NBA: Current Favorites for Each NBA Award
The NBA season is approaching the All Star break and already there are favorites starting to develop for the NBA awards.
Each year, there are some players and coaches who always seem to be in the discussion for specific awards. However, there are also always new guys pushing themselves into the awards picture.
Here is a look at the current favorites for each NBA Award.
Rookie of the Year
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Favorite: Damian Lillard
At this point, there is no argument for the Rookie of the Year. Damian Lillard has made a huge impact in the league already and is averaging 18.1 points, 6.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Lillard has been everything the Portland Trail Blazers could have asked for as the sixth-overall pick in the draft.
In the running: Anthony Davis
The rookie with the most hype coming into the season was Anthony Davis. Davis played on the USA Olympic team and was the No. 1 pick overall.
While Davis has done a nice job so far in the NBA and has made an impact, Lillard is the clear Rookie of the Year (poet and I didn't even know it).
Defensive Player of the Year
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Favorite: Joakim Noah
Whether you like him or not, Joakim Noah has made his defensive presence known against pretty much every team this season. He brings an energy and tenacity that is hard to match.
The Chicago Bulls have given up the third-least points per game to opponents. Noah plays a big role in that. He is also averaging 11.3 rebounds (7.4 defensive), 2.1 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.
In the running: LeBron James, Serge Ibaka, Larry Sanders, Roy Hibbert
LeBron James has the unique ability to guard every position on the court, which will always put him in the category for Defensive Player of the Year.
Other guys that have done a nice job this season on the defensive end of the court, and deserve to be in the discussion of Defensive Player of the Year, include Serge Ibaka, Larry Sanders and Roy Hibbert.
6th Man of the Year
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Favorite: Kevin Martin
The Oklahoma City Thunder made a difficult decision before the season and traded away their valuable sixth man, James Harden. The trio of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden seemed like a force to be reckoned with for a long time.
The only issue was money. The Thunder weren't going to be able to pay Harden the kind of money he wanted, while also keeping Durant and Westbrook. The player who was supposed to replace Harden in the trade was Kevin Martin. And so far, so good.
Martin has never had a problem scoring the basketball, and the Thunder seem to be a perfect fit right now. He has averaged over 15 points per game and is shooting over 45 percent from the field and over 43 percent from behind the arc.
In the running: Jarrett Jack, Jamal Crawford, J.R Smith and Andray Blatche
Jarrett Jack has done a nice job of being a well-rounded player off the bench for the Golden State Warriors, who currently sit fifth in the Western Conference.
Jamal Crawford can score in bunches with the best of them. He has made a career out of coming off the bench and running up his teams score in a quick period of time. He has done just that this season and is going to be in consideration for the Sixth Man of the Year award all season.
J.R Smith has been the second-most valuable player to the Knicks this season, behind Carmelo Anthony. Smith has apparently made some changes in his life, and his play has benefited from it. He has averaged 16 points, 2.9 assists and five rebounds per game, coming off the bench.
Andray Blatche is currently having the best season of his career and is having a resurgence in Brooklyn. He has played primarily the center position for the first time and seems to make a huge impact whenever he is in the game. A boost in minutes is very possible and could push him up the Sixth Man of the Year ladder.
Coach of the Year
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Favorite: Gregg Popovich/Tom Thibodeau
The San Antonio Spurs are one of those sports franchises that just seem to always be good. Much of their recent consistent success is due to Gregg Popovich.
Over the last few seasons, Popovich has done an excellent job of blending the veteran players with the younger ones. Not to mention the fact that Tim Duncan has apparently found the fountain of youth.
The other coach who is just as deserving of the Coach of the Year award is Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Bulls have been without Derrick Rose all season, yet they remain one of the best teams in the East and in the NBA. Thibodeau seems to know how to get the most out of his players, especially his bench.
In the running: Mark Jackson, Mike Woodson
Mark Jackson has done a nice job of working around injuries and has made the Golden State Warriors one of the biggest surprise teams of the year. Jackson has turned the Warriors into a top defensive team. If the season ended today, the Warriors would be the five-seed coming out of the Western Conference.
Another team that has been playing better than some might have expected is the New York Knicks. Although they have cooled off a little bit lately, Mike Woodson has made players like Carmelo Anthony and J.R Smith buy into his system, and it has paid off tremendously so far.
Most Valuable Player
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Favorite: Kevin Durant
Let me start off by saying that a part of me feels that when the "Big Three" was formed in Miami, LeBron James forfeited his chances to win an NBA MVP award. If you are on a team with a top-five player in the league (Dwyane Wade) and a top-15 or top-20 player (Chris Bosh), your value drops.
So even though James is having another unbelievable season, he is not the MVP of the NBA if the season ended today.
The MVP right now is Kevin Durant. Durant, who is shockingly still only 24 years old, is averaging 29.6 points, 4.4 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game. All three numbers are above his career average.
Durant is also leading the team with the second-best record in the entire league.
In the running: Chris Paul, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony
Along with Durant and James, two more players that are in the running for the MVP award are Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.
Paul has helped his Los Angeles Clippers become one of the best teams in basketball. He is playing some of the best basketball of his career.
The New York Knicks have started the first half season very strongly, and that is primarily because of the play of Anthony. If you ever watch a Knicks game, you will see just how dependent and reliant the Knicks are on Anthony. Their entire offense is run through him, and his improvement defensively has pushed him into MVP consideration.