NBA Awards Season: Predicting the Association's Hardware Winners

James O'Grady@jimmyogradyContributor IMarch 31, 2011

NBA Awards Season: Predicting the Association's Hardware Winners

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    The NBA regular season is almost at a close, and that means that all the end of season performance awards will be announced shortly.

    It has been another outstanding season in the Association.

    That being said, it doesn't make distinguishing the outstanding performers in each award category any easier.

    This article looks at the predicted winners of all six NBA end of season awards. 

Most Improved Player: Marcin Gortat

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    Predicting Marcin Gortat to win the Most Improved Player award may seem controversial, however it is only that he is not a household name that prevents him from being in every conversation about the award.

    Since being traded to the Suns and out of Dwight Howard's shadow with the Magic, Gortat has been putting up a beastly stat line.

    At Phoenix, Gortat is averaging: 12.8 PPG (up 8.8 from Orlando stats), and 9.7 RPG (an increase of 4.4).

    The statistics don't lie, Gortat has improved out of sight thanks to his new role at Phoenix, and this makes him the strongest case for Most Improved Player at this stage in the season.


    Honorable Mentions

    Russell Westbrook

    Dorrell Wright

    Derrick Rose

    LaMarcus Aldridge

    Kevin Love

6th Man of the Year: Jason Terry

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    The JET, is having another outstanding year at Dallas, and his role of 6th man suits him perfectly. Terry always explodes in the fourth quarter, making him easy to integrate into the Mavs' rotation.

    Although inconsistent at times, Terry has shown that he has the ability to be a top notch starting shooting guard across many seasons, 2010-2011 being no exception.

    On the season, Terry is averaging 16.4 PPG, 1.90 RPG and 4.2 APG.

    Terry's Mavericks are having another excellent season, and this elevates Terry over Odom, who's Lakers have performed under many people's expectations.


    Honorable Mentions

    Lamar Odom

    James Harden

    Thaddeus Young

    Ty Lawson

Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau

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    Tom Thibodeau signed with the Bulls this off-season, and has steered them into being a legitimate title threat.

    It's fitting that the coach of the top seed in the East be named Coach of the Year.

    The Bulls have improved out of sight since last season.

    Keep watch to see how Thibodeau leads his Bulls deep into the playoffs this season.


    Honorable Mentions

    Gregg Popovich

    Phil Jackson

    Doc Rivers

Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin

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    Already an All-Star in his rookie season, Blake Griffin has put his fair share of opposing defenders on posters. The rookie power forward is just oozing potential to become one of the league's best, and is set for a big career.

    Griffin has been the obvious choice for Rookie of the Year since the early part of this season.

    Griffin's season averages are 22.4 PPG, 12 RPG and 3.7 APG.

    His only legitimate competition for this award was this year's number one draft choice, John Wall. The stats don't lie, Blake Griffin blows John Wall out of the water to be the clear winner of this award.


    Honorable Mentions

    John Wall

    DeMarcus Cousins

    Greg Monroe

Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard

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    Dwight Howard is now undoubtedly the best center in the NBA. He is the complete defensive package.

    His length and capacity to block shots is unmatched, and his post defensive presence is one that keeps offensive players switched on.

    Howard produces no shortage of highlight reel blocks, and this season is no exception. He is the clear winner of this award.

    Howard's defensive stats this season are 1.3 SPG and 2.4 BPG.

    Further, Howards stats don't recognize the amount of shots he contests brilliantly, and his feared paint presence.


    Honorable Mentions

    Josh Smith

    LeBron James

    Andrew Bogut

    Chris Paul

Most Valuable Player: Derrick Rose

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    Rose is having his best season of his young career.

    He's averaging 25.0 PPG and 7.9 APG this season—the stats say it all.

    Derrick Rose is the best point guard in the NBA right now.

    He also has the best chance to take home this year's regular-season MVP. His name has been hyped up a lot of late, and it certainly doesn't hurt his chances.

    The impact Rose has had on the success of the Chicago Bulls this season is easy to see, and that alone bodes well for his selection as this season's MVP.


    Honorable Mentions

    Dwight Howard

    LeBron James

    Kobe Bryant

    Kevin Durant

    Dirk Nowitzki