Pardon me for posting such a late entry regarding my NBA mid-season awards. I planned to post this entry weeks ago but I had other things to do and didn’t have the time to evaluate and write the awards. I know I’m late so I’ll cut things short and get to awarding:
Al Horford of Atlanta Hawks
I had to give it to Al Horford. Kevin Durant is more dominant offensively speaking, but I like the way Horford contributes to his team. The Atlanta Hawks are on the verge of winning a playoff spot and Horford has been great in contributing to his team. Among all the rookies, I think Horford has the most impact on their respective teams.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Durant, Jamario Moon, Yi Jinlian
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Chris Kaman of L.A. Clippers
Andrew Bynum used to be my prime candidate for this award but since he got injured, I thought Chris Kaman deserves to get this award. Kaman really stepped up in Elton Brand’s absence from the Clippers averaging 17 points and 13 rebounds compared to his last season’s 10 points 7 rebounds.
Honorable Mention: Jose Calderon, Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson
TOP SIXTH MAN
Manu Ginobili of San Antonio Spurs
This one is pretty easy. Manu Ginobili is a starter player playing off the bench. As a reserve player, Manu is logging in 30 minutes per game which is essentially a starter’s playing time. Manu provides the offensive spark of the Spurs from the bench.
Honorable Mention: David Lee, Leandro Barbosa, Jason Terry
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Josh Smith of Atlanta Hawks
This was a pretty tough decision I think. Marcus Camby is still the premier shot blocker in the NBA, but Josh Smith offers a bit more then blocking. Smith can rebound well and he blocks shots insanely. Plus he can steal the ball a couple of times in a game. Simply put, Smith is all over the place. Smith’s rebounds, blocks and steals bring him this award.
Honorable Mention: Marcus Camby, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard
Nate McMillan of Portland Trailblazers
28-20 (3rd in the Northwest division)
This coach has resurrected the Portland Trailblazers this season. When the No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden got injured, people immediately took out the Blazers out of the equation. People never expected the Blazers to make an impressive run back in December when they won 13 games straight. Gotta give it to McMillan for steering his young players to play maturely and compete in the NBA, particularly in the tough Western Conference.
Honorable Mention: Byron Scott, Doc Rivers, Reggie Theus (for the Sacramento Kings‘ resiliency)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Chris Paul of New Orleans Hornets
At this point of the season, this is a no-brainer. Chris Paul has been fantastic. Three years into his NBA career and he has already emerged as the leader of the Hornets. LeBron James might contend for the MVP title, but CP3 is playing in the tougher Western Conference and the Hornets (33-15) are currently third in the West.
Honorable Mention: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard (sorry no Kevin Garnett here).