NBA Regular Season Awards

By Chris Le

Usually, by this time of year, most of the playoff seedings have been finalized and the topic of discussion becomes the regular season awards. As you know, however, this hasn’t been the typical NBA season, and the debate over the game’s best rookie, coach, sixth man, etc. has been overshadowed by this marvelous finish to the regular season. So with just over a week left, still amid a fiercely contested race for the 8th seed in the Western Conference, I thought it’d be prudent to hand out some hardware—even if it isn’t the most prevalent subject on people’s minds.

Most Valuable Player Chris Paul

I’ve gone through this with much depth in a previous article. But here’s the gist: the Hornets have the best record in the West, despite have the league’s worst bench—30th in points per game (24.3) and 29th in efficiency (25.8). No one has done more with less this year. And whether it is stats, team success or leadership, Paul has all three in spades.

Ballot: 1. Chris Paul 2. Kobe Bryant 3. Kevin Garnett 4. LeBron James

Coach of the YearByron Scott

It’s got to be down to Scott or Doc Rivers, who coach the top teams in their respective conferences, with Phil Jackson not too far behind. Some pundits picked the Celtics, now equipped with three legitimate stars, to win the East. Can’t say the same about the Hornets. And by virtue of the fact that no one saw New Orleans coming, I have to give it to Scott. I still can’t understand how they have the best record in the West. Well, there’s Paul playing out of his mind. But while CP3 deserves a lot of credit, the rest most certainly goes to Scott.

Ballot: 1. Byron Scott 2. Doc Rivers 3. Phil Jackson 4. Stan Van Gundy

Rookie of the YearKevin Durant

Another two-man race, this between Seattle’s quick-firing Durant and Al Horford, who has been a near double-double machine on a playoff contender. But as poorly and disappointing (and I use both terms very loosely) as Durant was in the beginning of the season, the growth he has shown in the second half has been substantial. Factoring in everything—the reality that he’s the only threat on a bottom-feeding team, the pressure of the hype and the mid-season maturity, all as a 19-year-old—one begins to realize it’s Durant pretty comfortably.

Ballot: 1. Kevin Durant 2. Al Horford 3. Al Thornton 4. Luis Scola

Defensive Player of the YearKevin Garnett

Hard to ignore the stats of Marcus Camby (3.6 blocks, 10.3 defensive rebounds, 1.1 steals) and Dwight Howard (2.2 blocks, 10.9 defensive rebounds). But it’s equally hard to disregard how mediocre to awful their teams are defensively as a whole. Unlike Camby and Howard, whose defensive contributions have been mainly singular, Kevin Garnett has turned a traditionally soft bunch into the stingiest defense in the NBA. Not only has it been Garnett’s individual play but the mindset he instilled in his teammates the moment he set foot in Boston.

Ballot: 1. Kevin Garnett 2. Marcus Camby 3. Dwight Howard 4. Shane Battier

Sixth Man of the YearManu Ginobili

Easiest pick of the bunch. Some say he’s really a starter, but with more appearances as a sub than as a starter, he fits the criteria.

And forget the 6th man award, Manu should justifiably garner some (probably just a little) MVP attention. Everything the Spurs do still revolves around Tim Duncan, but this year Ginobili has been their go-to scorer, and the lift he gives them off the bench has been vital to their success—particularly with Father Time catching up to Robert Horry, Michael Finley and, to a lesser extent, Bruce Bowen. Additionally, there was a one month period earlier in the season when Manu was dropping 35-point games like nothing, looking like the best player on the planet (i.e. as good as Kobe and LeBron).

Ballot: 1. Manu Ginobili 2. Leandro Barbosa 3. Luis Scola 4. Ben Gordon

Most Improved PlayerHedo Turkoglu

Over the years, this category has become the most difficult to decide, usually because of a packed field—and this is great for the NBA. There’s isn’t anything like watching so many players blossom, especially into possible superstardom and knowing that the league has a bright future. But I digress.

I’m reluctant, like others out there I think, to give the award to players who have already established themselves as stars. In a way, I view it as a coming-out or a I-didn’t-think-you’d-be-this-good prize. So Dwight Howard, Monta Ellis and Chris Paul are out of the running.

Rudy Gay has seen the greatest statistical jump but plays on a horrible team. Rajon Rondo has been key to the Celtics’ success, but he’s playing behind three All-Stars. Turkoglu, on the other hand, is having career highs in points (19.7), rebounds (5.9), assists (4.9) and field goal percentage (.454), all while being the second-best player on a postseason contender.

