MVP: Thunder F Kevin Durant- In his sixth season in the NBA, Durant is having his best season as a pro. His field goal percentage, assists per game, and free throw percentage this season are all career highs as the Thunder currently have the best record in the NBA at 32-9. He is 2nd in the NBA in scoring behind Lakers G Kobe Bryant at 29.5 per game and his 52 points against the Mavericks on Friday was a career high. After losing to the Heat in the finals last year, Durant is playing like he is determined to win a title this year and is not only playing better but has made his team better.
Coach of the Year: Knicks Mike Woodson- This was a very tough decision for me between Woodson and the Clippers Vinny Del Negro but I give Woodson the edge. Since taking over as head coach on March 14th, the Knicks are 42-19 under Woodson. Currently the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, Woodson has the Knicks believing that this can be the first time since 1998, that they make the NBA Finals. In their last four playoff appearances, the Knicks have been beaten in the first round but I believe Woodson will carry this team past the first round.
Defensive Player of the Year: Bulls C Joakim Noah- Having never even made an All-NBA Defense First Team, Noah has been the league’s best defender so far this season. Noah has seen an increased role so far this season becoming the leader of the Bulls due to PG Derrick Rose being sidelined as he recovers from his torn ACL surgery. Rose is expected back by the all-star break. The Bulls allow the 3rd fewest points in the league with 91.7 and Noah is a huge reason to his presence in the paint. The sixth year man out of Florida is 8th in the league in rebounds with 10.6 per game and blocks with 2 per game.
Most Improved Team: Golden State Warriors: The Warriors already have more wins through the halfway point 24, than they had last year. Second year head coach Mark Jackson has inspired his team who look to make their first playoff appearance since 2006. After trading away SG Monte Ellis last year, it looked like the Warriors were rebuilding and they were going to struggle for a couple years. But with a finally healthy PG Stephen Curry and a double double machine PF David Lee, the Warriors are sending a message to the league that they are ready to play with the big boys. And just to add to their improvement, the Warriors just beat the LA Clippers who have the 2nd best record in the league, for the third time this season.
Biggest Disappointment (Player or Team): LA Lakers- No surprise here. The Lakers made huge moves in the offseason as they acquired PG Steve Nash and C Dwight Howard and thought to be Championship contenders before the season started but now just hope to make the playoffs. Just five games into the season, the Lakers parted ways with head coach Mike Brown and have since hired Mike D’Antoni. One of the biggest reasons for the Lakers struggles has been their defense as they rank 26th in the league with points allowed with over 101.6 per game. The Lakers have become the 2nd best team in LA, which has never happened as “ Lob City” aka the LA Clippers have become the best team in LA. Stars Bryant, Howard, and Nash will have to turn this team around quickly or else it could get ugly or at least uglier than it already is.
images were used from bleacherreport.com and gamedayr.com