19 April 2015

2014-15 NBA Awards

The 2015 NBA Playoffs are now underway and given that, it is fine time to hand out some NBA hardware for the regular season that was. Here are my 2014-15 NBA Awards.

Midseason Awards

Most Valuable Player - Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
As everybody knows, this is a really tough call between Curry and James Harden, and you can make cases for others like Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and even LeBron James. Harden had himself a brilliant season in carrying a Houston team to 56 wins and the two seed without a great deal of help, and he would certainly be a deserving MVP. But the great Zach Lowe pointed out a crazy stat that the Warriors, even with a deep roster and even with outscoring their opponents by 10 points a game, were outscored when Curry sat. That's simply insane. It is a number like that that swings things by the slightest of margins to Curry.
Runner-up - James Harden, Houston Rockets

Rookie of the Year - Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
Wiggins did not look like a finished product quite yet for the Timberwolves and he has struggled to do more than to create for himself but it is hard to do that and break bad habits when you are playing for a dreadful club as he does. He certainly has shown flashes of greatness and he has been the best of a substandard rookie class.
Runner-up - Nikola Mirotic, Chicago Bulls

Sixth Man of the Year - Lou Williams, Toronto Raptors
You can find more efficient players than Williams and he is not the greatest defender in the world, but he has made a big impact in his first year in T-Dot, particularly for their offense. As Lowe points out, the Raptors have scored seven more points when he is getting burn than when he's on the bench. For a playoff team, that's a significant margin.
Runner-up - Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics

Most Improved Player - Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
Nobody really knows what the criteria is for an award like this so you could pick any number of guys. I still like my midseason pick of Butler even after he was not as good in the second half of the season after suffering an elbow injury. He still took significant steps forward offensively while also becoming more efficient and his numbers improved across the board.
Runner-up - Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Defensive Player of the Year - Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
No disrespect to Green but Kawhi Leonard probably would have won this award had he been healthy all season long, and perhaps he could still end up winning the award. Green has been huge for the best defensive in the league with his ability to guard both bigs down low and guards out on the perimeter. And snagging 1.6 steals a game and blocking 1.3 shots per game certainly helps his case.
Runner-up - Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Coach of the Year - Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
You really can't go wrong with Mike Budenholzer here (he was my midseason pick) but now I give the slight edge to Kerr. Golden State was a very good team under Mark Jackson as they won 51 games a year ago but Kerr took that team and put together one of the finest regular seasons in years. Virtually everybody on the roster has played better than they did a year ago, with Curry morphing into perhaps the MVP, and he has built such a strong chemistry that was able to prevent any issues with putting David Lee, their highest-paid player, on the pine.
Runner-up - Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta Hawks

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