Since the NBA season is reaching the halfway mark this week, I thought I'd take a look at the season awards and two things with them.
1. Point out who should win the award if it were given out RIGHT NOW
2. Point out who I think has the best chance to win and should win, if they keep up their season output.
I'd like to do this in "teams of 3" giving out a winner and 2 runner ups for each award.
Rookie of the Year
Winner: Blake Griffin
He's leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. Yes, pun intended.
Runners Up: John Wall and then everyone else.
I can't see anyone else taking this award, unless Griffin gets injured.
Defensive Player of the Year
Winner: Dwight Howard
One of the more overrated players in the league IMO, you can't take away his ability to change the game down low. The guy doesn't have a jump shot, he can't shoot a foul shot and he is in foul trouble almost every game. But he knows defense.
Runners Up: Kevin Garnett and Al Horford
KG is obviously the backbone to the Celtics' defensive schemes. They play much better when he is on the floor. Horford battles both spots (the four and five) effectively. He can stay with smaller/quicker PF's and he bruises with bigger centers.
Right now it's Howard's to lose... but if KG can stay healthy, he has a good chance of stealing it away. He is that important to Boston.
Coach of the Year
Winner: Tom Thibideau
He's had the Bulls running on all cylinders all year, even with an injury to one of their major players in Noah. D-Rose is playing at an elite level and could be in the mix for MVP by the end of the year.
Runners Up: Eric Spoelstra and Greg Popovich
Listen. The fact that Spoelstra didn't get run out of Miami was amazing, considering their bad start. He weathered the storm, stood his ground and now has to manage three massive egos. As for Pops, his team has the best record overall and that's with a "old" Tim Duncan and fairly mediocre bench.
I don't see Spoe getting any accolades for having two of the best 5 players in the league, so this will likely come down between Thibs and Pops. Sloan will probably be a bridesmaid again this year, because everyone wants to vote for him but never does.
6th Man of the Year
Winner: Lamar Odom
It's hard to find a player more important to his team than Odom, filling in at several spots. An argument could be made that he has been more important to the Lakers this year than any other player. With Bynum back, he'll continue to come off the bench... unless of course Phil gets fed up with Artest or Bynum gets injured again.
Runners Up: Jamal Crawford and Big Baby
All the injuries up front (both O'Neal's, KG and Perkins) has forced Davis into more playing time. He has done an admirable job. Crawford is obviously still one of the premier scorers in the league over in Atlanta.
I find Crawford one dimensional, plus he might get more starts in the year depending on health and roster depth. Odom might start too many games, as I mentioned. I think Davis actually has a good shot to win this. George Hill in San Antonio is a good dark horse, but I'd bet on Davis.
Most Improved Player
Winner: Raymond Felton
Did anyone actually see the Knicks doing so well? Amare has been on a tear and nobody thought he could dominate without Steve Nash, but credit Felton for playing off Amare and helping that Knicks team almost just as much.
Runners Up: Kevin Martin and Kevin Love
Martin is right now the most efficient player in the league. The guy barely misses a shot and is carrying that Houston team. Love is on a torrid double/double pace for the year.
D-Rose might actually win this, to make up for a lack of MVP voting. He has elevated his game enough to garner MVP talk, but I don't see him winning that award. As a result, he will get penciled into this one often.
Winner: Dirk Nowitzki
The Mavs went 24-5 to start the season before Dirk got hurt. They then went 2-6, losing more games in 8 chances than they did in their first 29. If that doesn't scream MVP, I don't know what does.
Runners Up: Manu Ginobli & Paul Pierce.
Ginobli has easily been the Spurs' best player this year and is having a career year (in a healthy year). Pierce has carried the load with injuries to KG, Rondo and Perkins. The guy has been a beast on both ends of the court.
Wade and LBJ will cancel each other out. Unless they co with some stupid Co-MVP award, I can't see one or the other getting more votes to take this. Pierce is my dark horse, Kobe is probably the favorite... but I am holding out for Dirk.