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ProBasketballTalk’s mid-season awards: Durant for MVP, Carter-Williams for ROY

Jan 27, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Charlotte Bobcats Getty Images

We are at the NBA’s mid-season — it takes that long to really start to get a line on the NBA’s award season. Guys get hot early then fade, and you can bet some guys will make a push the second half of the season (remember J.R. Smith for Sixth Man of the Year last season?).

But as of today, this is how I would vote for the NBA’s end-of-season awards.

Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Injuries can often swing thinking on this award, some years it is how a team might crumble without their star. This year, it’s about Durant has stepped up with Russell Westbrook out. Durant had to step up his scoring, but the efficient way he has done it puts him on top of the list here. With all due respect to LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul George, Chris Paul and others, this is a two-man race — LeBron James or Durant will win it. Right now Durant is in the lead.

Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers

He’s putting up good numbers — 17.3 points, 6.4 assists, 5.9 rebounds, with a PER of 17.4 — and while he has been a volume scorer (shooting percentage of 40.6, true shooting percentage of 48.4) he’s been the best rookie at impacting both ends of the court. Trey Burke is showing some strong play in Utah and Victor Oladipo is showing flashes in Orlando, and those two are still in the race, but in a down year for rookies (hello Anthony Bennett) MCW is having the best season of the class.

Sixth Man of the Year: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

This is a two-man race right now and I lean toward Ginobili over Jamal Crawford of the Clippers, who has had to step up his scoring in the wake of injuries in Los Angeles. However, Ginobili has had a renaissance season and what he brings is not just 12.4 points a game assists, rebounds and generally smart play that elevates those around him. Bottom line, the Spurs are an elite team and their offense improves 12 points per 100 possessions when Ginobili is on the court, the Spurs outscore their opponents by 14.1 points per 100 possessions when he plays. Crawford doesn’t have that kind of all around impact.

Coach of the Year: Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers

He has gotten the Trail Blazer players to buy into a system of ball movement that has given them the best offense in the NBA this season. This was a team that with a similar roster last season didn’t even make the playoffs. This is also one of the more wide open awards still heading into the second half of the season, with Frank Vogel in Indiana and Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix in the mix.

Defensive Player of the Year: Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

Hibbert is the clear winner here and more than any other category should win in a landslide at the end of the season. There is no player that protects the pain, who disrupts an opponents’ offensive game plan like Hibbert. He is the focal point of Indiana’s league-best defense.

  1. blueintown - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    That Tom Thibodeau doesn’t even warrant a mention in the COY race is a disgrace.

    • savvybynature - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      Victim of his own success in that regard, just like Coach Pop who has won the award twice but has an argument every year.

      • blueintown - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        Yeah, I sort of get that angle; but the award should go to the coach who has done the best job this year, and I’m not sure that there is another coach in the league who could squeeze this much production out of the current Bulls roster. Their best player is hurt, their second best player is in Cleveland, and their starting point guard was pulled off the street. Pretty remarkable job.

    • spthegr8 - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      It’s only a matter of time until @Anti see’s this and comes RUNNING to defend LeBron about how Lbj deserves to be MVP……WATCH!!!!! Or maybe me posting this will keep him away. Personally, I hope it’s the latter of the two!! Just Sayin’!!!!

  2. dexterismyhero - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    I thought LeBron would get Coach of the Year!!!!

  3. tomasekradek - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Howard – Chandler – Gasol – Hibbert – ?
    What’s next? Hawes? Cole Aldrich? Then Kwame? It looks like DPOY have no longer any value. Since Dwight was dominant few years back, it seems anyone with 7 foots can win it now. Give it to some of the little guys but dont ruin the award by giving it to those pseudo dominant bigs if there is not any

    • gostlcards5 - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:45 PM

      I’m not speaking to the other 3, but your comment speaks to your ignorance about Hibbert. He changes everything for the Pacers when he’s on the floor.

  4. mp4philly - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Anthony Bennett no mention for ROY? Outrage!

  5. jerdogthompson - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    No honorable mention for DJ as DPOY?

    Last I checked he is neck and neck with Hibbert in boards, blocks, etc……

    Kinda how gi-blow-me gets put ahead of Crawford I suspect. JC is clearly having a better year than that guy and is deserved of the 6th man award.

