Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looking Forward: Regular Season Awards


As the end of the NBA season approaches, the topic of MVP (Most Valuable Player), DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year), ROY (Rookie of the Year), etc comes up amongst the conversations of many hoop fans like myself.  Without further ado, I'd like to present my picks for individual recognition this season.

Rookie of the Year - Michael Carter-Williams


This category was hard for me to decide because I had initially picked Victor Oladipo to win this award when the season began.  MCW totally surprised me, and probably a majority of hoop fans, with his emergence ever since his season debut against the Heat.  Averaging 16.8 points per game, 5.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game, MCW has the best statistics of any rookie across the board.  Oladipo, averaging 13.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.1 points is a close second, with his overall versatility and impact on the Orlando Magic.  I had debated giving Oladipo a slight edge for leading his team to more wins; however considering both teams are terrible, and neither have a shot of making the playoffs, I will simply base my decision off of statistics and the impact on the court.  Neither player shoots the ball exceptionally well, with MCW shooting 39.6% from the field and 26.7% from three-point land, and Oladipo shooting 41.5% from the field and 31.6% from three.  Although these percentages could certainly use improvement, these rookies get a pass, due to the circumstances that they are in (being focal points of struggling teams, while trying to adjust to the NBA game).  With that being said, MCW has a slight edge over Victor Oladipo, hence worthy of the Rookie of the Year Award.

Most Improved Player of the Year - Anthony Davis


The leap Anthony Davis has made this season has been very refreshing to watch.  Coming into the league as a potentially dominant player on the defensive end, Davis has proven to the league that he can do a lot more than block shots and wreak havoc on the defensive end.  Going from 14 and 8 with 2 blocks in his rookie year to 21 and 10 with 3 blocks in his sophomore season, Davis has lived up to the expectations of being the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.  His play this season has made him worthy of the Defensive player of the year award; however I believe that he deserves to be rewarded for more than just his defense. A healthy Davis has resulted in career highs in all major statistical categories thus far, and some outstanding individual performances like the 40-20 game he had earlier this week (the first and only in Pelican history). At this rate, Davis is bound to be a top 5 power forward in this league for many years to come.  Watch out Blake, Kevin, and Lamarcus.

Sixth Man of the Year - Taj Gibson


Taj Gibson has had an outstanding year in the absence of Derrick Rose.  Providing his team with a consistent spark off the bench, it is fair to say that Taj Gibson is the second most valuable player on the Chicago Bulls, behind Joakim Noah.  13 points and 7 rebounds might not seem significant but for a bench player on a low scoring defensive minded team, every bit of that contribution is needed.  If you had asked me this question about a month ago, I would say without a doubt that Jamal Crawford was the clear-cut winner of this award; however, with his injury and the emergence of Blake Griffin and the Clippers overall, Jamal's contributions are no longer critical to the Clipper's regular season (although his play will definitely be needed in the post season).  With that being said, Taj Gibson is the clear cut winner of the Sixth man of the year award because the Bulls will not as successful as they have been this year without his contributions.

Defensive Player of the Year - Roy Hibbert

Using the criteria that awarded Marc Gasol this award last year (anchor of the best defense in the league), Roy Hibbert deserves this year's honor for his defensive prowess.  The Pacers are number one in the league in points allowed, keeping teams to an average of 92 points a night.  Individually, Roy Hibberts blocks 2.4 shots a game in about 30 minutes of play.  His defensive impact goes far beyond the statistical value of his blocks, as he alters countless shots in the paint on a nightly basis.  Other worthy candidates include DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers, Anthony Davis from the Pelicans, Serge Ibaka from the Thunder, and Joakim Noah of the Bulls.  Considering the Clippers, Thunder and the Pelicans aren't necessarily good defensive teams, that narrows down my choices to Noah and Hibbert.  Although Noah does a lot of things that isn't credited on the box score (such as his pick-and-roll defense), his rim protection does not nearly match the impact that Hibbert does for the Pacers.  If Hibbert gets a point for his rim protection and Noah gets one for his pick-and-roll defense, the .1 difference in points allowed per game (92.2 points allowed by the Pacers, and 92.3 points allowed by the Bulls) gives Hibbert an edge (even though minimal) because it is enough to have the Pacers ranked one above the Bulls.  In addition, Hibbert's 2.4 blocks per game average is much more imposing than the 1.5 of Joakim Noah.  With that being said, Hibbert gets my vote for Defensive Player of the Year.

