With the NBA All-Star game festivities slated for this weekend, let’s take a look at how the individual awards would fall should the season end today.
Rookie of the Year: Tyreke Evans (Sacramento)
The first year player out of Memphis has been everything the Kings could have hoped for and more. He is contributing in every which way, averaging 20.3 points, 4.6 rebound, 5.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per contest. He looks to be the centerpiece of the Sacramento organization for years to come.
Other Candidates: Stephen Curry (Golden State), Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee)
Most Improved Player: Joakim Noah (Chicago)
Noah was an average player a season ago, as he averaged 6.7 points and 7.6 rebounds. This year he has taken his game to another level, averaging 11.2 points and 12 rebounds a game to go along with stellar defensive play highlighted by his great shot blocking (1.7 per game). Noah also improved his dreadful foul shooting from seasons past to become a solid free throw shooter at over 77 percent.
Other Candidates: Chris Kaman (Los Angeles Clippers), Aaron Brooks (Houston)
Sixth Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford (Atlanta)
Crawford has been a scoring machine off the Hawks bench this season. The 11-year veteran is averaging 17.6 points per game off the bench while adding 2.4 boards, 2.9 assists and a ton of clutch shots for his team. Atlanta would not be pushing into the elite group of title contenders if not for him.
Other Candidates: Carl Landry (Houston), Many Ginobli (San Antonio)
Defensive Player of the Year: Josh Smith (Atlanta)
The difference between Smith and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year is Smith’s versatility. While Dwight Howard only guards the other teams opposing center, the Hawks move Smith around and have him defend up to three positions. His great defensive numbers (2.2 blocks, 1.5 steals) warrant the honor as well.
Other Candidates: Dwight Howard (Orlando), Gerald Wallace (Charlotte)
Coach of the Year: Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City)
Most people probably couldn’t name the coach of the upstart Thunder, but that doesn’t make what he has done this year any less remarkable. Of the top nine players in coach Brooks’ rotation, eight of them are under the age of 26. It usually takes a couple years for all that young talent to gel, but Brooks has somehow sped up the process as his team is currently 30-21 and well in the playoff hunt. Truly a great coaching job.
Other Candidates: Mike Brown (Cleveland), Phil Jackson (Los Angeles Lakers), Larry Brown (Charlotte)
Most Valuable Player: LeBron James (Cleveland)
There is no other option here. His numbers are phenomenal (50 percent shooting, 29.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1 block per game), but more importantly King James has led the Cavs to the best record in the NBA. Mo Williams, the Cavs second best player, has been out the past couple of weeks with shoulder injury, yet Cleveland doesn’t miss a beat and James leads them on a 13 game winning streak. He’s the best player in the league, he’s having the best season both individually and team wise in the league, and he has less around him than any other contender. That’s why he’s the MVP.
Other Candidates: Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Carmelo Anthony (Denver), Chris Bosh (Toronto)