The NBA regular-season is in the books and we have some hardware to give out. Many had great individual seasons but these players stood out from the competition. We will breakdown who should be named the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Rookie of the Year, 6th Man of the Year and Coach of the Year.
Most Valuable Player
26.8 PPG 8.0 RPG 7.3 APG
Signed, Sealed, & Delivered. This one is over.
The “King” will without a doubt, be awarded his fourth MVP in five seasons as he gave us one of the best individual seasons in NBA history. James will join elite company, becoming the fifth player in NBA history to win the award four times (Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Michael Jordan).
Let those names sink in for a second….
LeBron has led the Miami Heat to the best record in the NBA (66-16)–becoming the first defending champion to do so since Michael Jordan’s Bulls — while putting up video-game like numbers. He is shooting an eye-popping 56% from the field and led the Heat in points, rebounds, and assists.
James will be looking to win the ultimate award this post-season….his second NBA Championship.
Defensive Player of the Year
14.1 PPG 7.8 RPG 1.7 BPG
You can make a case for at least four players to win this award this season but Marc Gasol edged out LeBron James and Tim Duncan.
Marc Gasol led the Memphis Grizzlies all season and was the catalyst for the No.1 defense in the NBA. According to Basketball-Reference.com, he is second in the NBA in Defensive Win Shares (5.4) and sixth in the NBA in Estimated Win Shares (11.5). The Grizzlies lead the league in allowing the fewest points and were second in defensive rating which has Gasol’s finger-prints all over it.
The Grizzlies set a franchise record with fifty-six wins and will face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the Playoffs.
6th Man of the Year
18.1 PPG 5.3 RPG 2.7 ASP
JR Smith helped fellow-star Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks reach new heights this season.The Knicks finished the season second in the East and won their first Atlantic Division crown since 1993.
Smith scored the most points in his career this season—second on the team behind Carmelo Anthony– and proved how clutch he was as well coming off the bench. He hit two game winners this season, one at the Charlotte Bobcats on December 5th and another at the Phoenix Suns on December 26th.
Smith’s improved decision making and crafty offensive game makes him my 6th Man of the Year.
Most Improved Player
17.4 PPG 7.6 RPG 4.1 APG
Paul George has become one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Danny Granger’s injury and absence has helped George emerge as one of the leaders of the Pacers and paved way for him to make his first All-Star team this season.
George improved his scoring by 5.3 PPG, his rebounds by 2.0, and his assist by 1.7 per game. The scary part is, Paul George is only twenty-two years old and is just scratching the surface on how good he can become.
Rookie of the Year
19.0 PPG 6.5 APG 3.1 APG
Damian Lillard’s story is one of the most unique and interesting in the league.
Lillard was not highly recruited in high school and was rated as low as a 2* on Rivals.com. Damian chose to play his collegiate ball at Weber State University. At Weber State, he was a four-year starter for the Wildcats and his stellar play helped him become the 6th overall pick in last year’s draft.
In just his first game in the NBA, Lillard scored 23 points and 11 assists, becoming the first rookie to score at least twenty points and ten assists in their NBA debut since Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas. Lillard was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for all five months, sweeping the award for the season.
To put the icing on the cake of a tremendous rookie season, he broke Stephen Curry’s rookie record for three pointers made and broke Damon Stoudamire’s franchise record with 185 three pointers made.
Coach of the Year
George Karl has the pleasure to coach one of the most exciting and dynamic teams in the NBA and has lead them to the third seed in the West. The Nuggets have won fifty-six games this season–the most since they left the ABA for the NBA in 1976 –all without a legit superstar.
Their high-tempo offense and oozing confidence will make them one of the toughest teams to play in the playoffs. The Nuggets are looking to win their first ever championship this season.
Who do you think should win the NBA awards? Sound off in the comments section and share your thoughts.