Coach of the Year - Dwane Casey

Before we get into this category, let's give a round of applause for the great work of a lot of the coaches this year.  From Greg Popovich to Steve Clifford to even a Mike Budenholzer, these coaches deserve a lot of credit for making the most out of the rosters that they have been assigned.  Initially, Jeff Hornacek was my pick for Coach of the Year; however, I do not think that a coach can be rewarded for his work if his team does not make the playoffs, and it looks like the Suns have permanently lost the 8th seed to the Grizzlies.  With that being said, Dwane Casey of the Raptors is my pick for Coach of the Year.  Although the Eastern Conference is relatively weak, I do not believe that anybody (probably even Raptor fans) would have picked the Raptors to finish top 4 in the conference.  Dwane Casey has made the most out of a young bunch, giving them the confidence to play at a level higher than even the players were probably aware that they were capable off.  A lot of credit has to be given to the Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri for putting together a well balanced roster with a group of young talented athletes and a solid veteran group coming off the bench to compliment them.  Casey's ability to elevate the play of this group makes him worthy of the Coach of the Year honor.

Most Valuable Player of the Year - Kevin Durant


Finally, the cream of the crop.  The best of the best players this NBA season (emphasis on THIS season).  As a LeBron fan, it is very odd for me to make an argument for anybody besides LeBron when it comes to this award; however as an objective fan, it is my job to present the NAYked truth.  Long story short, the MVP for the 2013/2014 season is without a doubt Kevin Durant.  Although LeBron has made a late serge to reclaim what has seemingly been taken away from him, the MVP award is going to Oklahoma to Kevin Durant, unless something miraculous happens.  Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma Thunder has had a phenomenal year to say the least.  KD has always been known as a scorer; however this season he has taken that, as well as other parts of his game to different heights.  Durant is averaging 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists while shooting 51% from the floor, 40% from three point land, and 87% from the free-throw line; outstanding.  I don't know what's more impressive: the fact that his point average is the highest yet of his career, or the fact that a shoot first, shoot second player is somehow averaging 6 dimes a game.  KD has done everything possible to propel his team to  great heights, including scoring 25 points for 32 straight games (and counting), and 30 or more points for 12 consecutive games.  No argument really needs to be made here (as hard as it is for me to say as a LeBron fan), KD is the clear-cut winner of the MVP award thus far.

Photo Credits:
nba.com
espn.go.com 

26 comments:

  1. your list sucks.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read, glad you enjoyed it!

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  2. You couldn't take Hornacek over Casey? Even Budenholzer, I like Casey and think he's one hell of a coach, but Hornacek took a team with NO playoff hopes and turned them into a fantastic team that has a chance to even get past the 1st round of the playoffs. At the beginning of the season the Raptors had Rudy Gay, if I'm not mistaken, who was playing extremely well, and carried that team. Good overall list though.

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    1. but what was their record with Rudy Gay? Compared to after

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    2. As I had mentioned, Hornaceck would be my choice IF the Suns were to make the playoffs. Looking at the current standings though, it looks like they're not going to make it; hence me choosing Casey.

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  3. I like your list except I think Joakim Noah will get DPOY. I also think Stephenson might be up there on the list of most improved.

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    1. I have a gut feeling that Noah will, but I didn't have any statistics or anything else to back up that claim hence my selection of Hibbert. Stephenson is also a good candidate for Most Improved, you're right. Thanks for reading.

