16 April 2016

2015-16 NBA Awards

The 2016 NBA Playoffs kick off this afternoon and with that in mind, it's time to hand out some hardware. Here are my awards for the 2015-16 NBA season that was.

Preseason / Midseason

MVP - Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors (2011 - Pres)Unlike last year when you had an MVP debate for the ages between Curry and James Harden , this is about as easy of a decision you could make. After all save for a couple of stats (assists and free throw shooting), Curry's numbers went up from last season and I'd think you would be hardpressed to find a better season shooting-wise for such a high volume player in league history. Not to mention that he was the best player on only the winningest regular season team of all time.
Runner-up - Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Rookie of the Year - Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves (2009 - Pres)At the midseason point, you could have made a case for Kristaps Porzingis for this award but in the end, Towns is going to win this award going away and rightfully so. Towns made a big impact in the post right away for Minnesota, averaging 18 points, 10.5 boards, and almost two blocks while shooting 54% from the field and 81% from the charity stripe while playing quality defense down low. He will also make the Wolves the first team since 1974 to have back to back Rookies of the Year with him and Andrew Wiggins.
Runner-up - Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

Sixth Man of the Year - Andre Igoudala, Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors (2011 - Pres)Igoudala isn't your typical Sixth Man which is generally a guy that comes off the pine and contributes with scoring but in a changing NBA, he's been essential for an all-time great team. Igoudala helps to lead the offense of the second unit and he's been very efficient shooting the ball, while his defensive excellence have only added to his importance to this team. His impact is greater than a guy who scores a ton of points for a team that's not any good.
Runner-up - Will Barton, Denver Nuggets

Defensive Player of the Year - Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors (2011 - Pres)For me, it's a really tough call between Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard and you could make strong cases for either of the and after all, they are the two best defenders in the league right now. Leonard is the key lockdown guy for the league's top defense while Green has the ability to guard every position tremendously well. Considering how the Warriors take a bigger hit to their defense when Green is off the floor compared to the Spurs and Leonard, I give Green the slightest of edges.
Runner-up - Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Most Improved Player of the Year - C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers (1971 - 1990)Another midseason pick that I am sticking with here is the Lehigh great. On a Trail Blazers team that has won a lot more games than many of us expected, the rise of McCollum from an oft-injured bench player to a terrific backcourt partner of Damian Lillard has been big. Not only has he seen his minutes averages take off, he has also improved his efficiency across the board. He also has shown an ability to run Terry Stotts's offense when Lillard was on the bench and the team played very well when that happened.
Runner-up - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Coach of the Year - Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors (2011 - Pres)Give this award to Gregg Popovich and you won't hear me complain. He seamlessly incorporated a high-usage player in LaMarcus Aldridge while also putting together the top defense in the league. That's no small feat, and neither is Terry Stotts getting the fifth seed in the west with this Portland team. But let's not sleep on going 73-9. Yes, Kerr was not around for much of the first half of the year but he still was running the show and it speaks to the kind of environment he has fostered to where an interim coach can have the kind of success that Luke Walton did. Not only that, as the pressure heightened to break the Bulls' wins record, Kerr was unflappable and that was reflected in his team.
Runner-up - Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs

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