Triangle Offense


Who are in this year’s NBA honor roll? by thesportsminded

With less than three weeks before the real season begins, it’s time to give credit to the players and coaches who made a big mark this season in putting their teams where they stand today. The battle royal starts April 18 but the teams are still jockeying for playoff positions as the regular season winds up. Cleveland will not have the best record right now if not for that freak of nature. Oklahoma City’s stunning leap wouldn’t be possible without proper handling and especially without that versatile player they have out of Texas. Milwaukee won’t be where they are right now if not for a former number one pick living up to his hype. It’s time to put credit where credit is due.

Here are my ten cents worth regarding this season’s NBA awardees:

Coach of the Year: Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Runner up: Scott Skiles (Milwaukee Bucks)

The significant and vast improvement of the Thunder is very evident this season as they have finally found a way to maximize their young guns and turn it into success. Guiding and teaching a young team isn’t easy but Scott Brooks is doing a fine job in transforming his young talented players into young talented winners. Oklahoma is having a blast this season and their coach should be credited for it. Prior to this season, I know that the Thunder doesn’t lack talents with guys like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green coming in but I didn’t expect them to be this good this early. It’s about jelling and converting those talents into wins and that’s what Brooks did this year. He proved that a mix of youthful talents can work and march to the post season. Oklahoma is 46-28 so far and shows no signs of slowing down heading into the playoffs.

Most Improved Player of the Year: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Runner up: Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks)

Can anyone name a player who deserves this award more than KD? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I watched this guy tear his opponents apart in leading his Texas Long Horns back in 2007. I knew that he will be way, I mean way way, better than Greg Oden that’s why I’m surprised during that ’07 draft that the Blazers picked a injury prone work in progress over a proven winner. I knew back then that Durant will be a huge force to reckon with but I didn’t expect it to be this fast. Well, no further explanations needed for this one. 29.6 ppg (2nd best), 7.6 rpg, 47.6% fg, 46-28 record for OKC. That explains it.

Sixth Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford (Atlanta Hawks)

Runner Up: Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)

After his move to Atlanta, Jamal Crawford knows that he is now playing for a legit playoff contender and he also knows that something’s got to give in his game for the team to move forward. Crawford, a scoring machine in his previous teams, embraced and accepted his role as the team’s premier sixth man and it is doing wonders for the Hawks. They got Crawford to deepen their team and expand their chances in the playoffs against perennial contenders like the Celtics, the Cavs, and the Magic. So far so good. Crawford has given the Hawks a big spark of the bench on a daily basis plus he also provides some clutch scoring when needed during the stretch. No doubt he will be the key if the Hawks are to overcome the top contenders come playoff time.

Defensive Player of the Year: LeBron James

Runner up: Dwight Howard

I am not exactly LeBron James’ number one fan but I respect his game and I respect what he can do. He is a monster defensively and he upped that this year to surpass Dwight Howard.

Rookie of the Year: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

Runner up: Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings)

If you read my status message in facebook five months ago, I stated that Stephen Curry will be this season’s rookie of the year. I stand by that. Some people will raise their eyebrows on this one and say that Tyreke Evans deserves it more but I beg to disagree. This year’s rookies are led by great class of guards such as Curry, Evans, Brandon Jennings, Johny Flynn, Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, Eric Maynor, James Harden. In those mentioned, Curry and Evans are obviously the top guns. Fanatics are talking all season long about how great  Evans is and I agree with that. It’s just that those fanatics sometimes forget to watch Curry showcase his skills and help his team. Curry is a beauty to watch as he can pass, he can score, he can play the point efficiently, he has composure, he has that textbook  release and he has been consistent as well. This kid is for real and will be one of the top point guards in the league for years to come. It is close but I’ll put my money on this Davidson standout. 16.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.6, apg, 1.8 spg

All NBA First Team:

Center: Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic)

Forward: Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)

Forward: LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Guard: Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)

Guard: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)

All NBA Second Team:

Center: Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks)

Forward: Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns)

Forward: Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets)

Guard: Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)

Guard: Deron Williams (Utah Jazz)

All NBA Third Team

Center: Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers)

Forward: Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors)

Forward: Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks)

Guard: Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)

Guard: Steve Nash (Phoenix Suns)

No Brandon Roy for me this year as well as KG and TD. Nash’s Suns are far more consistent than Roy’s Blazers.

Most Valuable Player: LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Runner up: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)

As we know, being the most valuable player is like being a valedictorian. This will be a comfortable win for LeBron as he showed consistency and versatility throughout the season for the succeeding years. With the Cavs being the top team right now, I think 80% of the credit should go to this freak of nature. He leads the league in scoring and is producing his usual numbers. Everyone knows he can do everything on the hardwood. He showed it this regular season in leading his team but the question is: Can he lead his team to play in June this time around? That we don’t know yet but we know one thing. He will receive his plum for the second consecutive season.

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Unofficial Awards:

Most disappointing team: Los Angeles Lakers

Yes yes, I know they are number one in the West the entire season and would most probably stay there but everyone knows they are playing subpar. Inconsistent. No fire. No urgency. No passion. No hunger. A Kobe and Phil led team shouldn’t be like this. It is annoying that when you that a defending champion, who arguably have the strongest line up on papers, play subpar and just be contented. It’s simple—— they need to turn on the switch now if they wish to play in June for the third straight year.

Most disappointing player: Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)

Iggy isn’t exactly having his best season. The Sixers are projected to at least contend for a playoff spot but they didn’t show any signs of it througout the season. Iguodala’s game dropped and he obviously can’t jell with Elton Brand and can’t work around Eddie Jordan’s princeton offense.

Forget about player of the year: Sasha Vujacic (Los Angeles Lakers)

The only thing he did all season long is capture Maria Sharapova’s heart and argue with his coaching stuff. His jumpshot will not be back. Don’t expect ”the machine” to charge his batteries anytime soon.

Cluch player of the year: Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)

Six game-winner this season. Who else is more clutch?

Performance of the year: Brandon Jennings’ 55 point explosion

He proved that he is a reliable point that can score. But after that magical night, people expected him to be a score-first point guard which he is not. That is an amazing performance that won’t earn him rookie of the year. I believe Curry and Evans are a bit better overall.

Inspiring player of the year: Sundiata Gaines (Utah Jazz)

Nothing more inspiring than hitting a game-winner a few days after joining an NBA squad.

Surprise team of the year: Milwaukee Bucks

No, not Oklahoma. They have the tools it’s just about execution. The Bucks doesn’t exactly have the best roster at the start of the season. Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings just showed their true worths and led this team not only to respectability but to the playoffs with quite a good seed. Plus, John Salmons’ signing would just help this resurrected team further.