NBA Awards Predictions 2012-13
Wednesday's slate of games ended the 2012-13 NBA regular season. After an exciting season, it's time to hand out the annual NBA awards.
MVP- Lebron James
It's clear that King James is the best overall player in the NBA and he proved it once again this year. Averaging 26.8 ppg, 8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists, Lebron is poised to receive his 4th MVP award in the last 5 years. More than in past years, Lebron stepped up when the game was on the line. Of course, it doesn't hurt Lebron that the Heat won 66 games this season, ran away with the East, and put together a 27 game win streak in between. It would be a serious shock if anyone other than Lebron wins the award. With the way Lebron's career is progressing, it would be difficult for any other player to wrestle the MVP award away from him for a few years. One guy who has the chance to usurp Lebron is Kevin Durant. Durant is a clear 2nd to Lebron, and is improving year after year. Durant is a great player, but doesn't quite have the full game that James has. Finishing 2nd in scoring to Carmelo Anthony, Durant put together a 50-40-90 season. Durant is only the sixth player in NBA history to put up such numbers.
Rookie of the Year- Damian Lillard
The sixth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft may help Portland fans get over the fact that the team passed up on Michael Jordan in 1984. Well, maybe that's a stretch, but Lillard will give it his best shot. Lillard put together a historic rookie season, scoring 19 ppg and 6.5 assists. He's played in every game this year and will lead the NBA in minutes. He joins Wilt Chamberlain and Elvin Hayes as the only other rookies to do that. That's pretty good company for the point guard. Adding to his incredible season, Lillard shot 36% from the 3 point line and passed Stephen Curry's rookie 3 point record. Lillard is a sure fire star in the league and should lead Portland back to the playoffs very soon.
Sixth Man of the Year- J.R. Smith
J.R. 'Swish' has officially moved on from his days of wild shots and arguing with coaches to become the league's most deadly bench threat. Though Smith occasionally throws up a poor shot, he's polished his game tremendously. Smith has been a consistent force for the Knicks, playing bigger and better when injuries forced Carmelo Anthony to miss games. Smith averaged just over 18 ppg and over 1 steal per game. His defense has been a revelation for the Knicks, who rely on Smith to guard opponents' quickest players. Jamal Crawford certainly deserves some mention for the award coming off of the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers. The reason Smith gets the nod is because the Knicks would be far worse off without Smith than the Clips would be without Crawford.
Defensive Player of the Year- Paul George
Going with Paul George for DPOY is going out on a limb. George doesnt lead the league in steals, blocks, or defensive rebounding. Basically, George deserves the award because of the defensive intensity that he plays with and his ability to guard perimeter scorers. His height and length give him an advantage over most wing scorers who challenge him. George's defense, coupled with his offensive skills, make him one of the best young players in the entire league. If you didn't know about George before this season, you definitely know who he is now.
Coach of the Year- George Karl
The Denver Nuggets didn't have an all-star this season. They aren't the most talented team in the league. Still, George Karl has coached his team to a 57-25 record, good for third in the East. They also compiled an eye popping 38-3 record at home. The Nuggets are a popular pick for a surprise team to come out of the West this postseason. If the Nuggets can make the NBA Finals, considering Danilo Gallinari was recently lost for the season with a torn ACL, Karl would have to take a ton of the credit.
Most Improved Player- Larry Sanders
Not only did Larry Sanders lead my fantasy basketball team to a championship this year, but he managed to come out of nowhere and finish second in the NBA in blocks per game averaging 2.8. Before the season, Sanders had never averaged more than 15 mpg. With the Bucks' lack of a reliable center, Sanders stepped in averaging 9.8 ppg and 9.5 rebounds to go with his defense. Sanders is only in his third year and his future looks bright. Sanders still has not fully rounded out his offensive game and has potential to grow as a scorer. The Bucks are very fortunate that Sanders panned out the way he did and has taken over their big man role.
So there you have my predictions for the NBA award season. If you agree with any of the picks, or think I completely missed on them, comment below with your thoughts. The Playoffs begin Saturday and I'm expecting some huge games early on in the postseason. Check back into ESPN Binghamton for all the latest NBA Playoffs news.