My NBA Awards Picks (2013-14)

It’s that time of year again: The NBA Playoffs are underway today! And with the regular season officially over, I thought I’d share my picks for end of the year awards.

I will warn you now: I tend to be a little biased towards my team (Chicago Bulls)…but with that said, recognition for the Bulls this season is more than justified.

Most Valuable Player
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1.) Kevin Durant, Thunder
2.) LeBron James, Heat
3.) Joakim Noah, Bulls
4.) Blake Griffin, Clippers
5.) Stephen Curry, Warriors

When you’re breaking records set by all-time greats like Michael Jordan, odds are you’re having an MVP season. Even LeBron himself has said KD is playing like an MVP this year (sounding very similar to his comments about D-Rose back in 2011 when Rose beat out LeBron for MVP). 

Coach of the Year
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1.) Jeff Hornacek, Suns
2.) Tom Thibodeau, Bulls
3.) Gregg Popovich, Spurs

Let’s be honest, Thibs or Pop could probably win this award every year they’ve been coaching..but that wouldn’t be any fun, would it? My pick this year goes to first year coach Jeff Hornacek — His ability to lead a young team with no stars to just under 50 wins was remarkable. Many writers predicted the Suns would be a last place team. It’s a shame the Suns fell just short of the playoffs, but look at it this way: They would have been the #4 or #5 seed in the East. 

Rookie of the Year
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1.) Michael Carter-Williams, Sixers
2.) Victor Oladipo, Magic

MCW is the obvious pick here, but overall I’ve been pretty unimpressed by the 2013 rookie class. The only other rookie besides MCW and Oladipo who has caught my attention is Tim Hardaway Jr. but he didn’t really get enough minutes to be recognized. Perhaps I’m jumping the gun here, but I don’t see any future All-Stars coming out of this 2013 draft class…Here’s to hoping the 2014 draft lives up to the hype!

Defensive Player of the Year
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1.) Joakim Noah, Bulls
2.) DeAndre Jordan, Clippers
3.) Paul George, Pacers

I could easily write an entire blog post about how amazing Joakim Noah has been this season, but I will keep this one short. Noah’s defensive presence is one of the main reasons why the Bulls continue to win games. While he might not be the best rim protector in the game, his all-around defensive versatility is what puts him ahead of the pack in this category.

Most Improved Player of the Year
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1.) Lance Stevenson, Pacers
2.) Goran Dragic, Suns
3.) Kyle Lowry, Raptors

I’ll let the numbers speak for this one: Last season Lance averaged 8.8pts-2.9asts-3.9rebs per game and had 2 double-doubles all season. This season he averaged 13.8pts-4.6asts-7.2rebs per game, had 20 double-doubles and led the league with 5 triple-doubles

Sixth Man of the Year
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1.) Taj Gibson, Bulls
2.) Jamal Crawford, Clippers
3.) Manu Ginobili, Spurs

I’ve been making the case for Taj winning Sixth Man all season long and his performance has been backing me up. Not only has he drastically improved his offense / post-up moves (13ppg vs 8ppg last season),  his defense along with Noah has been played a huge role for the Bulls.

All-NBA

First Team:
Kevin Durant, Thunder
LeBron James, Heat
Joakim Noah, Bulls
Stephen Curry, Warriors
James Harden, Rockets

Second Team:
Blake Griffin, Clippers
Kevin Love, Timberwolves
Al Jefferson, Bobcats
Tony Parker, Spurs
Chris Paul, Clippers

Third Team:
Paul George, Pacers
LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
Goran Dragic, Suns
John Wall, Wizards

All Defensive Team
Serge Ibaka, Thunder
Anthony Davis, Pelicans
Joakim Noah, Bulls
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs
Patrick Beverley, Rockets

NBA All-Star Game 2014: Full Rosters

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After announcing the fan-voted starters last week, the NBA released the coaches’ selections for reserves tonight to fill out rest of the rosters for this year’s All-Star game in New Orleans. Here are the complete rosters:

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BIGGEST SNUBS

EAST:

  • Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
  • Arron Afflalo (Orlando Magic)
  • Lance Stephenson (Indiana Pacers)

WEST:

  • Goran Dragic (Phoenix Suns)
  • Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)

The age old debate when talking about NBA All-Star selections: Do you favor players on winning teams or reward players for their individual performances regardless of their team’s record?

