Skip to content

Trimester Awards: A Naughty and Nice List

Dec 21, 2012, 6:19 PM EDT

Kevin Durant

Can you believe it? The NBA season is somehow a third of the way finished, which means it’s probably time to take stock of what we’ve seen so far this year. We’ll give out some awards — ’tis the season and all that — but we’ll also dish out some coal. After all, what are the holidays without some grinch-style bitterness and crushing disappointment?  Here are your NBA Trimester Awards:

Most Improved Player: Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets

After six long seasons with one of the most dysfunctional teams in all of sports, Blatche was written off as a guy who would never get it; a knucklehead, a waste of talent. The Nets were universally laughed at for picking up Blatche for the veteran’s minimum earlier this year, and now look where we are. Blatche has a PER of 23.2 (8th best in the entire league) and is posting career highs in *deep breath* field goal percentage, true shooting percentage, all rebounding percentages, points per36 minutes, and PER. If you believe the most improved player should be someone who has been around for a bit (i.e. not a second year a guy), then Blatche is your choice over other worthy candidates like O.J. Mayo, Eric Bledsoe and Kemba Walker.

Least Improved Player: Gerald Green, Indiana Pacers

This guy is all over the place. After bouncing around the league for years, Green was a legitimate candidate for Most Improved Player last season when he tore it up in his last 31 games. But for as good as he was at the end of last year, he’s been just as bad in 26 games this year with Indiana. In Danny Granger‘s absence, Green has shot a dreadful 37 percent from the field and is notching a career-low in points per36 minutes. Of players who average more than 20 minutes a game, Gerald Green is second only to Austin Rivers for lowest PER. That’s pretty brutal, especially given Green’s immense athletic gifts.

Defensive Player of the Trimester: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

He doesn’t have the reputation, but Duncan is one of the greatest defenders ever. You’d expect a serious decline at 36-years-old, but Duncan’s numbers speak for themselves. He’s 4th in the league in defensive rebounding percentage (which should absolutely factor in to this discussion), first in individual defensive rating, second in defensive win shares and 10th in block percentage. He’s anchoring a Spurs defense that’s posted the 7th best defensive efficiency rating in the league, which is pretty impressive considering the Spurs don’t have Kawhi Leonard on the wing yet. Smart back line defenders are so critical to defenses these days, and Duncan is showing once again why he’s absolutely one of the best.

Matador of the Trimester: Michael Beasley, Phoenix Suns

An honorable mention goes to Andrea Bargnani, but Michael Beasley’s on/off numbers clinch this award. The Suns are a staggering 23.4 net points better per 100 possessions when Michael Beasley is off the court — one of the worst marks in the league. His opponent’s effective field goal percentage is 7 percentage points higher than his own. He has .02 defensive win shares, well below the legal limit. The Suns as a team are bad defensively (25th in defensive rating), but Beasley serves as a direct contrast to Jared Dudley and P.J. Tucker — guys who actually, you know, try to stay in front of people on the wing. Phoenix is at a monstrous disadvantage whenever he takes the floor.

Coach of the Trimester: Mike Woodson, New York Knicks

Woodson has devised an offense that his guys love to play in. His one-in, four out scheme built around Tyson Chandler pick-and-rolls and Carmelo Anthony isolations has netted the Knicks the 2nd best offensive rating in the league behind Oklahoma City. They’ve been historically good in multiple areas, but more specifically, the Knicks are currently shooting above 40 percent from behind the arc, which is something only eight other teams in NBA history have done. Although some of this may be unsustainable, Woodson will get back Amar’e Stoudemire (say what you will, but he’s at least as good as Kurt Thomas, right?) and perhaps more importantly, defensive ace Iman Shumpert. Rick Adelman and Mark Jackson deserve mention as well, but Woodson’s Knicks are the story of the year so far.

The “Bad News Bears” Coach of the Trimester: Keith Smart, Sacramento Kings

The Kings have gone 8-17 to start the year, but more importantly, they’re already imploding. Some of Smart’s more notable follies include his refusal to play Isaiah Thomas, his failed implementation of a Triangle offense, and the construction of the league’s 28th worst defense. Is the roster bad? Yes, it’s awful. Are the owners bad? Yes, they’re awful, too. But let’s be honest — Smart hasn’t done anything to get DeMarcus Cousins to stop chucking up 18-footers and he hasn’t improved a young roster or even held them very accountable. It’s ugly in Sacramento right now.

MVP: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Somehow, he just keeps getting better. Durant could very well become the first player in league history to lead the NBA in scoring with percentages of 50-40-90 — a testament to how frighteningly efficient he is as a high usage perimeter player. Although LeBron James possesses the better PER by a fingernail, Durant leads LeBron in win shares and offensive rating so far this season. You can’t go wrong with either guy, but Durant gets the slight nod for leading his team to the better record thus far. If this holds, this could be the most hotly contested MVP race yet.

LVP: Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder

The scariest thing about the Oklahoma City Thunder? They could very easily be better if they replaced Kendrick Perkins with even an average player, or better yet, with Nick Collison. Oklahoma City is 5.4 net points per 100 possessions worse with Perkins on the floor, and a net 10.2 points better per 100 possessions when Collison is on the floor. But let’s focus solely on Perkins, who has a -8.7 PER differential, which contributes heavily to the Thunder ranking 29th in PER differential at the center position. Perkins is a 7 point, 7 rebound per 36 minute player who makes 7 million dollars a year for a small market team that can’t afford to pay that. It’s a nice thought that Perkins is the “Dwight Stopper”, but that’s a pretty price to pay for someone who marginally contains a single player. Check out the numbers:

Here are Howard’s averages in 25 head-to-head meetings with Perkins: 16.5 points and 12.8 rebounds on 52 percent shooting.

And here are Howard’s career averages: 18.4 points and 13 rebounds on 57 percent shooting.

There’s a drop-off, but not enough to justify Perkins playing 25 minutes a night, every single night. Although Oklahoma City is clearly having great team success, it’s hard to attribute much of that to Perkins. There are players with worse Player Efficiency Ratings than 9.2, and there are players who are much worse help defenders, but Perkins gets the LVP because he ultimately hurts a title contending team at a critical spot.

Latest Posts
  1. Team USA’s system isn’t changing: They plan to use quickness, athleticism to pressure teams

    Jul 28, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT

    The U.S. head coach Krzyzewski watches his team against Spain during their men's gold medal  basketball match at the North Greenwich Arena in London during the London 2012 Olympic Games Reuters

    The USA has superior athletes and should use that to their advantage.

  2. Derrick Rose making vintage Derrick Rose plays at USA Basketball camp (VIDEOS)

    Jul 28, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls

    Derrick Rose seems to be moving and playing like the Derrick Rose of old.

  3. Report: Timberwolves have talked to Sixers about Thaddeus Young as Kevin Love replacement

    Jul 28, 2014, 3:44 PM EDT

    Thaddeus Young AP

    Thaddeus Young is not Kevin Love but he’d keep the Timberwolves from going into full rebuild mode.

  4. Dwyane Wade says LeBron replaces Kobe as his new favorite opponent

    Jul 28, 2014, 3:03 PM EDT

    LeBron Wade Getty Images

    Wade may be looking forward to going up against LeBron, but I don’t think he’s going to like how the game ends.

  5. Metta World Peace shoved two players during Venice League game in L.A. (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT

    Metta World Peace Metta World Peace

    Ron Artest made a brief appearance on a rec league court in Los Angeles.

  6. LeBron’s jersey number decision sends Indianapolis adidas manufacturing plant into immediate action

    Jul 28, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT

    LeBron James LeBron James

    When the game’s best player makes a uniform change, manufacturers spring into immediate action.

  7. Michael Jordan approves of LeBron James wearing No. 23 once again

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v Charlotte Bobcats - Game Four Getty Images

    LeBron said when switching to 6 four years ago that no one should wear 23 out of respect to MJ.

  8. DeMar DeRozan jumps over Kyle Lowry for exhibition dunk (Instagram)

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:07 PM EDT

    DeMar DeRozan; Kyle Lowry AP

    Insert your own “he only jumped over Lowry” jokes, we’re not going to do that.

  9. All eyes on Derrick Rose as USA Basketball mini-camp begins

    Jul 28, 2014, 11:23 AM EDT

    Derrick Rose Derrick Rose

    Rose is expected to make the roster, but will need to shake the rust off quickly to show he’s more deserving than the other elite guards in camp.

  10. Klay Thompson doesn’t anticipate being traded, says he expects to play with Warriors next season

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:42 AM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

    “The fact that I haven’t been traded yet makes me feel comfortable.” —Klay Thompson

  11. Byron Scott: Lakers ‘better be ready to play some defense’

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves

    Scott was historically bad at coaching defense in three seasons with the Cavaliers.

  12. PBT Power Rankings: After summer shakeups, Spurs still team to beat

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs - Game Five Getty Images

    After all the players shifts this summer, the top three teams in the power rankings remain unchanged from the last one lst year.

  13. Lance Stephenson shows he’s on fire, ready for Charlotte (Instagram)

    Jul 28, 2014, 2:04 AM EDT

    Lance letting us know where his loyalties lie.

  14. Zach LaVine throws down some crazy dunks at Seattle Pro-Am (VIDEO)

    Jul 27, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    2014 NBA Draft Getty Images

    The 2015 Slam Dunk Contest champion might have already been decided.

  15. Paul Millsap receives last minute invite to USA Basketball mini-camp

    Jul 27, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six Getty Images

    Millsap gets the call as a late addition after Blake Griffin and Kevin Love dropped out in the last few days.

  16. Report: Kevin Garnett eyes post-basketball position with Nets

    Jul 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Newly acquired Brooklyn Net's NBA player Kevin Garnett listens during a news conference introducing him in Brooklyn Reuters

    KG is likely coming back for his 20th NBA season, but may be setting himself up for something more with the Nets one his playing days are finished.

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. T. Warren (4539)
  2. L. James (4394)
  3. K. Love (4391)
  4. J. Nelson (3742)
  5. R. Allen (3601)
  1. C. Anthony (3071)
  2. D. Rose (2926)
  3. K. Bryant (2904)
  4. A. Wiggins (2692)
  5. C. Boozer (2203)