MVP – Obviously there’s overwhelming support for one individual for the most valuable player award this season, but I’m going in another direction. I’m picking a relatively unknown player, someone flying under the radar for a tiny team down in Florida or some dank, humid place. If you haven’t seen him play, you really need to. He’s a good 6′ 8″, maybe 6′ 9″, probably 265 pounds, and he plays at both forward positions. He’s really a very good player, even though he doesn’t get the press. I’m telling you, find some footage of this guy. He’s athletic as all get-out and one heck of a passer and defender. If you can catch one of these Miami Hotness games, if the NBA will ever show one on national television, you should really watch him play basketball. He’s good. Oh, and apparently there’s some story about how he used to play in Ohio, and Jim Gray kicked him out of the state on national television. He’s an up-and-coming underdog, and you should all jump on the bandwagon early. Also, his name is very international, possibly French Canadian. LeBron James.
DPoY – Paul George. I wanted to give it to Tim Duncan as a much-deserved lifetime achievement award. I’d be very happy if Timmy got the award that he should have won back in the early 2000s. He’s had a great season, leads the league in Defensive Rating (estimated points allowed per possession), and is the defensive anchor of the 2nd best team in the western conference. But Paul George is the best defender on the best defensive team in the league, and he has played many more minutes than Duncan, or my third pick, Marc Gasol, have. Overall, defensively, I think Paul George has done the most important defensive work on the best team defense, and the fact that he is ranked first overall in Defensive Win Shares supports that notion. Also he’s the only candidate named after two different Beatles.
6MoY – This is usually a good race with defensive aces, streak scorers, and secondary playmakers coming off the pine to raise the game of their teams’ second units. I honestly think it’s an open and shut case this season. JR Smith has come on really strong in the second half of this season. He’s been crucial to their late tear to take the 2nd seed in the eastern conference, and he’s done it by improving his game, driving more, passing more, and settling for contested jumpers less. Also when was the last time a Knick won an award?
MIP – Good lord. I don’t know. How about Jeff Green? Last year he was sidelined with a heart condition. This year, he’s played better and better as the season has progressed and has shown the ability to explode in big games. This is a poorly defined award, and I think the best way to pick it would be with the Robot Devil’s Wheel of Robots, where you definitely probably won’t know the robot whose hands you’re given.
RoY – Damian Lillard. That is all.
CoY – George Karl for his work with a “starless” Denver squad that fought its way to the third best record in the West. No, wait. Eric Spoelstra for the incredible way he’s maxed out LeBron and run off 27 consecutive wins. No, wait again. Greg Popavich for the masterful way he controls his aging players’ workloads while remaining a top 3 team. No, wait one more time. What about Chauncey Billups for overcoming the crippling decisions of Vinnie Del Negro? Okay. That last one doesn’t count, but cases could be made for lots of guys. I do like Karl best. His creativity and dynamism really seem to make his team more than the sum of its parts.
G – Chris Paul: Officially the best PG since Magic Johnson.
G – Kobe Bryant: Tough call but #24 earned it. Unreal production and leadership.
F – LeBron James: Best season since Jordan was in his prime.
F – Kevin Durant: 28 ppg 50-40-90 shooting = Larry Bird level scoring.
C – Marc Gasol: Uh, I like him but this is a sign of the phasing out of the center position.
G – Tony Parker: Sacre bleu!
G – Russell Westbrook: Superior talent. Superior passion. Superior results.
F – Carmelo Anthony: Led league in scoring. 35 Usage. 9 To%. Bad Ass.
F – Chris Bosh: He was under-the-radar great for Miami all season.
C – Joachim Noah: I just kinda love him. Would have put Timmy here if played more.
G – Dwyane Wade: Could have easily been 2nd or even first team but Bron lifts the heavy weight.
G – James Harden: Separation btwn Beard and Mamba? Leadership and late season surge.
F – LaMarcus Aldridge: Great numbers. Poor results.
F – David West: Mediocre numbers. Good results.
C – Tim Duncan: Great season but low minutes. Catch 22.
G – Avery Bradley
G – Tony Allen
F – LeBron James
F – Paul George
C – Tim Duncan
G – Dwyane Wade
G – Mike Conley
F – Andre Igudala
F – Larry Sanders
C – Marc Gasol