By John Schmeelk
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MVP: This was a two man race between Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard. I don’t buy either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade as candidates since both are almost equally valuable to their team. If either is removed, there would be an at most, ten game drop off in terms of record. If Howard or Rose were removed it would be a 15-20 game nosedive. I’ll give it to Derrick Rose since his team finished with 60+ wins, and he is the only decent guard on his team. He does it all: scores, passes, drives, hits the three, plays defense and has completely bought into Tom Thibodeau’s system. Dirk and Kobe were hovering in this conversation as well.
Coach of the Year: This was a toughie this year with tons of deserving the award: Gregg Popovich, Tom Thibodeau, Doug Collins, Nate McMillan and even George Karl. Karl and McMillan kept their teams in the middle of the playoff pictures without their stars Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Roy for huge stretches. Doug Collins turned the Sixers into a playoff team that plays hard every night. Gregg Popovich continues a string of excellence and uses his veteran personnel perfectly. I have to give the love to the former Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau, who got a team to completely buy in from the get go. He also connected with his superstar and led his team to the best record in the Eastern Conference while playing great defense. As good as it gets.
Most Improved Player: I have to go with Kevin Love, who really improved offensively this season. Granted, he is on a bad team, and his shooting percentage isn’t where you want it to be for a power forward, but he has turned himself into an All-Star caliber player. Most impressive, was his improved three point shooting, where he finished at over 40%. He also continues to improve as a rebounder, averaging fifteen per game. LeMarcus Aldridge was right there, having to carry the load with Brandon Roy’s bum knee. I can’t give this to Derrick Rose who was already really good last season, and no one else jumps off the page.
Sixth Man of the Year: More chalk from me because it has to be Lamar Odom. The Lakers are at their best with him on the floor. Odom is finally realizing his full potential, contributing as a scorer, distributor, rebounder and defender off the bench. He is the ultimate multi-dimensional team player that any coach would love to have. His offensive numbers are up this year, shooting 53% and 39% from behind the arc.
Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin, duh.
Defensive Player of the Year: This is what you call a gimme: Dwight Howard. Not a bad consolation prize for missing out on MVP, Howard changes the game with his shot blocking and mere presence. He can sometimes take some plays off and commit some dumb fouls, but those are the tiniest flaws on an otherwise perfect diamond. Rajon Rondo, Tyson Chandler, Chris Paul, and Kevin Garnett are in the mix here as well.
All Defensive Team:
PG: Rajon Rondo – his length, anticipation, motor and hands sets him apart. Runner up: Chris Paul, Kyle Lowrie
SG: Tony Allen – just an absolute beast off the bench for Memphis. Runner Up: Ronnie Brewer, Dwyane Wade.
SF: Andre Igoudala – one of the best one on one defenders in the NBA. Runner Up: Paul Pierce, Gerald Wallace
PF: Kevin Garnett – He does it all from an individual and team perspective. Runner Up: No one else is even in the neighborhood.
C: Dwight Howard – See above, summary: A Beast. Runner Up: Tyson Chandler, and Chuck Hayes (just because he is 6’6)
All NBA Teams: (excuse me for cheating on the center position)
PG: Derrick Rose – The MVP
SG: Kobe Bryant – Has lost a step but is still feared by everyone in the NBA
SF: LeBron James – despite being hated, still the best player in the league
PF: Dirk Nowitzki – quietly having another great season
C: Dwight Howard – Beast
PG: Chris Paul – carried New Orleans to the playoffs with little help – ultra efficient player
SG: Dwyane Wade – No sidekick.
SF: Kevin Durant – NBA’s leading scorer
PF: Amar’e Stoudemire- lack of defense/rebounding keeps him off the 1st team
C: Pau Gasol – Big enough to play center and no other true center is worthy
PG: Russell Westbrook – Once he gets a jumper, look out.
SG: Manu Ginobli – The Spurs will go as far as he takes them
SF: Carmelo Anthony – Best pure scorer in the game
PF: Zach Randolph – toughest call – I’m now going to go slam my head into a wall.
C: Lamarcus Aldridge – Stepped up big time this year – almost surpassed Stoudemire for 2nd team PF (like Gasol he is big enough to play center, and no other 5 is worthy – Im not putting Brook Lopez here)
The All-NBA No Defense Team: Mike Bibby, Gilbert Arenas, Charlie Villanueva, David Lee, Andrea Bargnani.
The “You Can Tell I Don’t Give a Crap Half the Time” Award: Andray Blatche – when asked about how he felt about winning the award he simply shrugged and ate another doughnut.
The All-Former-Knicks Team: Ray Felton, Jamal Crawford, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Zach Randolph. Sixth Man: Wilson Chandler.
The “I practice but I keep getting worse” Award: Jared Jeffries
The All “I’m good but on a terrible team” Team: Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Monta Ellis, Blake Griffin, Andrew Bogut.
You can follow me on twitter throughout the NBA playoffs at: twitter.com/#!/Schmeelk
Do you disagree with any of the picks? Let Schmeelk know in the comments below…