Ballot: 1. Hedo Turkoglu 2. Rudy Gay 3. LaMarcus Aldridge 4. Rajon Rondo

All-NBA First Team

G Chris Paul

G Kobe Bryant

F LeBron James

F Kevin Garnett

C Amare Stoudemire

All-NBA Second Team

G Deron Williams

G Steve Nash (Thought about swapping him with Ginobili for a second)

F Paul Pierce

F Tim Duncan

C Dwight Howard

All-NBA Defense

G Kobe Bryant

F Shane Battier

F Kevin Garnett

F Tim Duncan

C Marcus Camby

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9 responses to “NBA Regular Season Awards

  1. Pingback: NBA Postseason Awards | NBA News

  2. Anyone who puts Marcus Camby on an All-anything team doesn’t ever watch him play and just reads the newspaper or listens to ESPN or Fox Sports. This guy is one of the laziest, self centered, crybabies in the NBA. The only block shots he attempts are against little guards and the rebounds he fights for are against his own teammates. The rebounds he does get (defensive only) are bouncing off the court or he gets around his waist. He is usually the last player down the court then he “stands” at the top of the key, not a place where a true center would be. He is too fragile to be a ball player in the NBA. Denver is stupid for keeping him because he is not a true asset to the team. Many times Denver will get a lead in the game with Camby on the bench, then he will come back in, and the lead has vanished. The Nuggets don’t need a lazy 6’11” point guard that can’t even make a layup. Please say goodbye to Marcus Camby Denver.

  3. Personally, I think rebounds are one of the most overrated stats in the NBA. I mean, Jason Kidd doesn’t get his 10 boards a game by outjumping 7-footers, please. Camby standing at the top of the key is called running Denver’s offensive system, which they seem to be pretty good at. And while they’re the best offensive team in the NBA, Camby is one of the main reasons why they’re not the worst defensive team (only GS allows more points). If Camby gets “easy” blocks, then why can’t more players bully up on opposing guards?

    And since when did being “fragile” influence the value of a player? Camby seems to be doing just fine to me. By the way, Denver’s next biggest healthy big man is 6’9″ K-Mart, and I don’t think he’d cut it as a center, especially in the playoffs. (First round preview sans Camby: Tyson Chandler v. Kenyon Martin. You know how much I love a Paul-to-Chandler alley-oop.)

  4. Did I say anywhere in my article that Camby was some offensive force? No. I only mention him in the All-Defense and Defensive Player of the Year conversation–which he deserves to be in. To me, defensive rebounds and blocks are two very large aspects of a big man’s play on the defensive end. Camby is first and second in the league in those respective categories.

    You say he only gets blocks against small guards–which isn’t true. But I say who cares? Are you insinuating that those type of blocks are of lesser importance? Last I checked, guard penetration usually makes an offense thrive; Camby almost has to eliminate that all by himself, and he does a pretty good job at it.

    I can also see how some view rebounding as an inflated stat. Sometimes the ball takes fortuitous bounces and people get easy rebounds. But aside from those moments, rebounding is entirely about heart, desire and effort. And you aren’t second in the league in rebounds per game, as Camby is, by luck.

    And, yes, at times, Camby lags to the offensive end of the court, but that’s entirely because he’s usually the first Nugget down on the defensive end. An interesting debate would be determining which is more frustrating: being a team’s sole offensive force, or a team’s lone defensive threat?

    But who cares, right? Camby is worthless. It doesn’t even matter that when coach Karl was asked who was their most indispensables player, he named Marcus Camby–and not Carmelo Anthony or Allen Iverson–because of what he brings on defense to a team whose surrounding roster is completely void of it.

  5. I’m guessing Gary didn’t think Ben Wallace helped the Pistons win their championship as well.

  6. Or K.G. help the Celtics win their championship this year.

  7. Damn, Chris. You’re nailing them all. You forgot the Sportsmanship Award though. Shane Battier should have gotten it, right?

  8. I have a gut feeling that I’m gonna get MVP wrong. Though judging from the first round, Paul has definitely deserved it.

    And Timmy might find his way into the All-NBA First Team at the center position.

    As for the Sportsmanship Award, Shane Battier’s always a contender, but I can’t really hate on Grant Hill–another former Dukie.

  9. Unfortunately, I think the popular pick for MVP is Kobe, which taints the honor to me – when people win awards because they’ve “paid their dues” in a sense.

    I think statistically and visibly pretty easily Paul should win it over Kobe. Screw it, I’m writing an article about this.

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