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    2. It's not the Stats that Noah will give you on the defensive end, it's the toughness, the grit, the lateral quickness, the presence, etc... He's worthy in my opinion.

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    3. I think Noah will win it as well, I just didn't have empirical evidence to back that up; hence me going with Hibbert. I will however make a final post at the end of the season in which I already know Noah will be at the top of the list.

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  4. good stuff, for some reason I didn't think of giving taj the sixth man award, but its a really good choice. I always pay attention to his game, but it never occurred to me to give him that award.

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    1. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it. But I agree; Taj Gibson has been flying under the radar pretty much all his career, but with the numbers he's putting up this year, why not him?

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  5. Stop making lists gaddamit ! Who told you to make this list???? You have no official authority to make this type of list. Please, let this be the last time you ever make a list. I don't like this and I won't tolerate it anymore

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    1. Last time I checked, one did not need official authority to render an opinion. In addition, no one coerced you to read this list; therefore your dislike of this post sounds like a personal problem to me. Thank you and have a great day.

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    2. LET THIS BE YOUR LAST LIST. DON'T MAKE ANOTHER LIST. YOU DON'T HAVE OFFICIAL PERMISSION. THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING. YOU MAKE ANOTHER LIST AND I WILL GATHER UP PEOPLE AND COME AFTER YOU

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    3. I applaud your passion. Humorous in fact, but you won't stop me from doing what I love to do.

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  6. I think you based this list mostly on stats. It's a good list though.but i think joakim is a better choice for dpoy because he is a better overall defender than hibbert. He can guard the perimeter well enough for a big man and he also contributes a lot more on the offensive end meaning noah has more added fatigue than hibbert. Good choice for sixth man but im gonna go with manu.and i think dragic could make a case for himself for the MIP award. I agree with durant being the mvp this year.i still think lebron's the better player but he's in a bit of a slump lately

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Ginobili is a good pick for Sixth Man of the Year; however the Spurs have proven to be able to win without him, hence me not picking him. If one was to take Taj Gibson out of the equation however, the Bulls would struggle. In regards to the Defensive Player of the Year award, I think Noah is going to win as well; however I did not have anything to base my argument off of, whereas with Hibbert I could make a case using his personal stats as well as the overall team performance (the best measurable asset that I could've used as a basis of argument for Noah would be the team statistics). With that being said, that is why I picked Hibbert, even though I have a gut feeling that Noah will win. Dragic is also a great candidate of Most Improved, however I picked Davis because of his improvement on both ends of the floor. In regards to MVP, I don't think there's much of an argument; this is KD's year.

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    2. YES!!! Someone who knows 100% what they're talking about!

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  7. kawhi leanard for defensive player, no one stops the best players in the league quite like him

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    1. In regards to individual defense, I do agree that he is the best perimeter stopper. In my opinion however, he has missed too many games to make him a legitimate choice for this honor.

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  8. Every year I look at the coach of the year selection; and shake my head the Pop's job done in SA no longer seems to put him in contention. 50 wins; tops of NBA has become such expectancy for the man, that he is always outside looking in. How many times in his 15 (16 if counting season he took over) years has he actually won the award? Hand any coach in the league outside SA his body of work for a season, and BAM - COY honors instantly - but Pop - for you it's just normal. Still COY in my mind Pop

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    1. You are absolutely right. Honestly, Pop is worthy of the coach of the year award pretty much every year. I think the only reason why he doesn't win it all the time is because he has set the bar so high for himself, and unfortunately the league measures him with that standard. Unfair, but true. Nevertheless, I would love to see him get it.

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  9. How about Jason Kidd for Coach of the Year?

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    1. I would consider J-Kidd for Coach of the Year if the Nets didn't struggle so much in the beginning of the season. Based on the second half of the season, he's a worthy candidate; however the Brooklyn struggles to start the year remove him from contention.

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  10. there is no better coach this year than thibs

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    1. Thibs is very deserving of the award, and I would have no objections if he were to win. A bunch of coaches are worthy this year.

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