2013/14 NBA Awards

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With the 2013/14 NBA regular season all but over, now is the time to hand out the individual awards for the year. Who will get our vote for MVP? How about Defensive player of the year? Which superstars at the forward position will get 1st, 2nd or 3rd All-NBA team honours?

2013/14 MVP: Kevin Durant

LeBron has owned this award the last 5 years (winning the MVP 4 times, and was runner up in 2011 to Derrick Rose), but it is time he and his fans accepted that the Kevin Durant era has begun. Durant has elevated his game to such heights that I actually had to put a halt to The Greatest 50 Players of the 3 Point era feature simply because his play was making the list look incredibly dated (I had compiled the list in the off-season, and ranked Durant at number 37. Right now, he’s top 30. If he leads Oklahoma to a title, we’re talking potentially top 20). This is what Durant has done this season:

31.9 PPG 51% FG 40% 3PT 5.5 APG 7.5 RPG

Those numbers alone, without context, deserve serious MVP consideration. Then when we take into account that Westbrook has missed close to half of the season, and despite this, Durant has still lead them to being on the verge of a 60 win season (58 wins at the time of writing this with 2 games to go), then it’s safe to say it’s a done deal. LeBron has had a good season, but it’s all hype. Let’s compare:

27.1 PPG 56% FG 38% 6.4 APG 6.9 RPG

These are good numbers, but they’re missing context. Yes, LeBron has led Miami without Wade, but let’s have a closer look at the rosters for both teams without Westbrook or Wade:

Oklahoma City Miami
Serge Ibaka Chris Bosh
Reggie Jackson Ray Allen
Jeremy Lamb Mario Chalmers
Thabo Sefolosha Shane Battier
Derek Fisher Norris Cole
Nick Collison Chris Anderson
Kendrick Perkins Michael Beasley
Hasheem Thabeet Rashard Lewis
Steven Adams Udonis Haslem
Caron Butler Greg Oden

There is simply no comparison between the two. Without Wade or LeBron, Miami still makes the playoffs in the pathetic East. Without Westbrook or Durant, Oklahoma struggles to win 15 games in the brutal West. For Durant to have better numbers and have led The Thunder to a better record despite a much weaker supporting cast completely seals the deal. If LeBron wins this award, it will rank up there with Malone winning it over Jordan in 97 and Nash over Kobe in 2006 as the worst decisions ever made by the league.

Defensive Player of the Year: Roy Hibbert

This one was close, and I must have changed my mind at least 20 times between Hibbert and Noah. There is no question that Noah is a better overall player, but Hibbert’s ability to protect the rim and alter shots is the best in the league and is what separates him from the rest. Indiana is known for its (at times) suffocating defence, and that is a result of Hibbert. With him protecting the lane, it allows George, Stephenson and Hill to pressure their man. Now, Noah does this too in Chicago, but he just doesn’t do it as good as Hibbert. But if Noah gets the award, it’s completely justified.

Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams

I can look beyond the 26 game losing streak because I don’t really take into account team success into R.O.Y. because the way the lottery is designed. The bad teams get the top talent, and because of this, it’s almost impossible for a rookie to come in and completely turn a franchise around. Carter Williams has led all rookies in scoring (16.7 PPG), rebounds (6.7 RPG), assists (6.3 APG), and steals (1.9 SPG). This isn’t even close.

Most Improved Player of the Year: Goran Dragic

With heavy competition from Paul George and Anthony Davis, the Most Improved award was probably the most competitive award this season. I’ve gone with Dragic though, as he’s led The Suns to a surprise (and I mean legitimate surprise. Nobody picked them to be this good) contender for the final playoff spot in the West. They could finish with 49 victories this season, and whilst that might not be enough to make the playoffs in the West, had they have been in the East, they would have been 3rd, and we’d be talking about Dragic as a potential MVP candidate. He has upped his scoring production 6 PPG and his shooting % has gone from 44% to 50% as he has become the leader of The Phoenix Suns.

Coach of the Year: Gregg Popovich

The NBA typically likes to give this award to teams that have a significant improvement over the previous season. This is not “most improved coach”, it’s “coach of the year”. And based on how nobody would have blinked an eyelid if San Antonio fell off the radar completely due to their heartbreaking loss in the finals or their old age, for them to have actually improved, is completely mind-blowing. I give all the credit to Popovich here. His ability to fit completely disregarded players into his system and make them effective is only matched by his ability to develop younger players. If you love basketball, I mean really love it, you love watching this team. It’s a pleasure.

All-NBA 1st Team

Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Joakim Noah, James Harden, Chris Paul

All NBA 2ND Team

LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul George, Tim Duncan, Steph Curry, John Wall

All NBA 3RD Team

Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, Damian Lillard, Goran Dragic