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NBA A-Z: Handing out awards
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 4, 2013 @ 11:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
The regular season isn’t over just yet, and there’s always the chance that NBA awards can be won or lost depending on these last two weeks of games.
But let’s be honest: by the time awards are finally decided and then announced, almost all of the focus is — with good reason — on the postseason that should be as compelling as ever this time around. All of which means there’s no better time than now to break down the likely winners and losers as I see them. Away we go…
MVP: LeBron Durant
Wait, what’s that? That’s not an actual person? My subconscious, that part of me that wishes there was a way to honor the MVP-worthy seasons of the Miami Heat’s LeBron James and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant, kicked in there. Alas, the predictable and no-brainer pick is…
MVP: LeBron James, Miami Heat
He’s been incredible almost every time out all season long, but the fact that the Heat weren’t their dominant selves early on this season chipped away at his candidacy. Specifically, the Heat’s defense that was their calling card last season had fallen off considerably. Meanwhile, Durant — who deserves so much credit for his leadership as the Thunder transitioned so seamlessly from the James Harden era to the Kevin Martin chapter — was having the best season of his record-breaking career yet again while the Thunder were leading the entire pack.
But whether it wasJames’ six-game streak of 30-plus point, 60-plus shooting percentage outings, his nightly heroics during the 27-game winning streak, or the fact that his already-absurd production from last season has increased significantly when it comes to assists (7.3 per game), rebounds (8.1), and shooting efficiency (56% shooting overall, 40.4% from three-point range while scoring 26.9 points per), James is the clear pick here now. The choice is made even easier because of the Heat’s dominance, and their renowned defense — which was third in the league in terms of defensive rating last season — has returned along the way (from 11th earlier this season up to eighth currently).
Coach of the Year: George Karl, Denver … [For more on NBA A-Z: Handing out awards, starting with LeBron James, click here.]
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