With NBA All-Star weekend upon us, it’s officially one of the best times of the year. Not only do we get to see all of our favorite NBA superstars take center stage, but we get to debate who are the frontrunners for the major NBA awards.
It’s time to give out my midseason awards for Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Coach of the Year and the Most Valuable Player of the league.
To me, the majority of these are fairly simple to decide.
If you’ve watched any basketball at all this year, you know that Damian Lillard deserves the Rookie of the Year Award by a landslide. Lillard leads all rookies in points per game (18.2) and minutes per game (38.5), as well as averaging 6.6 assists per game and 1.02 steals per game. Lillard was within an eyelash of becoming the first rookie guard to make the NBA All-Star game since Michael Jordan. Lillard is the only rookie to hit the 30-point mark twice this season. To put it in perspective, only one other rookie scored 30 points even once.
The Defensive Player of the Year Award gets tricky. It comes down to Joakim Noah, Serge Ibaka, Chris Paul, Larry Sanders and Dwight Howard in my book. As much as I’m enjoying the Lakers fall from grace this year, I’m going to swallow my pride and give the award to Howard. Howard, who wasn’t even supposed to be playing until a few weeks ago, has looked lost on the offensive side of the ball for the Lakers.
On the defensive side however, Howard has been a monster. Even with a bad back, he’s pulling down 11.9 rebounds per game, which is good for third best in the league. Howard is also fifth in the league in blocked shots at 2.36 blocks per game. As the only person to rank in the top five in both categories, he’s a deserving candidate.
As much as I want to give Jamal Crawford the Sixth Man of the Year Award, I’m going to make a case for J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks. First off, I hate Smith’s attitude, but his game speaks for itself. While the Knicks’ leader Carmelo Anthony was out, Smith took over ballgames.
Smith hit the memorable three-pointers to clinch multiple wins for the Knicks this season. Smith also bests Crawford in just about every statistical category. While I like Crawford more, Smith is more deserving in my book.
I hate the way Coach of the Year Awards are handed out in sports. They are normally given to a team that wasn’t expected to make noise. Instead, I’m giving it to Greg Popovich, who in my book, is the best coach in the league. His San Antonio Spurs are consistently one of the best teams in the NBA, and he’s done an amazing job to propel them to the top of the Western Conference again.
For my MVP, there’s no question it’s LeBron James. Very anti-climatic, I know. Save the James plays with superstar talk, because he is, without a doubt, the best player in the game.
While many will try to find one, James doesn’t have a weakness in his game. He’s third in scoring, and leads the league in player efficiency rating. Once again, King James will take home the hardware.