NBA Award Season Predictions



With the NBA Awards season quickly approaching, the winners of many categories are being hotly contested. Here are my picks for this season’s winners and honorable mentions.

Most Valuable Player

Winner:LeBron James has had an extraordinary season. Not only does James lead the Miami Heat in points, rebounds and assists, but he helped lead the team to accomplish the second-longest winning streak in NBA history with 27 wins. In his third season with the Heat, LeBron has led the team to the playoffs every year. This year, the Heat clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the NBA and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Not only has LeBron transformed the weakest point of his game, three-point shooting, into a strength by averaging 40.2 percent from outside the circle, but he is also fifth in the league among qualifying players in field goal percentage, shooting an astounding 56.5 percent from the field on the season. For perspective, the next highest non-big man on the list is Tony Parker in 17th place, averaging 52.4 percent from the field. LeBron has become a more consistent player and an absolute nightmare for all of his opponents to guard, all while guarding every position on the floor night in and night out for the defending champs. The man is a once-in-a-generation talent who should be a unanimous choice to join Bill Russell as the only players to win four MVPs in a five season span.

Honorable Mention: Kevin Durant has been nearly as efficient as LeBron offensively, and his defense is much improved. This season Durant became the sixth player to join the 50-40-90 shooting club, an exclusive group of players who have achieved a shooting percentage at or above 50 percent for field goals, 40 percent for three-point field goals and 90 percent for free throws during an entire NBA season. He is also second in the league in scoring, fractions of a point behind Carmelo Anthony. If he were to somehow overtake Carmelo for his fourth straight scoring title, he would be the first one to win it four straight times since the great Michael Jordan, and would become the first player in NBA history to win the title while simultaneously joining the 50-40-90 club.

Coach of the Year

Winner: Leading a team without any All-Stars, Denver Nuggets’ head coach George Karl has managed to take control of the third seed in a Western Conference loaded with talent. Karl’s rotations and handling of the depth of his team has made the Nuggets an above average squad. While the Nuggets’ leading scorer averages only 18 points per game, six of their players average double digits.  Karl’s team also has the best home record in the league with 37 wins and only three losses. Karl defied the odds by guiding a team without a superstar to an absolutely remarkable season. I am eager to see where this team will go in the playoffs.

Honorable Mention: Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Spoelstra has been under much scrutiny since the formation of Miami’s “Big 3” and has coached with patience and grace. While most coaches become the most involved and controlling during close games, Spoelstra recognizes his teams natural talent and gives them the space and decision-making ability that has proved crucial to the team’s success.

Rookie of the Year

Winner: The Portland Trailblazer’s Damian Lillard won every Western Conference Rookie of the Month award so far. Becoming the third rookie in NBA history with 1,500 points and 500 assists (Allen Iverson and Oscar Robertson were the others), Lillard’s standout talent makes him a shoe-in for the award. While the young team has lost 11 straight games, Lillard has been one of the few surprises in Portland and will serve as a

franchise cornerstone for years to come.

Honorable Mention: Anthony Davis has also had a phenomenal season as PF for the New Orleans Hornets, averaging 13.5 points, eight rebounds and nearly two blocks per game. Not only is Davis ranked in the top 20 in the league in blocks per minute, but his player efficiency rating (PER) puts him at number 16 in the league (ahead of Lillard and players such as Chris Bosh and Kyrie Irving). Davis’ rookie campaign was marred by injuries, but his offensive and defensive versatility will make him a force in the league for years to come.

Sixth Man of the Year

Winner: Finally, the New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith is living up to the potential that many anticipated when he came out of high school. Smith has averaged career-highs in points and rebounds and has proven to be a key player when the Knicks need him most off the bench. He has bought into Coach Mike Woodson’s system, and has fit seamlessly into the No. 2 scoring role

beside Carmelo.

Honorable Mention:Jamal Crawford is the L.A. Clippers’ primary scorer off the bench, and has delivered exactly what was expected of him coming into the season. This spark plug with limitless range has been a key cog in the Clippers bench unit, or as they like to refer to themselves, “The Bench Mob.” Crawford had a stranglehold on this award earlier in the season, but Smith’s recent role in helping the Knicks earn their first division title since 1994 has catapulted him to the top of the list. 

Most Improved Player

Winner: After the Indiana Pacers’ star forward Danny Granger was sidelined with a season-ending injury early in the year, small forward Paul George’s role on the team expanded immensely. George now plays the 12th most minutes per game in the NBA, was named to his first All-Star Game and led the Pacers to the No. 3 in the East. He has become arguably the most dominant perimeter defender in the league guarding the likes of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James on a nightly basis.

Honorable Mention:Greivis Vasquez has had a breakout season. In his first season as a full-time starter, Vasquez leads all point guards with 25 double doubles, and is third amongst point guards in assists per game and rebounds. Vaquez has proven to be a top playmaker and rebounder at

his position.

Defensive Player of the Year

Winner: The Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol has anchored the league’s best defense, allowing only 89.4 points per game. Gasol proved to be a key figure in the paint, as well as an effective player at disrupting shots and rotating to play help defense. While not the quickest or most athletic center in the league, Gasol uses his superior cerebral play and anticipation to blow up pick and rolls as well as cut the offensive player off before he is able to get to the rim.

Honorable Mention:Indiana Pacer’s center Roy Hibbert has become one of the most consistent defensive players in the league today. The Pacers are second in the league in  points allowed and are first in the league in field goal percentage allowed, yielding a stingy 41.9 field goal percentage to opponents. Hibbert has averaged an impressive 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game and has served as the anchor for Coach Frank Vogel’s defense throughout the season.

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