Its KD by a hair. Yes, you can make a case LeBron has posted better across the board numbers in everything from true shooting percentage, to rebound rate and should win an unprecedented five MVP's in six years, surpassing Bill Russell (as the only other player to win four MVP's in five years). But, after capturing his fifth straight NBA scoring title,this is Kevin Durant's year. He is leading the league in points per game at 31.9 and has scored more clutch points than any player in the NBA with 163. He is posting career highs in everything from 2-point field goal percentage (54.9%) ; 5.5 assists, 30.1 PER( player efficiency rating) wins shares per 48 minutes( .303); offensive rating ORtg of 123, and he has done all this with alpha dog # 2 Russell Westbrook missing over 35 games. In addition, Durant has developed a better understanding of the game and is defending better. He is also excelling as a facilitator and creator, not just a scorer. So unlike the scoring-heavy iso-ways of Carmelo Anthony, Durant impacts a game even when he is not scoring. Kudos to KD for his first of many MVP Awards.
Defensive Player of the Year
The usual DPOY candidates Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert, and Tyson Chandler are all having a significant defensive impacts for their teams this year, but few are doing as well as Joakim Noah As we know emotions are contagious. Noah has imbued an injury-depleted team Chicago Bulls team with a will, tenacity, and resiliency few players in the NBA can mach. From his non-stop motor, excellent hoops IQ, to his leadership on both ends of the court, few players this year in the NBA can match what Noah brings defensively EVERY night. He is posting career highs in defensive win shares( 6.3) and win shares( 10.7), and is doing it without the teams top two players. Derrick Rose has been out all season and Luol Deng was traded . Despite this, the Noah led Bulls are the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Throw in Noah's an unheard of 5.4 dimes a game, and you can make a case the Noah is deserving in the MVP voting. Poppa Yannick is beaming somewhere in Paris.
Most Improved Player
Yes, I initially thought Anthony Davis would be the one to win our Most Improved Player. He is averaging 20 points, 10 boards while leading the NBA in blocked shots at 2.9 a game, and enjoying the fourth highest PER in the NBA at 26.54. You can also make cases for Toronto's DeMar Derozan and Indiana's Lance Stephenson. But, our pick is Goran Dragic running the uber-fast paced Phoenix Suns attack style offense . Not only is his Suns team the surprise squad of the year, but they are battling for the last playoff spot after being picked in the preseason for this years lottery . One of the reasons is the stellar play of Dragic. He is posting career bests across the board: 20.4 points, 21.5 PER; win shares 10.3; OWS 8.5, DWS 1.9; TS% 60.6, all while shooting 50.1%. May I add ,he is doing all this from the field with no interior presence. How to you spell PAID( which is what he will be in 2015 as an unrestricted free agent)
Sixth Man of the Year
For a former lottery pick burdened by unmet expectation, this was break out year for DJ Augustin. It is not easy playing for 4 teams in eight years, but Augstin has found a home with Bulls. He is a guy that has been on fire since the all start break. He has averaged 16.1 points, dished out 4.3 dimes, while shooting 42% from downtown, and playing tenacious perimeter D. Hard work does pay. Go DJ, its your birthday.....
Rookie of the Year
Sure the Sixers suck. Tell me something we don't know. But, MCW is special. Michael Carter Williams is leading all rookies averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 dimes, and 6.1 boards. I know its the Sixers. But this kid can ball. Hmmmmm,......MCW sounds better than MWP( sorry Metta).
Most Disappointing Team
What do you get when you have the leagues most clueless owner, a GM who was previously fired (yeah the same guy who hired Isaiah Thomas), and a coach who treats strategy and adjustments with the same disdain as four day old liver salad? You get the Dolan-led Knicks. As if the Dolan virus was not enough, now you don't make the payoffs( despite the second largest pay roll in the NBA), you don't have a lottery pick( gave that away when you gutted the team for Melo), and your best player-Melo-is talking up the Bulls. The upside, you have Phil Jax and dreams of 2015 free agent bonanza. Sound familiar? I guess the Dolan 14-year plan didn't work out so well. Well JD you will always have your wing-man Zeke to watch the Brooklyn Nets excel in the playoffs
Coach Of The Year
There are many choices here. Dwayne Casey leading the Raptors to a Atlantic title. Thibs in Chi town, doing what he does-just win baby. Jeff Hornaceck and the over achieving Suns team transformed as D'Antoni 2.0. But, after a quick internal debate, the choice is simple. Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the NBA and the coach of the year. Not only do the Spurs have the best record in the NBA, but Pop has elevated pacing and strategy to a new level. very few coaches have such a layered and nuanced understanding of the game.
PS Pop, you can smile sometime, Stern is no longer commissioner.
Leagues Worst Owner
Dolan has become synonymous with utter managerial incompetence and perpetual cluelessness . Not to worry JD, Jim Buss from the Lakers is on his way to stealing your shine.