Thursday, April 16, 2015

2014-2015 NBA Awards Picks

NBA Awards 2014-2015

It's that time of the year again.

The season is in the books and the Playoffs are just around the corner, meaning that its time NBA bloggers all around the world to unveil their ballots. I was 3-for-6 in 2013-2014, 2-for-6 in 2012-2013, and 3-for-6 in 2011-2012. My gut feeling tells me that I have a clean sweep on my hands this time around.

Coach of the Year

Mike Budenholzer

The Atlanta Hawks were phenomenal this year and coach Mike Budenholzer is the big reason why the team was so succesful. With no typical "superstar" on the roster, he squeezed All-Star seasons out of Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver, utilized defensive ace DeMarre Carroll effectively, and plugged in the right bench pieces at the right times. Budenholzer's beautiful, ever-varying schemes and X's and O's have vaulted the Hawks to 60 wins and a top spot in the East. Winner: Mike Budenholzer

Defensive Player of the Year

Kawhi Leonard

I'm going with Kawhi Leonard for Defensive Player of the Year. Sure, cases can be made for Serge Ibaka, Draymond Green, Marc Gasol and Al Horford, but Leonard's spectacular defense for the 55-27 Spurs is simply on another level. His individual defensive rating is whopping, he leads the league in steals, and he can basically impose his defensive will on anybody. Leonard has missed some time with a torn ligament in his hand, but do 15-or-so missed games really make  much of a difference when you have been that dominant? Winner: Kawhi Leonard

Most Improved Player

Jimmy Butler

This is a tough one between Golden State's Draymond Green, Chicago's Jimmy Butler and Miami's Hassan Whiteside. You're basically deciding between Green's versatile and phenomenal defense, Butler emergence as the Bulls' leading point-maker, and Whiteside's eye-popping rebounding and blocking stats in 2015. I think Jimmy Butler deserves to win. His minutes have basically stayed the same (38.9 MPG instead of 38.7 MPG), but his output has ballooned from 13.1 PPG/4.9 RPG/2.6 APG to 20.0 PPG/5.8 RPG/3.3 APG. All the while his perimeter defense has remained superb and he was named an All-Star for the first time in his young career. Winner: Jimmy Butler

Most Valuable Player

Stephen Curry

This is a bit of a tricky one. Do you reward Stephen Curry's record-setting, all-season excellence? Or Russell Westbrook's triple-double tear in Durant's absence? Perhaps James Harden's unstoppable scoring? And of course you can never factor out four-time MVP LeBron James, who turned in another steady 25/6/7 for the Cavaliers. A case can be made for all four of them, but I think this is Curry's year. His Warriors are 67-15, he knocked down 284 3-pointers, his .914 FT% is amazing, and he also handed out 7.7 helpers per game. Winner: Stephen Curry

Rookie of the Year

Andrew Wiggins

Just like last year with then-76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams, ROY has basically been a one-man race. Top pick Andrew Wiggins was terrific for the Minnesota Timberwolves, averaging 16.9 PPG on .436 percent shooting, leading all rookies by a large margin. Bucks rookie Jabari Parker might have given him a run for his money, but a torn ACL ended his season in December.  I guess Nerlens Noel and Nikola Mirotic deserve a nod here, but Wiggins has this in the bag. Winner: Anrew Wiggins

Sixth Man of the Year

Lou Williams

Sorry, Isaiah Thomas and Rodney Stuckey, but guard Lou Williams definitely deserves the nod here. The former 76er and Hawk has been terrific as a sixth man for the fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors, averaging 15.5 PPG in 25.2 MPG. Winner: Lou Williams

I'd love to hear your picks, so be sure to shoot me a comment!

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