25 January 2014
2013-14 NBA Midseason Awards
Most Valuable Player - Kevin Durant, F, Oklahoma City Thunder
Having an MVP be a guy not named LeBron James when the guy named LeBron James is playing, especially when he is performing at the exceptional level we take for granted from him, said guy has to be doing some pretty special things. Durant fits the bill. Durant's numbers are better than James's, he has a higher PER (30.81 to 28.9), he's putting together another 90/50/40 season and his team is tied for the most wins in the league while playing for much of the year without Russell Westbrook. James may still win the award, but you have to give it right now to Durant.
Runner-Up - LeBron James, F, Miami Heat
Rookie of the Year - Michael Carter-Williams, G, Philadelphia 76ers
This really is not that competitive of an award, although Trey Burke continues to play well and Victor Oladipo has been solid, because Carter-Williams has made a big impact for this Sixers team that while they may be going nowhere in the short-term, but they'll be in good shape going forward with a talent like him on the point. Sure, he may not shoot the ball that well, but he has been very good right out of the gate on both sides of the ball. He is on pace to be just the third player since 1951 to lead his fellow rookies in scoring, rebounding and assists, which is pretty remarkable.
Runner-Up - Trey Burke, G, Utah Jazz
Sixth Man of the Year - Manu Ginobili, G, San Antonio Spurs
This year's field is not as good as last year's was, but Ginobili is in the mix yet again and deservedly so. He's been a key piece of the San Antonio mix coming off the pine and this year is no different, with his numbers being up across the board even as he has had to fill up multiple roles including as playmaker. Even as they get older with each year, the Spurs are consistent contenders at the top of the West and Ginobili is an important reason why.
Runner-Up - Taj Gibson, F, Chicago Bulls
Most Improved Player - Lance Stephenson, G, Indiana Pacers
There are a lot of deserving candidates for this award, and definitions for the award vary from person to person, but in Stephenson I see a guy that has developed from a fine contributor to a major piece of a title contender, and a potential All-Star. Stephenson's all-around game has developed really well, he's excellent defensively, he is very good on the boards for a shooting guard (second on his team), he scores well and can dish it out. The fact that he is leading the league in triple doubles (three) shows how far he has come.
Runner-Up - Anthony Davis, F/C, New Orleans Pelicans
Defensive Player of the Year - Roy Hibbert, C, Indiana Pacers
Speaking of excellent defenders, Stephenson's teammate appears to be running away with this award as he has developed into an elite defensive force in the paint. Hibbert is leading the league in defensive rating, as per Basketball Reference, as well as being second in blocks-per-game and fourth in defensive win shares. On an awesome Indiana defense, Hibbert is the chief protector of the rack.
Runner-Up - Paul George, F, Indiana Pacers
Coach of the Year - Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers
It's pretty crazy that a guy that has done the job that Jeff Hornacek has done in Phoenix, taking a team widely expected to finish in the West basement and have them in the playoffs as of press time, that he is not even the favorite for this award. That has to be Stotts, who has done a brilliant job leading a Portland club that finished 11th in the West and take them to within striking distance of having the best record in the NBA while having the same core intact. Their offense has been brilliant all season long.
Runner-Up - Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns
Cover photo via AP Photo