After a full 82-game season of NBA action, I am ready to announce my awards. MVP and Rookie of the Year were a given. Sixth Man of the Year was also fairly easy choice. Defensive Player of the Year was certainly the toughest choice to make. Without further ado, here are my official NBA awards:
5. Tim Duncan (SAN): Even at 36-years-old, Tim Duncan is a vital piece to the Spurs’ execution on both sides of the ball. He hasn’t really lost a step on defense. Although he has lost some athleticism from old age, he still has an exceptional post game. Duncan has been consistent all year long. Duncan is the exception to a league that rarely gets big men as MVP candidates anymore. Per 40 minutes, Duncan averages 23 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks.
4. Carmelo Anthony (NYK): A new Knicks team finally came to life this season. So did a new and improved version of Carmelo Anthony. Melo seemed more motivated, determined, and hungrier this year than ever before. With his improved attitude being combined with his unstoppable scoring, Melo brought true MVP value to the Knicks. His late scoring surge may be an indication of what’s to come in the playoffs.
3. Chris Paul (LAC): This Clipper team cannot survive without CP3. They really struggled in the games that he wasn’t available for. Paul is one of the most appreciated players in the league and deservingly so. Although Paul has the ability to easily score 20 points per game, his first priority is getting his teammates involved. When the Clippers are in need of a late game bucket, he can give it to them. CP3 has proven himself as one of the greatest floor generals of this generation.
2. Kevin Durant (OKC): The sixth-year NBA superstar is improving year by year. Durant has risen his field goal percentage to an impressive 51 percent this season. That is a great percentage considering Durant is very reliant on his jump shot. He continues to become a smarter player. He doesn’t need to shoot every possession to wear down his opponent. Durant’s simple presence on the court is an issue for the defense.
1. LeBron James (MIA): There is just no reason that King James should not win his fourth MVP award. It is crazy to think that LeBron could get any better than he was in the previous season. We find ourselves comparing him to Michael Jordan every year. At some point, we could think that enough is enough. But enough isn’t enough because LeBron is on a mission to pile on those rings
Rookie of the Year
3. Andre Drummond (DET): Drummond was, without question, the steal of the 2012 NBA Draft. Teams thought he didn’t have the work ethic and the talent level of a starting center. But Dre Drummond gives Detroit a reason to be excited about the future.
2. Anthony Davis (NOR): Davis’ year went as expected. Obviously, the Hornets are confident about him being the face of the franchise. He still has a lot of room to improve his offense. At 20-years-old, his offensive game is sure to progress as time goes on.
1. Damian Lillard (POR): Lillard is the clear-cut Rookie of the Year. He immediately took the team under his wing and kept them in playoff contention for a while. Lillard has a great touch from outside along with explosive moves to the hoop.
Sixth Man of the Year
3. Jarrett Jack (GST): Jack played a new role this year. The Warriors used him in late game situations and he often delivered. As a second or third scoring option in the 4th quarter, Jack is not afraid to take big shots.
2. Jamal Crawford (LAC): Crawford has established himself as one of the most dangerous scorers off the bench. As a hot-and-cold player, he can be deadly at times.
1. J.R. Smith (NYK): J.R. Smith took his game to a new level this season. We knew that Smith had the ability to score with the best of them. However, the consistency wasn’t there in the past. He was focused and up for the challenge this season.
Defensive Player of the Year
3. Larry Sanders (MIL): Larry Sanders could win this award. He established himself as one of the dominant shot blockers this season. Sanders’ post defense is definitely something to beware of.
2. Roy Hibbert (IND): The Pacers had the best defensive efficiency in the league this season. Hibbert is a big reason for that. He is an active shot blocker and is great at altering shots by the basket.
1. Serge Ibaka (OKC): There isn’t a stat for determining who should win Defensive Player of the Year. However, Ibaka led the league in blocks per game for the second consecutive year. His athleticism is really put to use on the defensive end.
3. Greivis Vasquez (NOR): Many didn’t anticipate this type of season for Vasquez. He was among the league leaders in assists, averaging nine per game. He also showed that he is an all-around point guard, benefitting his team in a few different areas.
2. Nikola Vucevic (ORL): Here’s an impressive stat: Vucevic had more 20 point, 20 rebound games than Dwight Howard had this season. Vucevic is extremely active on the boards, averaging just about 12 per game. Consider him a pleasant surprise for Orlando this season.
1. Larry Sanders (MIL): Paul George may be seen as the favorite for this award by some. However, I think this award should be given to a non all-star who made a name for himself. Sanders thrived as the starting center for the Bucks, averaging 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.
Coach of the Year
3. Frank Vogel (IND): Vogel has done an excellent job motivating this group of players. His aggressive defensive game plan has clearly prevailed. That has made the Pacers a top team in the East.
2. George Karl (DEN): The Nuggets finished third in an extremely difficult Western Conference playoff race. For a couple years, we were wondering whether the Nuggets would take that big step up. Karl did a fantastic job utilizing all his players.
1. Kevin McHale (HOU): People need to realize how impressive it is that Houston made the playoffs. They have a superstar in James Harden but other than that, they have decent talent. McHale found a way for the Rockets to be very competitive all year long.