Well, based on the decisions to leave off guys like Arron AfflaloAnthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins it appears like team records played a large part in the coaches voting. This also greatly hurt players like Andre Drummond and Al Jefferson‘s chances at consideration, despite putting up great numbers.

Conversely, this actually helped Joe Johnson as the Brooklyn Nets actually started winning games this past month. Johnson (already a six-time All Star) played a large role in the turnaround, despite having a mediocre start at the beginning of the season.

While you can easily argue that the Pacers & Heat are really the only good teams in the East right now, having Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson on the team would make 50% of the East roster Pacers/Heat players…To me, that’s overkill. With that being said, Lance is certainly having a hell of a season. He actually just recorded his FOURTH triple-double of the season tonight (no one else in the East has more than one).

Much like dilemma between picking Stephen Curry and David Lee of the Warriors last year, the selection from the Raptors was a toss-up between DeMar DeRosan and Kyle Lowry…and much like last year, I think they should have rewarded the point guard instead.

Even with Russell Westbrook out of consideration, the West is filled with an abundance of talented point guards. With Chris Paul expected to return before the All-Star, it makes total sense for him to be selected over guys like Goran Dragic and Mike Conley. However, since Kobe Bryant is not expected to be healthy in time for All-Star weekend, I fully expect Dragic to be selected as an injury replacement.

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What do you guys think of this year’s All-Star selections? Who did you think were the biggest snubs? Which selection are you most excited about?

NBA All-Star Roster Predictions 2014

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First of all, I want to preface this by pointing out that this post is about what I think the All-Star rosters will be and not necessarily what I think they should be. It’s also important to note the ever growing list of injured All-Star level players that will highly alter this year’s selections (CP3, D-Rose, Westbrook, Kobe, etc…). With that said, let’s get right into it:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

STARTERS
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LeBron James: Not much needs to be said here in terms of explanation. As much as I hate to say it, LeBron is the best player in the league right now.

Paul George: Ever since his coming-out party in the playoffs last season, Paul George has continued to solidify his superstar status, leading the Pacers to the #1 spot in the East.

Carmelo Anthony: Despite the struggling state of the New York Knicks right now, Melo is still playing like Melo. He’s #2 in scoring right now (only behind Kevin Durant) at 26.1 points per game and he’s averaging a career high 9.0 rebounds per game.

Dwyane Wade: Even with his limited playing time this season, D-Wade is still averaging 19 points per game and shooting 54% from the field. Easily still the best shooting guard in the East.

Kyrie Irving: Kyrie hasn’t been very consistent this year, but his popularity and ability to entertain will surely earn him a spot in the starting five (especially with D.Rose injured and Rondo just returning last week)

RESERVES

John Wall: John Wall is having a career season, averaging 20.2 ppg and 8.6 assists. In my opinion, he should really be starting over Kyrie…unfortunately he is not quite as popular as his fellow #1 pick.

Chris Bosh: The guy who always gets overlooked despite playing a huge role on the Miami Heat — He’s shooting 53% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc.

Roy Hibbert: Arguably the best center in the East this season. He’d be a shoe-in as a starter if they still had the old rules that required an actual center in the starting five.

Paul Millsap: With Al Horford out for the season (who probably would have been an All-Star in this spot instead), Millsap continues to step up for the Hawks — averaging 17.3 ppg and 8.3 rpg

Arron Afflalo: To me, he is a clear front-runner for most improved player of the year. He is currently averaging 20.9 points per game (over 10 points more than his career average)

Kyle Lowry: With the Raptors emerging as a top-4 team in the abysmal Eastern conference, I think they are deserving of some representation in New Orleans. It’s going to be a toss-up between him and his teammate DeMar DeRozan.

