If the NBA Awards Put Playoffs into Consideration, Who Should Win This Year?

Zac Chow@Z_NBAContributor IIIMay 15, 2011

If the NBA Awards Put Playoffs into Consideration, Who Should Win This Year?

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 12:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls reacts after scoring a basket against the Atlanta Hawks in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO U
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Every year, when the NBA awards are given in the playoffs, some people may think that this player deserves it over another because of what he has done in the playoffs, and that's reasonable. No one likes to see Dirk Nowitzki receiving the MVP trophy after his Dallas Mavericks crashed out in the first round.

    So let's imagine that the coaches vote for the awards after the playoffs, where some people have raised their reputation while others lowered theirs. Would things change?

    In some cases, they will.

    Hint: The MVP trophy would not be held by the same set of hands.  

Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin (Original Winner: Blake Griffin)

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers goes up for a dunk during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on December 20, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers defeated the Timberw
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images


    Considering none of the top three rookies in the voting made the playoffs, someone would have to be ultra spectacular to take Griffin's spot. I mean, more than Griffin-on-Mozgov spectacular. That's impossible.

    While Griffin's defense is flawed, he will develop an awareness of opponents' tendency to do certain moves after matching up with them more and who knows how scary he will be if he starts blocking shots (0.5 BPG) on the regular?

    When that happens, the only thing I would worry about him is the lack of a nickname that sticks. I am going with must see BG (credit to NBA TV analyst Dennis Scott) at the moment.  

    Whose stock was raised?

    Gary Neal hit the biggest shot of the entire San Antonio Spurs' season (sorry, Manu), and he did what he was asked to: provide that missing spark off the bench.   

    Whose stock was hurt?

    Landry Fields struggled immensely against an experienced Boston Celtics, and his biggest strength, rebounding, was nowhere to be found. However, for a second-round pick, this rookie from Stanford had exceed expectations for the entire season, and one bad series should not take away from what he has achieved. One thing to note, though, is that his effectiveness has significantly decreased after Carmelo Anthony arrived in the Big Apple.  

Sixth Man of the Year: Jason Terry (Original Winner: Lamar Odom)

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 08:  Guard Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after a three-point shot against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2011 at American Airlines Center in
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


    To me, the Lakers vs Mavericks matchup came down to the battle of the benches. As Dallas won, credit must be given to Jason Terry. Without his help, along with J.J Barea, Dallas would not have won so easily. Terry outplayed the original winner, Lamar Odom, and his three-pointers have been falling the entire series, including the incredible nine makes from the promised land in the decisive blowout. 

    Whose stock was raised?

    O.J Mayo was nearly traded midseason by the Memphis Grizzlies, but now he is a solid contributor off the bench.

    Jamal Crawford recaptured the form he had last season, and his jumpshots are just incredibly difficult to defend. He can be called on whenever he is required to.

    Slowly and steadily, James Harden has put his name down as the third scoring option for the Thunder. His high basketball IQ and great shooting ability makes him a reliable sixth man for Scott Brooks to count on.  

    Whose stock was hurt?

    Glen Davis did not have the same impact he had in the regular season. While he is never a scorer, Boston expected him to average more than 4.9 points per game.

    J.R Smith did not play big minutes for the Nuggets, but when he did, he was the J.R Smith everyone has known him to be: inconsistent, but explosive. While Smith didn't really do anything wrong to hurt his stock, one must wonder why George Karl played him so little when Smith is widely regarded as the x-factor of the Nuggets-Thunder series.  

Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard (Original Winner: Dwight Howard)

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    ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 26:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots over Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.
    J. Meric/Getty Images


    I am starting to wonder whether there is any point of having this award anymore if Howard is going to be the one holding the trophy every single year. His defensive impact is matched by no one in the NBA and without him, the Magic would be conceding 120 points every game.

    Whose stock was raised?

    Tony Allen is, without a doubt, the best perimeter defender we have in the league right now. He has bothered Kevin Durant throughout the entire series and his high defensive awareness allow for him to steal as easy as Ray Allen shoot three-pointers.

    Serge Ibaka has been blocking shots like nobody's business in the playoffs, including a staggering nine blocks outing in Game 6 of the first round. He is definitely a contender for this award for years to come.

