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Halfway Through: NBA Awards

January 23, 2013

Halfway through the season, it’s time to take a look who deserves some hardware. All these winners are picked based on their current season achievements. There’s still a lot of games to be played, so my opinion may vary at the end of the season.

Coach of the Year: Mark Jackson GSW 5th in the West

Mark Jackson had no trainingcamp last season and had to deal with multiple injuries to his star players. The Bay Area front office gave him a fresh start this season and rightfully so. Golden State has been red hot. Relying on their three point shooting and strong bench play, they have been impressive to say the least. Adding to his achievements, they might have the best chemistry in the league. Just take a look at their bench, led by professional towel-waver Kent Bazemore.

Defensive Player of the Year: Tim Duncan 9.8 rpg 2.7 bpg DefRtg:98.2 30 mpg

This is not at a lifetime achievement award. Although it’s fair to say, it’s a travesty Duncan has never won the award. Tim Duncan is playing limited minutes, but he’s playing as efficient as ever. It seems like he has found the fountain of youth, averaging 2.7 blocks per game, which is tied for second highest in his career. He’s the defensive anchor of a Spurs team that has been going strong for over a decade. Tim Duncan has earned this award, like no other. Just ask Blake Griffin! Runner-up is big man Roy Hibbert.

Most Improved Player : Paul George 17.2 ppg 7.8 rpg 3.8 apg

The Indiana Pacers haven’t missed Danny Granger. The main reason because of that, is the play of Paul George. I expect him to steadily improve as the season grows older. He’s getting more comfortable putting up more shots than he’s used to, with each game that passes. He isn’t just a great player on the offensive side of the court. He’s a pest on the defensive end, turning into a great on the ball defender with a tremendous ability to steal the ball. The last 10 games he’s averaging 20 ppg 10 rpg 4 apg and 2.6 steals per game.

Sixth Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford 16.7 ppg in 29 mpg

Jamal Crawford has always been a big scorer…on bad or average teams. This season, he’s proving he can be an integral part of a championship contending team. He doesn’t just score empty points, he has hit some big shots in the fourth to seal the deal for the spectacular Clippers. His job is to score off the bench and there’s nobody in the league who does it better than Jamal. Runner-up is Kevin Martin from OKC, who’s filling in perfectly for James Harden.

Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard 18.3 ppg 3.5 rpg 6.6 apg

“Veni, Vedi, Vici” is a way to summarize Lillard’s rookie campaign thus far. Drafted by an already talented Blazers team, Lillard wasted no time showing off his skills and becoming Portland’s first option. He has proven his leadership capabilities and clutchness throughout the season. If he manages to continue at this brilliant pace, he’ll be a lock for ROY. Here’s a video highlighting Lillard’s play by one of the best Mixmakers ever MaxaMillion711

MVP: Kevin Durant 29.5ppg 7.5rpg 4.2apg 52FG% 40 3FG% 91FT%

At 24 years old, he’s already in his 6th NBA season. He continues to evolve as a complete player. Don’t call him a scorer, Durant has been impressive this season creating for others as well, hence his career high in assists per game. He’s growing as a leader on the court and he’s finally using his freaky wingspan on defense, resulting in career highs in blocks and steals. OKC’s record lifts him above Lebron James in this discussion. Take into account that  the media gets fatigued voting for the same player over and over. Enjoy this video of Durant’s recent poster victim.

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