As the NBA season reaches its midway point, it’s time to hand out some midseason awards.
Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)
As some witty sportswriter predicted on this very website, the Boston Celtics are a very, very good team. They are so good that when they slipped to 34-6, there were some talks about firing head coach Doc Rivers. And while the Doc may not be up for coach of the year, the leader of this team is KG. He may not be leading in points, shot-blocking, or steals, he is the real deal on defence and the undisputed leader of this star-studded Boston squad. He is big enough to guard the seven-footers inside, and is quick enough to guard a point guard if his teammate can’t get around a pick. Garnett is also my runner-up for league MVP.
Runner-up: Marcus Camby
Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant (Seattle Supersonics)
In a rookie class thats mostly filled of 27-year olds, the 19-year-old is the one sticking out. A feat, which is tough to do in the rarely-publicized northwest corner of the country, especially when his team is 3 wins away from being the worst in the west. Durant is putting up 20.5 points a game – 6 more than any of his teammates, all of which are more experienced than the youngster. And with Greg Oden not around to join the 27-year-olds that he looks older than, this honour is a no-brainer to hand to Durant.
Runner-up: Juan Carlos Navarro (Memphis Grizzlies)
Coach of the Year: Byron Scott (New Orleans Hornets)
Show me the surprise team of the league, and I’ll show you the coach of the year. But this goes beyond that. While Scott does have a solid starting five in Tyson Chandler, Morris Peterson, Peja Stojakovic, David West, and Chris Paul, who is quickly molding into one of the league’s best point guards, the first three mentioned players are those that just didn’t work out with their previous teams. Chandler was a good player in Chicago, the problem was the team wasn’t any good. Same with Peja, same with Mo-Pete. For the ex-Grizzly Byron Scott to bring this team together and lead them to a division leading 28-12 record, it has to give him some serious consideration for this award.
Runner-up: Stan Van Gundy (Orlando Magic)
League MVP: Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Every year Kobe is nominated for this award, but he never wins it. First off, he was playing with Shaq, the most dominating player in the league at the time, so he obviously isn’t the most valuable player to his team with the Big Aristotle by his side. After Shaq’s departure, everybody knew that Kobe was the most offensively-skilled player in the league, but that doesn’t mean much when you can hardly make the playoffs, as only three players in the least 20 seasons have took home this award when they’re respective teams finished with under 50 wins. Now, Kobe’s Lakers just might hit that mark, with 26 wins and just a game and a half back of the conference leading Phoenix Suns. And trust me, it ain’t Andrew Bynum that’s gotten them there.
Runner-up: Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)