Tuesday, February 20, 2007

NBA Mid-Season Awards [David Stefanini]

With the NBA starting up again tonight, here are my mid-season awards:
Coach of the Year - Phil Jackson - Jackson has won this award only once, though he is clearly the best coach in recent history. He has won 9 championships and his team has never missed the playoffs. This season, he has taken a Lakers team that is totally dismantled with injuries and has kept them very competitive in the Western Conference.
Rookie of the Year - Bradon Roy - If Roy was fully healthy this would not be a question. It would be the same as last year when Chris Paul was the clear winner. Roy leads all rookies in points and assists, at 14.7 and 3.0 respectively, and is second in rebounds. If he stays healthy in the second-half this will be the easiest award to give out.
Sixth Man Award - Ben Gordon - If Rookie of the Year is the easiest award, this is second. Ben Gordon is his the Bull's best player, he leads them in scoring at 21 ppg, and has the talent to be an all-star. Also Gordon is becoming a clutch player, in the 4th quarter the Bulls turn to Gordon to seal the game for them.
Defensive Player of the Year - Emeka Okafor - Okafor is a great defensive talent. He is grabbing 11.4 rebounds per game and blocking almost 3 shots per game. Whenever an offensive player drives in against Okafor his shot is either sent the other way or the shot is greatly altered. Okafor can guard big centers or smaller power forwards, he is the ultimate defensive package.
Most Improved Player - J.R Smith - Smith has more than doubled his scoring output, from 7.7 points last year to 15.7 this year. In addition to scoring, his output is up in every single statistical category. On a team with Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson, J.R Smith may be the most important part of how far this team goes in the playoff. We all know for a team to be a title contender you need 3 guys who can carry a team, not 2. Smith is growing into that third option and he has the potential to be a teams all-star one day.
MVP - Dirk Nowitzki - Before the Lakers went on this recent slid, Kobe was my MVP. However looking over everything there is noway I can not put Nowitzki as MVP. He is the best player on the best team in the NBA. Since there 0-4 start they are in the middle of the best 40 game span in NBA history. Dirk can go down low, shoot the three, or beat his man off the dribble. Unless the Suns pass the Mavs for the best record in the league, Nash will not get his third in a row. It will be his former teammate Nowitzki who is celebrating at the end of this season.

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