Every NBA team has played at least 41 games now and since half of 82 is 41, it is time for some midseason awards. We took a team effort to determine who would win each award. Al, Ben, Jason, Ryan, Shane, and I each voted for MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Most Improved Player using the 3/2/1 point method. We also picked our midseason All NBA 1st and 2nd teams. So without further adieu, let’s get to the awards.
Midseason Most Valuable Player
Derrick Rose (13 points) – Derrick Rose was a near unanimous pick for our midseason MVP. Rose is averaging a career high’s with 24.7 points, 8 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game while leading the Bulls, who haven’t been at full strength all year and have quite possibly the worst starting shooting guard in the NBA, to the league’s fifth best record and only 3 and a half games out of the first seed in the East. Rose is in the top 15 in PER, Assist Percentage, Usage Percentage, Win Shares, points per game, and assists per game. Rose has not only gotten better himself, but he has also helped take Loul Deng and Taj Gibson’s games to the next level. Those two are having career years with Rose. Without Rose the Bulls are struggling to even get into the playoffs and with him they are a threat to win the title. The crazy part of all of this is the Bulls only had a 1.7% shot of even getting Rose in the first place. LeBron James might still be the best player in the NBA but if Derrick Rose continues to play at this level, he not only will win our midseason MVP, but he will also take him the real NBA MVP.
Second and Third place finishers: LeBron James (8 points), Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard (5 points)
Midseason Rookie of the Year
Blake Griffin (18 points) – Blake was the only unanimous winner for any of our awards. All six of us voted Blake first place and honestly there was little doubt that Blake would win this. So instead of typing out a long soliloquy about Blake, just watch this.
Second and Third place finishers: John Wall (10 points) and Landry Fields (8 points)
Midseason Defensive Player of the Year
Dwight Howard (15 points) – In what was our closest award race, Dwight Howard barely beat out Kevin Garnett to win the midseason Defensive Play of the Year. Howard is averaging 2.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game but his defensive rating (which is an estimate of the points allowed per 100 possessions) is 94.9 which is 2nd in the NBA. Howard is also 1st in the NBA in defensive win shares, which is an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player due to his defense, at 3.7. Garnett is the heart and soul of the Boston defense and is first in defensive rating at 94.2, his defensive win shares is a full one point lower than Dwight’s. This is one award I can see being a shared award come the end of the year but at the midseason, it is Dwight’s.
Second and Third place finishers: Kevin Garnett (12 points) and Tyson Chandler (5 points)
Midseason Most Improved Player
Eric Gordon (16 points) – Eric Gordon was an overwhelming pick for the Most Improved player award. He is currently averaging a career best 24.1 points per game (8th in the NBA) with a True Shooting percentage of 58.7%. Gordon has also improved his assists (4.5 per game) and rebounds (3.1 per game) with both being career highs. Gordon has also increased his PER by 7 points to a career high 21.1. Numbers only tell part of the story as if you watch a Clippers game, which a lot of people are now doing, Gordon has stepped up as a great outside to Blake Griffin’s inside. Gordon’s emergence this season has allowed Blake Griffin to flourish and vice versa.
Second and Third place finishers: Kevin Love (9 points) and Russell Westbrook (7 points)
Midseason Coach of the Year
Greg Popovich (17 points) – All Coach Pop has done lead the Spurs to a franchise best start of 37-7 in spite of Tim Duncan averaging career lows in points and rebounds. Outside of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, no one on the roster really stands out as a “star” but that hasn’t stopped the Spurs from having the league’s third best scoring margin while playing against the seventh toughest schedule so far. They have a 3 and a ½ game lead for the NBA’s best record, which is odd since Popovich usually likes to ease his team through the regular season and rev it up right around March for the playoff run. The Spurs have had their fair share of luck too as they are the only top team not to lose a key player to any injury yet. All of that adds up to us giving Greg Popovich only his second Coach of the Year award.
Second and Third place finishers: Tom Thibodeau (7 points) and Jerry Sloan (4 points.
Midseason All NBA 1st Team
* Dwight Howard
(* indicating unanimous)
Midseason All NBA 2nd Team
You all should notice that all of our award winners, except for Dwight Howard, were players on Team USA this past summer. Obviously going to Coach K camp has improved their game greatly and all of those players that played with Team USA have seen an increase in their production this season.
Now I am not saying that because they played this summer is why they are playing better, but it should give the younger players in the NBA looking to make the jump from star to superstar a blueprint on what to do during the World’s Championship summers.
So there you have it, the first annual Stacheketball Midseason NBA Awards, now it is your turn, do you have a problem with our winners? Then let us know in the comments section.
Nick is a contributor to Stacheketball and full time lover of all things roundball related. Follow him on Twitter to discuss basketball or mid 90′s television @Jubanator14