At times in October and November, it looked like we may not have had a 2012 NBA season to talk about because there was no end to the lockout in sight.
Even though it was a shortened season, featuring 66 games packed into four months, it turned out to be a great season filled with fantastic moments. It gives us a lot to look back on.
With San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich already capturing the Coach of the Year award and New York Knicks' Tyson Chandler being named Defensive Player of the Year, the rest of the season-ending awards will be announced within the upcoming days.
It’s time to hand out some hardware, as I take a look at the rest of the awards and who should be the projected winners.
MVP: LeBron James, Miami Heat
LeBron closed the season well, putting an exclamation point on a fantastic campaign from beginning to end. The great thing about LeBron’s game is that he can’t be defined by a statistic.
Having said that, his numbers were excellent, averaging 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.9 steals and shooting 53 percent from the floor and 36 percent from the three-point line. There should be little doubt that James captures his third MVP. Runner Up: Kevin Durant.
Rookie of the Year: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
The No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft leads all rookies in scoring with 18.5 points while averaging 5.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals. He should be the unanimous winner of the award, despite playing in only 51 of the 66 regular season games. Runner Up: Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings.
Most Improved Player: Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic
This is hands down the toughest category to determine a winner with candidates such as Jeremy Lin, Ersan Ilyasova, Greg Monroe, Andrew Bynum, Avery Bradley, Nikola Pekovic and plenty of other worthy candidates.
Anderson gets the nod though, upping his scoring (16.1 PPG) by over five points from a season ago and grabbing over two rebounds (7.7 RPG) more per game. Anderson led the NBA in three-pointers made with 166, and while he’s primarily just a shooter and a rebounder, the Orlando magic forward made great strides this season.
He edges out Lin, partly because Lin played in only 35 games this season and unfortunately injuries play a role in the voting. Runner Up: Lin, New York Knicks.
Sixth Man of the Year: James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
No contest here as harden should get every single vote after averaging 16.8 points per game off the bench for OKC this season. If there’s a runner-up, it could come from a list of Louis Williams, Al Harrington, Jason Terry and Mo Williams. Runner Up: Harrington, Denver Nuggets.
All NBA First-Team
G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers; 19.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 2.5 steals, 0.1 blocks
G: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers; 27.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks
F: LeBron James, Miami Heat; 27.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.8 blocks
F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder; 28.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.1 blocks
C: Dwight Howard, Orland Magic; 20.6 points, 14.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 steals, 2.1 blocks
All NBA Second Team
G: Tony Parker: San Antonio Spurs; 18.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.1 blocks
G: Russell Westbrook: Oklahoma City Thunder; 23.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.3 blocks
F: Blake Griffin: Los Angeles Clippers; 20.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks
F: Kevin Love: Minnesota Timberwolves; 26.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks
C: Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers; 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds 1.4 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.9 blocks
NBA All-Defensive Team
G: Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets
G: Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks
F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
F: Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls
C: Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks