalyst throughout and not just in scoring.
Arguments could be made for Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant but in terms of sheer consistency and the ability to make everyone around him better, James has to be the pick. One argument that does carry some weight is that Bryant and Durant play in the Western Conference which is overall a better conference top-to-bottom but that isn’t enough to take anything away from James who has clearly become the best player in the league now over the last couple of seasons.
- Lillard had an outstanding rookie campaign for the Blazers.
NBA Rookie of the Year Award
Who Should Win? Damian Lillard
Who Will Win? Damian Lillard
The fact that Lillard comes from ‘basketball powerhouse’ Weber State is enough to make his ascencion to a great NBA player all the more impressive. While in his rookie campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers, Lillard averaged 19 points and six and a half assists per game from his point guard position.
While Lillard’s season nearly got his team to the playoffs, fellow rookie Anthony Davis will make a run at the award despite playing for a lesser team in New Orleans. Davis, from Kentucky, averaged 13.5 points and 8.2 points per game and arguably had more on his shoulders but I can’t help but be impressed with the season of Lillard.
NBA Most Improved Player Award
Who Should Win? Paul George
Who Will Win? Paul George
Other players such as Jrue Holiday, Larry Sanders and Brook Lopez are also deserving, I find George’s season to be the most impressive. Consider the fact his Indiana Pacers played nearly the entire season without Danny Granger. The Pacers were still able to win the Central Division and a large part of that was due to George’s expanded role.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award
Who Should Win? J.R. Smith
Who Will Win? J.R. Smith
In his eighth year, Smith has become a valuable player for the New York Knicks and could arguably be the MVP of the team with only Carmelo ahead of him. Smith comes off the bench to average over 18 points and five rebounds per game in about 32 minutes of action. This one is pretty clear cut in my opinion.
NBA Coach of the Year
Who Should Win? Erik Spoelstra
Who Will Win? George Karl
Karl has had an excellent run this season with Denver and is very deserving of the award, but for me, the pressure on Spoelstra was immense last year and was just as huge this year. His Heat authored a 27-game winning streak and as any defending champion knows, you have to battle complacency as well.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award
Who Should Win? Joakim Noah
Who Will Win? Marc Gasol
Noah played in just 65 games this year compared to 79 for Gasol but what Noah brings to the table I find just a bit more impressive. Noah can defend in the post and can also handle power and small forwards when necessary. His rebounding and blocked shots are a product of his length which frustrates opponents.