Today it was leaked that Kyrie Irving will win the rookie of the year award this season in the NBA, and with that concludes NBA award season. There were no shockers this year, but there were a few close races. Below I will give my take on the awards, whether I agree or disagree with the choices, and how they can possibly relate to the Nets. I will also talk about the winner of each award on the Nets’ roster.
Most Valuable Player: Lebron James, Miami Heat (followed by Kevin Durant and Chris Paul)
27.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 6.2 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.8 bpg
Lebron had one of the best seasons ever statistically, and because of that it is no surprise that he took home his third MVP trophy in 4 seasons. However, in terms of valuability, I’m not sure I agree with this choice. I never really understood why the award was called “most valuable player” because the best player may not be the most valuable to his team, and the NBA wants to give the best player the award. Lebron was the best player this year, but there were other players that were more valuable to their teams than Lebron was. If I were to vote for this award, my vote would have to be for Chris Paul of the Clippers. Just think about how much he changed the culture of that team this season. Sure, they added a few other guys such as Caron Butler and Kenyon Martin, but I don’t know if the Clippers would have even made the playoffs without Paul. If Miami only had Wade and Bosh I think they would have still been at least a top-4 seed in the east. Kevin Durant had a great year for Oklahoma City and led the NBA in scoring, but I don’t even know if he is the most valuable player on his team. Russell Westbrook always seems to take the big shots for the Thunder and he is an explosive scorer too.
Nets MVP: Deron Williams
21.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 8.7 apg, 1.2 spg
Where would the Nets be this season if they didn’t have Deron Williams? They definitely wouldn’t have been able to win 22 games, I can tell you that much. Even though Deron was often frustrated this season, one can’t argue with his numbers and production. For much of the season, the team had very little offense and often got into shooting slumps, and Deron was sometimes able to cure that. Also, I want to concentrate on his nearly 9 assists per game. How does anybody do that with this roster? He didn’t have a center, his power forward (Kris Humphries) is not an offensive player, and his guards were shooting poorly for most of the season. If Deron was placed onto any playoff team’s roster, he would easily, easily, average 10 assists per game. If the Nets can improve their roster over the summer and Deron resigns, expect at least 10 assists every night from D-Will.
Coach of the Year: Greg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs (followed by Tom Thibodeau and Frank Vogel)
Popvich did a great job in San Antonio this year, leading the Spurs to the 1-seed in the western conference a year after getting shocked in the first round by Memphis. Many people wrote off the Spurs as too old this season, but Popovich has continued to get production out of Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, and also has a great, young supporting cast. The Spurs definitely have a chance to win the championship this year, and a lot of the credit has to go to Coach Pop. One guy who I think should have gotten more votes is George Karl of the Nuggets. He finished in 8th place in the voting, but I think he should have been in the top 3. At the beginning of the season, half of his roster was playing in China due to the lockout and he had also lost his star player in Carmelo Anthony the season before. Despite all this, he took a roster of pretty much a lot of 6th men and turned it into the 6th seed in the western conference. The Nuggets even gave the L.A. Lakers all they could handle in the first round, and that is a team with 3 stars in Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum. I feel bad for Karl, who has never won a championship in all his years of coaching.
Nets Coach of the Year: P.J. Carlesimo
I think that everyone can agree that Avery Johnson didn’t do a great job of coaching this season. The Nets did not meet expectations, and the fault has to go to the coach, even though he did encounter a lot of unexpected injuries. The reason that Carlesimo gets the award is for all of his interviews with YES reporter Jessica Taff. Whether it is at halftime, during practice, or after the game, P.J. always gives a good interview. I also like how he sometimes calls Taff “Jess”.
Defensive Player of the Year: Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks (followed by Serge Ibaka and Dwight Howard)
11.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 0.9 spg, 1.4 bpg
Even though Tyson Chandler is a Knick, I can’t really argue with the choice for DPOY. Even though Chandler’s stats may not show it, he changed the culture of the Knicks from “let’s score as much as possible without playing any defense” to “let’s have Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith score as much as possible while the rest of us attempt to play defense”. Neither strategy worked too well for them in the playoffs, as they lost in 5 games to Miami. As I look down the list of other players receiving votes, nobody pops out at me as “wow. They definitely should have been higher”. Serge Ibaka of the Thunder finished second, and he definitely shouldn’t have been any higher. He blocks a ton of shots, but he is still young and inexperienced. Also, he is the 4th best player on his team, and that type of player does not deserve a major NBA award. Dwight Howard, who wins this award regularly, did not win it this year because of injuries and trade rumors. Maybe he will win it next year while wearing a black and white uniform. We shall see.
