With the 20-14 almost over, we now have a crystal clear picture of each and every team and player around the league. Due to the fact that some spots in either conference haven’t yet been decided, we can’t actually predict the playoff matchups. What we can predict, though, is who will be the winners of each NBA award for the season. Let’s take a final glimpse at the 2013-14 NBA awards and try to predict the winner in each category.
MVP: Kevin Durant
Even LeBron James stated that KD should win MVP. As King James said, his buddy Kevin Durant has been more consistent with his performances all season long and he is exactly right. Don’t get tricked here, LeBron is still fairly considered the best basketball player in the world. Nonetheless, KD recorded a better season. He has been the frontrunner in the MVP race almost all year long and is practically a lock for the award. KD is leading the NBA in scoring 31.9 points per game.
Sixth Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford
Although Taj Gibson might be a strong candidate, too, as he has been terrific for the Chicago Bulls almost all season long, I’d still go with Jamal Crawford for the Sixth Man of the Year. The 34-year-old veteran started in 23 out of the 68 games he appeared in this season with the Los Angeles Clippers, but he is still considered the sixth man for Lob City and his numbers show why he is my selection. He is averaging 18.4 points per contest to go along with 3.7 assists while shooting 41.7 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from three-point range. He has been a big factor in the Clips’ successful course this season and emerged as the co-leader of the team, alongside Blake Griffin, during the time Chris Paul was out with an injury.
Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams
The Philadelphia 76ers recorded a terrible season but they can stay optimistic about their future. Not only did they acquire center Nerlens Noel, who surprisingly fell to the sixth overall spot of the 2013 NBA draft, but they also made the biggest steal on draft night when they selected Michael Carter-Williams. No offense to Victor Oladipo, who was selected nine full spots ahead of MCW, but the Sixers rookie guard is a lock for the award. He recorded an impressive season, putting up 16.7 points, 6.2 boards, 6.3 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. He will now be the centerpiece around which Philadelphia will build.
Most Improved Player of the Year: Anthony Davis
There are a bunch of candidates for the Most Improved Player of the Year award. Apart from Anthony Davis, who made a leap to stardom this season, Goran Dragic, Lance Stephenson, and Gerald Green receive credit, too. However, the former top overall pick is almost a lock. He was projected to improve his performance this season, after losing the Rookie of the Year award to Damian Lillard last season. And Davis did exactly that. He did a terrific job playing as the leader of the New Orleans Pelicans. He put up 20.8 points per contest shooting 51.9 percent from the field and he is also one of the best shot blockers in the league. Of course, he has his 7’4” wingspan to thank for that. He finished the season averaging 2.8 blocks per contest.
Coach of the Year: Gregg Popovich
It’s one thing for a coach to lead a team to the NBA Finals once or twice, especially when the team consists of superstars like Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Nevertheless, it’s a totally different thing to keep a veteran team at the highest level for more than a decade. And that’s exactly what Gregg Popovich has achieved. After making it to the NBA Finals last season only fall to the Miami Heat in Game 7, the Spurs returned better than ever in 2013-14. They set a new franchise record for most victories in a row, they won the Western Conference during the regular season, and they are now considered as one of the strongest picks for the title. The mastermind behind this entire successful course is none other than Gregg Popovich.
Executive of the Year: Ryan McDonough
Masai Ujiri from the Toronto Raptors also deserves credit for the work he’s done in Toronto. However, if I had to pick one executive who made the difference this season, it would be Ryan McDonough from the Phoenix Suns. The Suns were expected to tank this season and, to the contrary, recorded a great year which ended with them barely missing the playoffs. However, considering the misfortunes the team had to deal with, including the injury of their second-best player, Eric Bledsoe, McDonough’s work is at least impressive. The future is expected to be even brighter for the Suns during the next few seasons.
Defensive Player of the Year: Joakim Noah
The center has placed his name in the MVP of the regular season discussion as well. However, he can’t match KD or LeBron in that category. The award he will most probably win, though, is the Defensive Player of the Year. Noah is the No.1 reason the Chicago Bulls rank second in the league in points allowed. He is arguably the best one-on-one big man defender in the NBA and he fairly deserves the award.
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