Sorry Kobe.  It's the King's turn this year.

Sorry Kobe. It's the King's turn this year.

I’ve seen quite a few of these articles around and figured I’d weigh in with my own thoughts.  It’s been an interesting season thus far, whether it’s been the reemergence of Dwayne Wade, The dominance of Lebron, or The Celtics pursuit of another title.  Since we have about a month an a half left until the playoffs, it’s time to make some picks for the year end awards.   I encourage everyone else to comment with their own choices.

MVP

This here is the big award, and the choice will ultimately come down to Kobe vs. Lebron.  While both are having incredible seasons, I have to choose Lebron this year.  If the MVP is meant to award the player who had the greatest season, you can’t overlook the King.  Lebron is a triple double threat every night and has not only elevated his own game, but also been the ultimate teammate on both ends of the floor.  Lebron commands the attention of the opposing team every night, and his improved cast of role players have stepped up their games as well.  Kobe may still be the best player in the league and the guy who you want taking the final shot, but Lebron’s incredible season cannot be denied and will most likely continue for the next 6 weeks.  Honorable mention here goes to Dwayne Wade, who has been playing out of his mind lately, but he just can’t match the seasons that Lebron and Kobe are having.  In addition, his team is not at the level of the Cavs or Lakers.

Rookie of The Year

The names being thrown around here include Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Russell Westbrook, and Brook Lopez.  I have to choose Rose, who has come into the league and instantly been everything that we thought he would be.  While the Bulls were plagued with an awful season last year, Rose has restored some hope into the city of Chicago and become one of the most exciting young players to watch. His leadership on the court is tremendous given his youth and the team’s previous struggles.  I also like Westbrook, despite the fact that I have only seen him through highlights.  The Thunder may not have the best record, but they have a lot of raw young talent and Westbrook has done an excellent job managing the point in his first year in the league.  Once the other players develop and Durant ultimately explodes, the Thunder could be one of the most fun teams to watch.

Coach of The Year

Everyone is saying Stan Van Gundy and it’s hard to deny this given the fact that Orlando has been dominant, even with a season ending injury to their starting point guard.  Van Gundy’s team plays hard every night and has gotten it done on the defensive end against some of the better teams in the league.  With a huge front line and excellent shooting, the Magic could be a threat in the playoffs.  While they probably won’t finish any higher than 3rd in the conference, the Magic are the team that nobody wants to face in April and May.

Though Van Gundy is the popular choice, I’m going to go with Rick Adleman.  The Rockets were early season title contenders, but injuries and other factors have kept them behind better teams like the Lakers and Spurs.  Still, the Rockets have managed to stay in contention with an unlikely cast of characters.  Guys like Von Wafer have come along very nicely, and though the Rockets recently lost their starting point guard, Raefar Alston, they still look like a threat down the road.  The “Big 3” of Artest, McGrady, and  Yao has definitely not panned out, but despite such failures, Adleman has kept this team together and made them a threat for other teams in the West.

Sixth Man of the Year

Manu Ginobli may win this award, but he’s not going to be my choice.  Neither is Jason Terry who has also had an amazing season coming off the bench for the Mavericks.  I may be biased since I’m a bit vertically challenged, but my choice here is Nate Robinson.  Even without his performance in the dunk contest, Nate has been an incredible spark of the bench for an entertaining Knicks team.  His off court antics with Will Farrell (Shake and Bake) have added to his allure, but it is ultimately his play on the court that dictates my choice.  Nate is one of the quickest players in the league and his ability to dribble around bigger defenders and play above the rim make him a great choice for the 6th man award.

I’ll use this space to also mention another candidate who may creep up in this last month and a half.  This week, it was reported that Allen Iverson will be coming off the bench for the Pistons.  As others have mentioned, this may be the first time AI has had such a role.  Still, no one can deny that the Pistons seem to play better without him in the starting lineup.  This change could go one of two ways.  Iverson could embrace the role and become an explosive force off the bench.  With Hamilton, Prince, and Wallace off the court, they would simply need to put the ball in Allen’s hands and let him play the only way he knows how.  Still, this switch could have negative results if AI dislikes his bench role.  His contract is up after this season though, so its doubtful that AI will just mail it in.  Iverson will play hard, but it might take some adjusting on his part to get used to such a role.  Look out for him in these last 6 weeks.

Defensive Player of the Year

I’m incredibly biased here, but the conversation starts and stops with Kevin Garnett.  KG is a force like no other on defense and his ability to communicate with teammates and disrupt an offense makes him the obvious choice.  The Celtics have turned their team around through defense these last two seasons, and it’s KG who leads that defensive effort.  Still, the C’s have played well even in his absence, so those game without him could ultimately hurt his bid.  While Dwight Howard should also be mentioned here for his incredible shot blocking, I think Garnett will repeat in this category.

Most Improved Player

A lot of writers are picking Devin Harris, but part of me doesn’t want to.  This is not a slight against Harris, but rather a compliment since I’ve always found him to be an amazing player.  His scoring has improved, and much of this is due to him being more of a leader in Jersey.   His half court shot last week also helps his case.  Other players like Danny Granger have improved greatly this season, but it appears that Harris already has this award locked up.  In the interest of disagreeing, I’m going to choose Granger here, since I didn’t expect him to light it up like he has.

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