With All-Star weekend right around the corner, I sat down and listed my mid-season NBA award winners:
MVP: Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder- With Russell Westbrook out until after the All-Star break, Durant has been on a scoring spree! The Oklahoma City Thunder forward is averaging 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists on the season. The Thunder are (31-10) and poised to make another trip to the NBA Finals.
Rookie of The Year: Victor Oladipo Orlando Magic- The Magic (11-30) are having another down year but Oladipo is a bright spot. The rookie taken number two-overall in the 2013 NBA draft by the Magic is averaging 13.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. It’s his poise and maturity that is so impressive, he is taking on this new challenge and it will make him even better.
Coach of The Year: Dwane Casey Toronto Raptors- While a (20-19) record doesn’t jump out at you, however Casey has been able to maximize the talent he has. The team is tied for third place in the Eastern Conference and are 14-6 since trading away Rudy Gay. Demar Derozan is emerging as an All-Star caliber player averaging 21.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
6th Man: Jamal Crawford Los Angeles Clippers- Now that Doc Rivers is running the show in Los Angeles, the Clippers are legitimate title contenders. If they plan on winning the teams first NBA title they will need Crawford to play at a high level. For the year the veteran is averaging 17.1 points per game. Crawford could be an All-Star and starter for any NBA team but his ability to come off the bench and flat out score is the best in the NBA.
Defensive Player of The Year: DeAndre Jordan Los Angeles Clippers- He may be known for his vicious dunks (see Brandon Knight) but it’s Jordan’s defense that’s getting him praise this season. He is third in the NBA in blocks per game (2.4) and first in rebounding (13.5). If he can learn to knock down free throws to go along with his 63.5% field goal percentage he could help lead the Clippers to some games in June.
Most Improved Player: Arron Afflalo Orlando Magic- The Magic aren’t playing good basketball this year but that’s expected from such a young team that is rebuilding. Afflalo is Orlando’s go-to guy and is learning what it means to be “the guy.” He is averaging a career high 20.9 points per game while playing 37.6 minutes per contest.