Cleveland Cavaliers Team Awards: MVP, Most Improved, Most Disappointing and More

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterApril 16, 2011

Cleveland Cavaliers Team Awards: MVP, Most Improved, Most Disappointing and More

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    For those of you who closed your eyes in November and said "let me know when it's over," it's now safe to look again.

    Yes, the Cavaliers season resembled that of a horror film, but it wasn't all bad, especially the ending.

    Winners of four of their last six, hope remains for next season.  Before looking ahead however, let's take a moment to reflect on the past.

    Some Cavaliers deserve to be honored while others deserve to be given the boot for next season.

    Ladies and gentlemen, your 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers postseason awards.

Rookie of the Year

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Winner: Samardo Samuels

    Runners-Up: Manny Harris, Christian Eyenga

    Normally teams don't have five rookies to choose from for this award, but the Cavs weren't your normal team this season.

    Samuels had to wait a little longer to get his opportunities, but when Antawn Jamison went down, Samardo made the most of it.

    In ten starts Samuels averaged 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while providing the Cavaliers with one of their only wide bodies down low.

    A strained groin sidelined the 22-year-old Samuels for the final six games, but the Jamaican-native looks to be a valuable big man off the bench for years to come.

Most Improved

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Winner: J.J. Hickson

    Runners-Up: Daniel Gibson 

    With 11 double-doubles in his last 13 games, Hickson turned it on in the last month and proved he belongs as a starter in the league.

    Forced to play center for large portions of the season, Hickson thrived in his return to power forward and at only 22 years of age should be a force for years to come, if he can keep up his mental aggressiveness.

    For the season Hickson put up averages of 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, up from 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds a year ago.

    For his increased aggressiveness, rebounding and offensive game, Hickson clearly deserves the award of most improved.

Most Missed Player Award

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Winner:  Anderson Varejao

    Runners-Up: Antawn Jamison

    Varejao lasted all of 31 games before tearing a tendon in his right ankle that ended his season, and with it, the Cavaliers interior defense.

    As a result, Cleveland finished the season with a rebound differential of -3.23, fourth worst in the league. 

    Varejao was averaging 9.7 rebounds per game, a number that usually takes Ryan Hollins four games to accumulate.

    Needless to say, the Cavs desperately need Andy back.

Most Disappointing Player

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Winner: Christian Eyenga

    Runners-Up: Luke Harangody,Joey Graham

    This is a tough category to pick, but overall Eyenga's play in the 2010-2011 season has to be viewed as a disappointment.

    A first-round pick in 2009, Eyenga showed a lot of flashes this season.  Flashes of good play, flashes of confusion, flashes of Cavs fans groaning for not drafting DeJuan Blair instead....

    Eyenga is probably the teams most athletic player, could turn into a great perimeter defender and can provide highlight blocked shots and dunks. 

    He also provided Byron Scott with a lot of headaches this season, primarily whenever he would stand back and shoot "I have no business taking this shot" jumpers.

    6.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in over 21 minutes per game just isn't good enough for someone with Eyenga's potential.

Most Likely Not to Be Back Next Year

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Winner: Joey Graham

    Runners-Up: Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison

    As it stands, Anthony Parker is the only player on the Cavs to hit the free agent market this summer, which leaves the roster at 14 players.  With four picks in the upcoming draft, Cleveland needs to create some roster space.

    Graham, contrary to popular belief, is still technically on the team.

    With one year and $1 million left on his deal, expect Graham to be released since he has no future with a young Cavs team.

    I'm sure his departure will greatly sadden Cavaliers fans.

Most Exciting Player to Watch

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Winner:  Baron Davis

    Runners-Up: J.J. Hickson, Ramon Sessions

    Davis was the one Cavalier that, when he was on the court, you certainly knew about it.

    Despite only playing 15 games for the Wine and Gold, Davis was a pleasant surprise with his on-court leadership and unselfish play.

    He single-handedly transformed Ryan Hollins into a serviceable option down low, helped lead the Cavs to a huge win over the Heat and displayed court vision not seen from a Cavs point guard since the days of Andre Miller.

    The question is, will he be back to do it again next year? 

Team MVP

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Winner:  Ramon Sessions

    Runners-Up: Antawn Jamison, J.J. Hickson

    Throughout injuries, trades, losing streaks and the Northeast Ohio winter, Sessions was the one Cavalier you could count on to come through time and time again. 

    For the year in both bench and starting roles Sessions put up averages of 13.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists in only 26 minutes per game. 

    In a season that saw numerous players miss extension time with various injuries, Sessions was the Cavs Iron-Man, playing in 81 of the 82 possible games.

    Sessions provides hope for next season, and with an improved outside shot, could become a top-ten point guard in the league.

Happy Retirement Award

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    Winner: Joe Tait


    Tait returned from heart surgery to finish his last season with the Cavaliers as their play-by-play and color man on a positive note.

    For 39 years Tait's voice could be heard calling Cavs games on the radio, as well as some time spent with the Rockers and Indians as well.

    The 73-year-old Tait ended his final broadcast with "Have a good life everybody."

    Joe, we sincerely wish a class act like you the same.