Nets Defensive Player of the Year: Gerald Wallace
15.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.7 bpg
Even though Wallace only played in 16 games for the Nets this year, he pretty much wins this award by default because there were really no other candidates. I guess Kris Humphries would have finished in second. Once Crash arrived in New Jersey, he changed the way the Nets played defense completely. I noticed a big difference in the amount of times the Nets scrambled on defense (which they usually do a lot) when Wallace was in the game. He is also a guy that can guard the opposing team’s best offensive player no matter what position. Expect Wallace to make a big difference on defense if he decides to resign with Brooklyn.
Most Improved Player: Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic (followed by Ersan Ilyasova and Nikola Pekovic)
2011: 10.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.1 3’s pg
2012: 16.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.7 3’s pg
If I had a problem with one award winner this year, this was it. I think the former Net, Anderson, did improve a good amount this year, but I think other players improved more. The biggest difference this year was that the Magic trusted Anderson a lot more, gave him the starting job, and let him shoot as much as he wanted. He shot the exact same percentage, 39.3%, each of the last two seasons. The difference was that this year he played 32 minutes per game while last year he only played 22. If I were to vote for this award, my choice would have been Andrew Bynum of the Lakers. He finished in 4th in the voting, but I think he improved the most. Despite some attitude and effort problems this year, Bynum is a very good basketball player. He averaged over 7 more points per game this season and over 2 more rebounds per game that he did last year. He also only missed 6 games in the lockout-shortened season, while he missed 28 last year.
Nets Most Improved Player: Gerald Green
12.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg
Again, the Nets did not have many candidates for this award, and my only real choices were Green and The Hump. But it is obvious that Green should win this award. He hadn’t played in the NBA since 2009 and was recently released by his last place European team. He started his comeback in the D-League, where he won MVP of the D-League all-star game, and then became one of the best scorers for the Nets. Green is a great comeback story, and he should feel honored to take home this award.
Sixth Man of the Year: James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder (followed by Lou Williams and Jason Terry)
16.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.0 spg
This was not a close race at all, and Harden received 115 of the 119 first place votes. However, I think this award is kind of dumb. Why should we award the supposed 6th best player on the team? If we want to give out this award, why don’t we also give out an award for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, etc. best players? Anyway, Harden clearly was the best sixth man this year and definitely deserves this award. He was a big part of why the Thunder were the second best team in the west and his stats are excellent for somebody coming off the bench. Lou Williams finished second in the voting, and as Nets fans, we know why. He is a long-time Nets Killer and often beats the Nets down the stretch in close games. Manu Ginobili was only 5th in the voting for this award this year. With the excellent play of the Spurs, I would have expected him to finish a bit higher.
Nets Sixth Man of the Year: Gerald Green
12.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg
I think many of these awards are kind of dumb, and you can tell why when Gerald Green, a guy who was in the D-League for most of the season, wins two of them. However, a somewhat unrealistic hope for Nets fans would be that, as soon as next year, Green could win Sixth Man of the entire NBA. If Green resigns with the Nets (which is pretty likely), and the Nets are able to sign some good free agents/get Dwight Howard (which is pretty unlikely), Green could be a great offensive spark off the bench that could help the Nets win some games. Ideally, Green will not be a starter on next year’s team. He will bring energy and excitement off the bench to get Brooklyn fans on their feet.
Rookie of the Year: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers (followed by (probably) Ricky Rubio and Isaiah Thomas)
18.5 ppg, 5.4 apg, 3.7 rpg, 1.1 spg
This is the last remaining award that hasn’t officially been announced, but it was leaked earlier today that Irving will win it. Irving had a very nice season as a replacement for Lebron James in Cleveland until some injuries slowed him down at the end of the season. Irving is a bright, young star who has a chance to be the next great point guard in the NBA. Ricky Rubio should finish second in this race, but a season-ending injury midway through the season could have stopped him from winning this award. If he and Kevin Love both stay in Minnesota for the long term, that can become a good team. One surprise candidate in this race is Isaiah Thomas of the Kings. Thomas was selected with the last pick in the draft last season, and surprised everybody by becoming a starter in Sacramento and playing very well. The Nets should be aware of this, because they will have a very late second round pick this year. Let’s hope that pick turns into someone like Thomas.
Nets Rookie of the Year: Marshon Brooks
12.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.3 apg, 0.9 spg
This was between Marshon and Jordan Williams, and Marshon clearly had the better season. After being selected with the 25th pick in the 2011 draft, Marshon surprised everybody in the beginning of the season, and was arguably the rookie of the year in the first couple of months. Some were even saying he could be the next Kobe Bryant. Then, things went downhill as injuries took over for Marshon, and he never really played the same the rest of the season. Still, Marshon exceeded expectations, and he will hopefully be a valuable member of this team for years to come. Hopefully next year, Marshon will improve on his shooting and defense, and he will be an above-average starting shooting guard.
Do you agree with my picks? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.