Halfway through the NBA season, it is time to look at the front runners for the individual awards.
MVP: LeBron James, Miami Heat
It is hard to argue against LeBron who is shooting a career best with FG per centage (.545) and .3P per centage, rebounding at a career high (8.5 per game), fouling at a career low (1.4 per game), turning the ball over at a career low rate (2.8 per game) and finally hasn’t scored below 20 points in a game the whole season. The three-time MVP has been the most consistent superstar in the game, and he’s easily the MVP.
Honourable mentions: Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and James Harden.
Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers
Despite being an atrocious defender, Lillard’s offensive production this season has been extremely impressive. Lillard’s 18.2 points is better than Derrick Rose’s rookie production (16.3) and Chris Paul’s (16.1 points). He also is averaging 6.3 assists despite an alarming 3.1 turnovers per game. Lillard is a good three point shooter (.365) and is a leader on a team that was desperate for a point guard.
Honourable mentions: Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bradley Beal.
This was a tough choice, Larry Drew of the Atlanta Hawks (20-12 and challenging the Heat) and Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors (22-11 without a center) have both been exceptional, but Woodson has the Knicks playing great basketball. Carmelo Anthony is having an MVP-type season, J.R Smith has been clutch all season and Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd have been a great backcourt duo. Questions mark still exist on the Knicks durability (their roster is ancient) but Woodson has them playing like a team that knows how to win.
Honourable mentions: Marc Jackson, Larry Drew, Frank Vogel, Greg Poppovich and Vinny Del Negro and Terry Stotts.
Defensive Player of the Year: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Gasol doesn’t take plays off. Him and Tony Allen are the reason Memphis has one of the most potent defenses in the league.
Honourable mentions: Joakim Noah, Larry Sanders, Kevin Garnett, Tony Allen and Omer Asik.
Sixth man of the year: Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers
Crawford gets the slight edge over J.R Smith because Crawford makes the Clippers better when he is on the court and doesn’t chuck as much. The Clippers have the best bench in the league due largely in part to Crawford.
Honourable mentions: J.R Smith, Jarrett Jack, Kevin Martin and Javale McGee.
Most improved player – Larry Sanders, Milwaukee Bucks
Sanders has been an absolute beast defensively for the Bucks, averaging 3.1 blocks per game with 8 points and 8 boards. His offense is improving. Jrue Holiday is a very close second.
Honourable mentions: Andray Blatche, J.J Hickson, Jrue Holiday, Chandler Parsons, Ed Davis and O.J Mayo.