    • illegalblues - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      his counting stats are great but the man still can’t really defend the pick and roll.

    • sportsfan18 - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      jerdogthompson

      You say JC is CLEARLY having a better year… Let’s see.

      JC PER year-to-date 16.4 (15.0 is league average)
      Ginobili year-to-date 19.3 (20 is when a player becomes a border line all star)

      JC FG% a whopping .413%
      Ginobili FG% .452%

      Crawford is having a decent year but he still is not yet at Ginobili’s level. Crawford isn’t nearly as efficient of a player as Manu is.

    • savvybynature - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      Yeah must be that anti-Big Market, anti-LA bias at work, haha.
      And I guess Blake should be MVP and Chris Paul should be named Supreme Chancellor of the Universe too right?

    • mytthor - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:02 AM

      It seriously took me a while to even figure out who you were referring to with those initials. I think that says it all about your choice.

  6. sharrieflentz45 - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    I guess it really doesn’t matter that Oladipo has been playing better than MCW lately ? While he started off hot he has cooled down and his last injury which kept him out of like 10 or 11 games couldn’t of hurt his average either

  7. fearthehoody - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    And you forgot: NBAs Most Improved Player: DeAndre Jordan LAC

    There you go.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 27, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      I rarely put MIP in my mix because I think too often it becomes just a guy who didn’t get a chance getting one, not a guy who actually improved. I find the debate over that award often annoying.

  8. gameisours - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    MIP – Lance / Deandre?

    • bougin89 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      I’d also strongly consider Anthony Davis. He’s missed games due to injury this year but he’s a guy that really has taken a huge leap when healthy. If he can finish the season healthy and on a strong note I think he could win it.

      His PER went from 21.7 last year to 26.2 this year. He’s improved in almost every area. Crazy to think how good he could/will be.

    • unxpexted1 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      THose aren’t bad choices, but if I still like Aaron Affolo, he’s having a crazy year this year. But I think i’d put Lance right behind him. I think he’s had a six point jump in points this year.

      • gameisours - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        I like both suggestions, but also Dragic and Derozan came to my mind. They are both important parts of playoff teams.

        But you could also go with Sanders…

      • 00maltliquor - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        Damn, you guys are making it hard to pick MIP! ALL those guys deserve credit! But I’mma have to roll with Afflalo. Eric Bledsoe has to be in the mix too though. DeAndre Jordan/Lance Stephenson are definitely fighting for the next spot. You CAN make a case for Anthony Davis, but then what about Andre Drummond? There are a lot of guys that came up this year.

  9. unxpexted1 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    This is a little nitpicky and I am a Lakers fan, but I feel like Nick Young should at least get a mention in the sixth man conversation. Unless six man is like the MVP and its the Best six man on the best team. He’s the second leading scorer off the bench in the league. I think Jamal is at 17.9 and Nick as at 17.4. So to me if you going to put Jamal up there gotta at least give Nick a mention.

    • mytthor - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:04 AM

      Laker fan hear as well – and Nick would have a good shot if the Lakers were making a run at the 8th seed. He’s scoring but it’s not helping the team win.

      • mytthor - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:05 AM

        *here

  10. bbk1000 - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Nice shorts…..I need PJ’s with “Thunder” on the back…….too easy…

  11. dallasstars9 - Jan 27, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    As with the All Star Game, the MVP has become nothing but a popularity contest.

    • blueintown - Jan 27, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      Isn’t that exactly what both of those things are supposed to be?

    • mytthor - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:04 AM

      The All-Star game hasn’t “become” a popularity contest. That’s what it is designed as. It’s the whole point.

      • dallasstars9 - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        No that’s not the point. It’s about recognizing the best players at that point in the season. Take away the fan voting already and have players and coaches choose the All-Star team. And LaMarcus Aldridge deserves the MVP more than anyone.

      • mytthor - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:26 AM

        You may not think it’s the point, but that’s how the NBA designed it. Go get a job with the league and succeed Adam Silver as commish, then we can use your vision of the league.

  12. antistratfordian - Jan 28, 2014 at 12:39 AM

    Déjà vu. Remember “All Hail Kevin Durant” from the midseason awards headline from last year? We’ll see what happens when Westbrook comes back.

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