NBA Season Awards Preview

NBA Season Awards Preview

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Zak Borrelli, Writer

With the 2013-2014 season winding down it’s time to look at the candidates for this years awards.

(The following rankings are based on my opinion)

First off lets take a look at the race for MVP.

1. Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder, 58-22, second in West)

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Image via nba.com

 

32.0 PPG, 5.5 AST, 7.4 RPG,

Kevin Durant has been nothing short of spectacular this year. Not only is he leading the league in scoring, but he is doing it in an incredibly efficient way, with a Field Goal Percentage of 50% and shooting 39.4% from deep. Durant has also proved he is a capable of leading his team this year, the Thunder went 20-7 when All-Star PG Russell Westbrook went down with a knee injury earlier this year. KD also passed Michael Jordan’s 40-game streak of games with 25 or more points this season, reminding the league he’s going nowhere but up.

 

2. LeBron James (Miami Heat, 54-26, second in East)

bronbron
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27.1 PPG 6.4 APG 6.9 RPG

The reigning MVP LeBron James has had a stellar year, however it seems the load he’s had to carry on his gigantic shoulders has put a strain on the king. LeBron is having yet another outstanding season, shooting  56.7% from the field and 37.9% from three with outstanding defense. His rare combination of size, strength, quickness, speed, and athleticism make LeBron a pleasure to watch, however his team has struggled with injuries this year. If it wasn’t for the late season surge of Kevin Durant, and the injury bug biting Dwayne Wade, Lebron would have made the race for MVP a little bit more interesting.

3. Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers, 56-24, third in West)

24.1 PPG 9.5 RPG 3.8 APG

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Image via nba.com

Although it was the acquisition of All-Star PG Chris Paul that helped the Clippers become a powerhouse in the Western Conference, the al around growth of Blake Griffin has turned them into serious title contenders. Griffin has transcended his game from a ferocious dunker, to a super athletic, do-it-all power forward. Griffin has always been able to score, rebound, and dunk, but this year (especially during the absence of All Star PG Chris Paul) he’s shown that he has skills as a facilitator and the offense can be run through him. Blake has nowhere to go but up, and I see him competing for MVP for a long time.

 

Next lets take a look at the candidates for Defensive Player of the Year

1. Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls, 48-33, fourth in East)

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Image via nba.com

12.6 PPG 11.2 RPG  5.4 APG 1.5 BPG 1.3 SPG 

Joakim Noah is the central cog in the defensive machine that is the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have the second best (in terms of opponents FG%) defense in the league, and a large component of that is Noah. He embodies his coach, Tom Thibodeau, on the court by constantly barking out defensive rotations and attacking pick and rolls. Noah has remarkable foot speed that allows him to guard player on the perimeter and the strength to handle himself on the block. It’s Noah’s impressive play that makes the Bulls a team nobody wants to face in the playoffs.

2. Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers, 55-26, first in East)

10.8 PPG 6.6 RPG 1.1 APG 2.3 BPG

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Image via nba.com

If it wasn’t for the late season collapse of the Indiana Pacers, Roy Hibbert would have a much better shot at DPOY. The Pacers have the best (in terms of FG%) defense in the league, and Hibbert is their rim protector. Standing 7’2 and weighing about 275 lbs Hibbert is an enforcer. Not only does he block a lot of shots, but he changes them too, and it completely alters how players attack the rim. Never the most athletic player, Hibbert uses the rule of verticality to great advantage, as many player struggle to get shots over his outstretched arms. Overall, Hibbert is an integral piece to the best defense in the league.

 

3. LeBron James (Miami Heat, 54-26, second in East)

27.1 PPG 6.4 APG 6.9 RPG 1.6 SPG

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Image via nba.com

The DPOY award has been dominated by big men in recent years, and due to this LeBron James has been overlooked. LeBron is capable of defending every position due to his physical attributes and basketball IQ. You’ll often see him trailing a fast break while timing a chase down block, or shooting into the passing lanes like a bullet in order to coast to an easy two. Miami plays their best basketball when their defense is working to perfection, and LeBron is a major reason why.