With most NBA teams now at the halfway point of their season and the All-Star break set for this weekend, it gives me a chance to hand out some mid-season awards.
His numbers are up across the board and in my opinion; the most impressive of his stats is his 51% field goal percentage. For a non-post player to be above 50% is extremely impressive. Aside from his stats, the Thunder have the best record in the West and I believe he's less replaceable than other candidates for this award. That's the key for me, I take the meaning of "Most Valuable Player" very literally. If LeBron James were to miss a few games, they still have Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. When Derrick Rose went out recently with back spasms, the Bulls went 3-2 without him including a win over the Celtics. Durant can take his defender off the dribble, he has a post-up game, he can hit the 3-point shot, he rebounds, and his defense has improved; he can do it all.
Runner-Ups: LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker
Rookie Of The Year:
Not only are Irving's numbers great, but he has Cleveland just 1 1/2 games out of playoff spot! Last season the Cavs won only 19 games all year, but they've won 13 games already out of their first 30; three games before the halfway point of their season. If their other lottery pick Tristan Thompson can fix his offensive problems, the Cavs could be a team on the rise.
6th Man Of The Year:
James Harden - Thunder
16.8 ppg, 4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 37% 3-point, 2 starts in 32 games
Its not who starts, it's who finishes right? Harden may not technically be a starter, but he averages the 3rd most minutes per game on the Thunder behind Durant and Westbrook. Using some advanced, nerdy stats, Harden ranks 2nd on the team to Durant in 'Win Shares', an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player.
Coach Of The Year:
Manu Ginobili has missed 23 games, Tim Duncan's minutes and numbers are down, yet the Spurs sit in 2nd place in the Western Conference. I don't know how he does it, most fans couldn't name their starting lineup, but he continues to win.
Runner-Ups: Doug Collins, Frank Vogel