With the NBA regular season coming to a close, there is a lot of talk of who will win what in this year’s awards. A few of the awards that everyone is anxiously awaiting to see who wins include Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year, among others. There has even been a little bit of “controversy” in the last couple days due to some of the league’s biggest names, or biggest name rather, in LeBron James, sitting out. With everything wrapped up in terms of home court advantage for the Cavs, and other stars like Chris Bosh and Brandon Roy getting injured recently, maybe LeBron and the Cavs have the right idea.
Regardless of whether LeBron is wrong for sitting out while being healthy enough to play, “King James” is definitely one of the favorites to take home this year’s MVP award. If James wins the Most Valuable Player award, it would make him the first to take home back-to-back honors since Steve Nash in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. Lakers fans likely have an uphill battle in getting their voices heard for their superstar guard Kobe Bryant, in large part due to an ankle injury mid-season, but that doesn’t mean the media might not vote the 2008 MVP winner into contention.
A few other players that had MVP quality seasons are Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard. Durant led the league in scoring, and his Oklahoma City Thunder to their first winning season since the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. While Dwight Howard is a candidate for MVP, he’s likely the undeniable Defensive Player of the Year. Howard leads the league in both blocked shots and rebounds. Denver’s Carmelo Anthony also had one of his best seasons, leading the Nuggets to the top of the Northwest Division.
As far as newcomers to the league this season, there are a trio of rookies that seem to stand out when it comes to exceeding expectations. Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings has played in every game so far and leads the Bucks in both steals and assists, not to mention a few early season scoring explosions. Jennings also put on a scoring clinic in the early part of the season, dropping in 55 points against fellow ROY candidate Stephen Curry. Curry not only leads the Golden State Warriors in assists, but also stepped up with his first career triple-double in early February.
The final candidate that is most likely in the running for the Rookie of the Year award is Sacramento Kings point guard Tyreke Evans. Evans leads the Kings in points, assists and steals. However, his most impressive stat may be the one that lands him in the same company as some of the legends of the NBA. Tyreke will finish the season averaging over 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, making him the first to do so since LeBron James in 2003-04. Only two other players have done the same, hall-of-fame members Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson.
Last year’s Sixth Man of the Year, Manu Ginobili, is a strong candidate for a repeat in the award that honors the best player off the bench. Ginobili has averaged over 16 points a game and nearly 5 assists per game. However, Hawks guard Jamal Crawford has had one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 18 points a game in his first year in Atlanta. Coming off the bench in the ATL, Crawford has continued his habit of hitting game winning shots, adding another to his list this year by hitting a 28-footer to beat the Suns in January.
Although the awards are voted on by the media, we figured we’d give our Eastbay readers a chance to voice their opinion before the award winners are officially announced. Let us know who your choice would be for the MVP, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man Award, Defensive Player of the Year, or any others we may have missed in the comment section below.
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