    Tyson Chandler may not have done much statistics wise to raise his reputation, but the impact he has made on the rest of the Dallas team is incredible throughout the entire season. Whenever he is off the court, the drop-off in the defensive intensity of the team can be seen quite clearly.  

    Whose stock was hurt?

    Somebody tell Ron Artest that his defense is looking for him. After letting Trevor Ariza drop multiple 20 point games on him, it feels like Artest just does not have the same impact defensively as he did last season. Granted, the entire Lakers defense was bad, but Artest has to watch his back because Matt Barnes could fit right into the starting small forward spot that he currently occupies.    

Most Improved Player of the Year: Kevin Love (Original Winner: Kevin Love)

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05:  Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves puts up a shot over the defense of Rashard Lewis #9 of the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center on March 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Rob Carr/Getty Images


    For someone to displace Love for the award, he would have had to:

    1. Have a double-double streak of over 53 games

    2. Have a 30-30 game.

    3. Do something that is rarely seen done by a player at his position (41.7 percent from three-point land).

    Yeah, not going to happen.

    Whose stock was raised?:

    Jrue Holiday was fearless against the Miami Heat, and Philadelphia has a good point guard in their hands. In my opinion, he is the only untradeable asset in the entire 76ers squad right now.

    Darrell Arthur showed that he can hit the mid-range jumper consistently and he has been a solid backup to Zach Randolph.

    Similar to Arthur, Mike Conley has been benefiting from the surprising run of the Grizzlies and he has controlled the tempo of the game very well, causing other teams to play to the way Memphis coach Lionel Hollins want. 

    Whose stock was hurt?

    LaMarcus Aldridge struggled at times against the Dallas defense and, most importantly, he was not assertive at times, settling for jumpers. In order for him to truly become the leader of the Trail Blazers, he has to be attacking the basket every single game from the start.

    Russell Westbrook showed that he still needs to mature as a ball handler and make better decisions. While he is most effective when he has the ball in his hands and not under the constraint of running complex plays, he has to realize that he is playing next to the top scorer in the NBA right now in Kevin Durant and that the main priority should be giving Durant the ball when he is open. 

Most Valuable Player of the Year: Dwight Howard (Original Winner: Derrick Rose)

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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic dunks against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User ex
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


    First of all, I want to say that in my opinion, Derrick Rose only got the award because he was the best player on the best team and while he is quite influential, he just does not have the same impact as Howard.

    In the Magic-Hawks series, Howard played like Superman with double-doubles of at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in all but one game, which was a blowout in Magic's favour. Without him, the Magic would have been swept easily.

    Rose may have had good series, but Howard had one excellent series which highlighted his importance to the team and while he did not carry his team to the next round, his efforts just can't be ignored and hence, I am making him MVP.

    Whose stock was raised?

    Dirk Nowitzki's off-balanced jumper may just be the most difficult shot to defend in the league right now, and it didn't happen by fluke. It is widely known that Dirk practices that particular shot for hours after practices and as a result, he is now the most dangerous shooter in the league. Dirk also gets extra credit for fixing Jason Kidd's shooting motion which allow Kidd to transform into a respectable three-point shooter.

    Rose may not be the MVP in my opinion, but he had posted up stats worthy of one. With virtually no offensive weapon around him, he has to force his way through the lane at times just to put up something before the end of the shot clock, and yet most of the time he would either draw a foul or make the shot. How Chicago's fortunes have changed since they drafted Rose in 2008.

    Chris Paul was inconsistent once again in the playoffs, but when his jumpers fall, such as in Game 1 and 4 against the Lakers, he is unstoppable. If Rose is the best point guard in the league right now, then Paul is no doubt second. 

    Whose stock was hurt?

    Let's face it, Kobe Bryant, despite that dunk on Emeka Okafor, is not the same player that he was a decade ago. Often taking questionable shots which weren't questionable in the past because he was able to make them on a regular basis, he, along with Phil Jackson, failed to motivate Pau Gasol, which ultimately led to the Lakers' early exit. Moving forward, he has to decide whether he would be better off remaining as the scorer or the facilitator of the team. 

    Amar'e Stoudemire may have been injured for the last two games of his season, but ultimately, the big question surrounding the Knicks right now is whether Amar'e or Carmelo Anthony is the leader of the team. Miami sorted that issue out midway through the season, and the Knicks will have to do the same before the end of their next season.