Joakim Noah: This one is a little bit of wishful thinking. While I have a feeling that Lance Stephenson will likely fill-out the final spot on the reserves, I have to root for my hometown hero. With the Bulls flirting with a .500 record and a #5 spot in the East (despite trading Luol Deng and losing Rose for the whole season), I think Noah definitely deserves the recognition.

SNUBS
Two former UConn stars Kemba Walker Andre Drummond will likely get snubbed. Both are producing solid numbers this season: Kemba is putting up 18.7 points and 5 assists per game while Andre is averaging a double-double (12.6 ppg, 12.7 rpg) and shooting 60% from the field. Unfortunately they are both on crappy teams and will probably be overlooked.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

STARTERS
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Kevin Durant: Just like LeBron, there isn’t much that needs to be said here. The league’s top scorer, averaging 30.6 points per game. Add 7.8 rpg, 5.1 apg and you’ve got some pretty convincing MVP-like numbers right there.

Blake Griffin: There are at least two power forwards more deserving of this spot (we’ll get to that later), however, since the starters are fan voted…Blake is a lock-in. With that said, Blake is actually having a great season and has seen much improvement in his offensive game, adding some solid post moves & a decent jump shot to his arsenal.

Dwight Howard: Somehow this guy still manages to be a fan-favorite in the league. He’s not the best center in the NBA anymore, but he’s still the most popular.

Stephen Curry: How this guy didn’t even make the All-Star team last season still baffles me. With Chris Paul missing significant time due to injury, Steph has been climbing the ladder to become the #1 point guard in the NBA right now.

Kobe Bryant: Despite only playing six games this season and likely not even being available to play, Kobe still leads the West fan-votes for guards. With so many great guards in the West, it’s a shame so many votes were basically thrown away…

RESERVES

James Harden: I believe he will be selected to be Kobe’s replacement in the starting line up. With Kobe out of the picture, Harden is easily the best shooting guard in the West.

Kevin Love: The #1 power forward in the NBA, hands down. I’ll let his numbers speak for themselves: 25.1 ppg (#4 in the league), 13 rpg (#2 in the league), 4apg, and 39% from beyond the arc. This dude deserves to be in the starting lineup.

LaMarcus Aldridge: Here’s the other guy I feel deserves a starting spot over Blake (or even Dwight, for that matter). 24.1 ppg, 11.3 rpg, shooting 48% from the field. Blazers are currently on a 5 game win streak, battling the Spurs & Thunder for the #1 spot in the West.

Damian Lillard: Another guy on the Blazers who deserves to be an All-Star. In just his second year in the league, he’s averaging 21.5 ppg, 5.8 apg, and shooting 44% from three.

DeMarcus Cousins: Say what you want about “Boogie” Cousins and his poor attitude / on-court shenanigans…he is arguably the best center in the NBA right now. He’s averaging 23.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg, and shooting 48.6% from the field. Let’s give the people what they want!!!

Tony Parker: The Spurs have been so consistently good for so long, it’s sometimes easy to forget how good they really are. For the second year in a row, Tony Parker is playing like an MVP.

Anthony Davis: Another second year player who is having a breakout season. Davis is averaging 20.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg and shooting 53% from the field. Again…numbers don’t lie!

Goran Dragic: I believe there will need to be an alternate selected in replace of Kobe’s spot. While there are a lot of worthy big-men, I think they will likely have to go with another guard. Before Eric Bledsoe & Jrue Holiday’s injuries, I would have said either of those guys would be great candidates. But Bledsoe’s teammate in Phoenix has also been a huge reason why the Suns have been doing so well this season.

SNUBS
Unfortunately lots of great big-men are going to be left out this year, as the frontcourt positions in the West are highly competitive. Veteran’s like Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan will likely be left out. DeAndre Jordan will also be snubbed despite putting up monster numbers, leading the league in rebounds and ranking 2nd in field goal percentage.

What do you guys think of my predictions? Agree/disagree? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!