Most Valuable Player: Lebron James – Miami Heat
Stats: 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists
The MVP will more than likely be given to either James or Kevin Durant depending on which team finishes with the better record. As of now, I’m giving the slightest of edges to the king because A) James is putting up slightly better numbers and B) his record-breaking PER rating of 32.42. The PER (player efficiency rating) is the rating of a player’s per-minute productivity. No one in the history of the game has had a rating higher than what James has at the moment.
His incredible play has kept the Miami Heat near the top of the standings in the Eastern Conference despite injuries to fellow star Dwayne Wade. Let’s face it, without Wade the Heat are nothing more than the Cleveland Cavaliers of old.
James is also shooting better from the field and attempting less 3-pointers which will only benefit the Heat when the playoffs come. Durant is still in the running, but the hardware is James’ to lose.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder, Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers, Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers
Rookie Of The Year: Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats: 18.3 points, 5.1 assists, 3.4 rebounds
I was CLEARLY wrong about Kyrie Irving. I didn’t give him much of a chance after only playing a handful of games in college, but he has certainly shut me up for the time being.
He isn’t Lebron James, but he does have the fans in Cleveland getting over their former king awfully fast. He has joined the ranks of the upper-echelon point guards in the league after only half a season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are still horrible (13-19), but their not Charlotte Bobcats or Washington Wizards horrible. That’s got to count for something right? Ricky Rubio would also be a valid choice, but he has way more help around him than Irving does.
Honorable Mentions: Ricky Rubio – Minnesota Timberwolves, Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs, Marshon Brooks – New Jersey Nets
Sixth Man Of The Year: James Harden – Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists
I always pondered as to why James Harden wasn’t the starting shooting guard for the Thunder.
Now I know why.
He is the ultimate bench player. Having James in the starting 5 would just devalue his ability. There isn’t enough ball for Durant, Westbrook and Harden in one lineup. At least by coming off the bench, the Thunder can emphasize his strengths rather than have him lost in the shuffle of the Durant/Westbrook combination.
Harden is putting up all-star caliber numbers for a guy who doesn’t even start games. I could name 7-8 teams that would take James in a heartbeat and turn him into the cornerstone of their team. He’s that good.
The Thunder needed that third scorer to take the pressure off of their 2 star players. Harden has finally evolved into that missing piece and that is why the team sits at 27-7 midway through the season.
Honorable Mentions: Lou Williams – Philadelphia 76ers, Al Harrington – Denver Nuggets, Moe Williams – Los Angeles Clippers
Coach Of The Year: Rick Adelman – Minnesota Timberwolves
Team Record: 17-17
The Minnesota Timberwolves are once again relevant in the Western Conference.
The team has the talent (Love, Rubio, Williams, Peckovic, Beasley, Barea, Johnson) to make a run for a playoff spot, but it needed the right coach to bring it all together.
Cue Rick Adelman.
He has created the perfect system for the players. Emphasize Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio on the offensive end and push defense on the other side of the ball.
The Wolves already have 17 wins, which ties their mark from all of last year. Minnesota is for real. The coach and talent are all in place. Now let’s see where they go from here.
Honorable Mentions: Greg Popovich – San Antonio Spurs, Doug Collins – Philadelphia 76ers, Kevin McHale – Houston Rockets
Defensive Player Of The Year: Serge Ibaka – Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 8.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 blocks
I’m sick of Dwight Howard constantly winning this award. He’s an all-time defensive player in the league, but I think the guy who leads the NBA in blocked shots and has 3 10+ block games already deserves the trophy just a little bit more this time around.
It’s not only the block numbers that are impressive. His length and strength down low in the paint alters many a shot by opposing players. The Thunder rank 5th in the league for opposing team field goal percentage and first overall in blocked shots with much credit going to Ibaka.
He’s also on pace for over 200 blocks in a season that’s only 66 games long.
That’s good enough for me.
Honorable Mentions: Dwight Howard – Orlando Magic, Lebron James – Miami Heat, Joekim Noah – Chicago Bulls
Most Improved Player: Jeremy Lin – New York Knicks
Stats: 14.4 points, 5.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds
Um, isn’t it obvious? If he keeps playing at the level he has over the last few weeks, than he’s going to run away with this award.
I don’t want to go too in-depth about how much of a stud Lin is on the court (I have TWICE akready), so feel free to check out my 2 major columns on Jeremy Lin entitled “Do you believe NOW!!” and “Do you feel the LINSANITY!!” to help appease your Lin appetite.
Honorable Mentions: Greg Monroe – Detroit Pistons, Kyle Lowry – Houston Rockets, Ryan Anderson – Orlando Magic