The NBA regular season is over. The second season has begun (the playoffs). Now is the time where winning really matters. The team is the important thing. However, with the end of the regular season, it is also time to recognize outstanding individual performances.
Here are the end of the year NBA awards the way I see them.
Winner: LeBron James- There really is no argument here no matter what people want to tell you. James has always been phenomenal and this year he raised his efficiency level across the board by shooting the highest FG% and 3P% of his career, second highest FT% and kept the turnovers in the same place.
Runner Up: Tony Parker- The best player on the best regular season team in the NBA. Always overlooked among his point guard peers, Parker clearly established himself as a top five PG in a league filled with talented players at the position.
Coach Of The Year
Winner: Tom Thibodeau- Chicago went 50-16, tied for the best record in the NBA with their best player, Derrick Rose missing a little over 1/3 of the season. Then add in the games Luol Deng plus Richard Hamilton missed and the argument to make Thibs Coach of the Year is a pretty easy one. He understands how to get the most out of his role players and isn't afraid to sit his big money players when the situation calls for it.
Runner Up: Doc Rivers- Quite possibly the best team in the NBA after the All Star break. Being able to keep the team together with all the trade rumors surrounding his core four players was really impressive. Moving Avery Bradley into the starting line up and sticking Ray Allen to the bench might have been the best coaching move of the year.
Rounding Out The Top 5: Third- Gregg Popovich...Fourth- Tyrone Corbin...Fifth- Alvin Gentry
Sixth Man Of The Year
Winner: James Harden- The new age Manu Ginobili. I don't mean that in comparison of style of play, which they are somewhat similar, but the fact that he clearly is deserving of being a starter and comes of the bench without putting up a stink. I don't think people truly realize how good Harden is because he is on a team with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Runner Up: James Harden
Rounding Out The Top 5: Third- James Harden...Fourth- James Harden...Fifth- James Harden
Defensive Player Of The Year
Winner: Tyson Chandler- The New York Knicks went from on of the worst defensive teams in the league to one of the best because of what Chandler brought to the table. Having a guard like Iman Shumpert didn't hurt, but what the former NBA Champion brought in attitude and mindset was just as important as his help defense.
Runner Up: LeBron James- Curious to see if he ever wins this award. He is more than deserving, but because he is usually in the MVP talk he gets overlooked. James guards every single position on the court and spearheads the Heat's incredible team defense.
Rounding Out The Top 5:- Third- Avery Bradley...Fourth- Andre Igoudala...Fifth- Serge Ibaka
Most Improved Player
Winner: Andrew Bynum- First off, Bynum only missed two games this season, which was a huge step in the right direction for his career. He averaged seven more points per game than last season and two more rebounds plus averaged less than one foul per game. The reason Bynum really jumps out at me is because he established himself as the best player on the Lakers, yes he is now more important to that team than Kobe Bryant.
Runner Up: Ersan Ilyasova- His numbers improved across the board. He improved his FG%, 3P%, RPG, APG, and PPG. The most impressive jump was in his three point shooting which went from .298% to .455%
Rounding Out The Top 5: Third- Goran Dragic...Fourth- Ryan Anderson...Fifth- Jarrett Jack
One side note, the people giving most improved player to Jeremy Lin truly do not have a clue (remember this is coming from a Knicks fan also). He only played in 35 games, shot under 45% from the field, and led the NBA in turnovers per 48 minutes. Wake up and stop trying to get cheap page views it makes you look dumb.
Rookie Of The Year
Winner: Kyrie Irving- The former Duke product ran away with this award. Cleveland's process for rebuilding just got a whole lot quicker. Irving has 50/40/90 potential.
Runner Up: Ricky Rubio- I know Rubio only played in 41 games, but he still deserves to be acknowledged. His feel for the game on the court was incredible and him plus Kevin Love will be one of the most fun tandems to watch for many years.
Rounding Out The Top 5: Third- Kenneth Faried...Fourth- Iman Shumpert...Fifth- Markieff Morris
All-NBA First Team
Guard- Chris Paul
Guard- Kobe Bryant
Forward- LeBron James
Forward- Kevin Love
Center- Andrew Bynum
All-NBA Second Team
Guard- Tony Parker
Guard- Russell Westbrook
Forward- Kevin Durant
Forward- Josh Smith
Center- Joakim Noah
All-NBA Third Team
Guard- Steve Nash
Guard- Dwayne Wade
Forward- Paul Pierce
Forward- Blake Griffin
Center- Marc Gasol