Jason’s Picks: NBA Midseason Awards

By Jason Bryden
Elm Senior Writer

This Sunday, the NBA All-Star Game is in Houston at 8 p.m. on TNT (Channel 35 on campus). Here are my award winners for the first half of the season.

MVP: LeBron James – Miami

Right now LeBron James, the reigning MVP, is in the zone. On Feb. 12 against the Portland Trail Blazers, James became the first player in NBA history to score 30 or more points and shoot 60 percent or better from the floor in six straight games. The forward has the Heat at the top of the Eastern Conference Standings (35-14) and is averaging 27.1 points per game (4th), 6.9 assists per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. He has a great chance to win his fourth MVP in five years. James edges forwards Carmelo Anthony (New York) and Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City).

Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard – Portland

The sixth pick in this past NBA Draft, Lillard leads all rookies in points per game at 18.4 points per game and assists per game at 6.6 per contest. The guard is averaged 4.4 points per game more than the next highest rookie, (Dion Waiters – Cleveland) and 2.1 assists per game more than the next highest rookie (Alexey Shved – Minnesota). The guard is also averaging 6.6 assists per game, which is tops amongst all rookies and leads the Trail Blazers. Lillard takes my mid-year prize over forward Anthony Davis (New Orleans) and guard Dion Waiters.

Coach of the Year: Mike Woodson – New York

People thought the Knicks had the potential to be a top team in the East, but under the guidance of Mike Woodson, the Knicks currently sit second in the Eastern Conference at 32-17 and have a pair of dominating 20 point victories over the Miami Heat this season, including one without forward Carmelo Anthony, who leads the league in scoring at 29.0 points per game. Woodson is 50-23 as coach of the Knicks since taking over in March of last season. He has New York in position to win its first Atlantic Division title since 1993-94. Woodson gets it over Mark Jackson (Golden State).

Biggest Surprise: Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors have been a laughingstock of the NBA for the past 18 years as they have made the playoffs just once since the 1994-95 season. The lone highlight during the past 18 seasons is their first round win over the top seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. This could be the year the Warriors return to the postseason as they currently sit sixth in the Western Conference at 30-22, despite losing their last five. Golden State is getting 21 points per game and 6.6 assists per contest from guard Stephen Curry. Golden State is the clear choice for this award.

Biggest Disappointment: Los Angeles Lakers

Many thought with the trade acquisition of center Dwight Howard the Lakers had the final piece for their 17th NBA Championship in the spring, but it has been a disaster for the Lakers this season. Sitting at 25-28, the Lakers are in 10th place in the West, three games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth and final spot. Despite 27 points per game from guard Kobe Bryant (fourth in the NBA) and an NBA leading 11.9 rebounds per game from Howard, it has not been enough. Drama concerning internal strife between the team, Bryant and Howard has been at the center of it this season. Also, the Lakers fired coach Mike Brown into the season and replaced him with Mike D’Antoni when many felt they should have brought back Phil Jackson, who led the Lakers to their last five titles. The Lakers get this award and it is not even close. The Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers have been disappointments, but were not expected to be title contenders like the Los Angeles Lakers.

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