A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Post-November NBA Awards Watch

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My top picks for the various NBA Awards after one month of play.  Expect to see this updated each month with my picks for ROY, DPOY, MIP, 6MOY, COY, and All-NBA teams.

MVP:  See Monday’s post.  This gets updated weekly.

Rookie of the Year

1. Blake Griffin

2. John Wall

3. Landry Fields

Well, we see that both of the last 2 #1 picks are legit, future stars.  Fantastic to see, fantastic to watch.  Still following the rookie trend of not seeming to help their teams win, but what can you do.


Defensive Player of the Year

1. Dwight Howard

2. Kevin Garnett

3. Joakim Noah

Another year where it just seems impossible to seriously consider not giving the DPOY to Howard.


Most Improved Player

1. Russell Westbrook

2. Roy Hibbert

3. Eric Gordon

This is a fun one.  My pre-season pick, Kevin Love, has done just about what I expected, but he’s got 3 draftmates showing more glaring improvement.  A couple notes:

1) Westbrook is in serious danger of following teammate Durant in improving too MUCH to win the award.  Won’t stop me from giving him the nod though.  I completely get not wanting to give the award to a star turned superstar, but Westbrook was not remotely in the running for all-star last year and now he’s a clear MVP candidate – that’s massive improvement no matter how you look at it.

2) While I don’t refuse to vote for older guys like Paul Millsap or Luis Scola here, I’ll admit to knocking them down a bit in my rubric.  Simply put, I don’t think their increase in status is nearly as dependent on their actual improvement as the trio I’m listing – the big change for them, is new opportunity.


6th Man of the Year

1. Jason Terry

2. Matt Barnes

3. Jamal Crawford

Terry seems a really clear cut winner for this, but you never know.  Ginobili should probably have 3 of these awards to his name, and voters just decided not to do that.  Shannon Brown has gotten some love from others here, and justifiably so – but I’ll actually give the nod to Barnes as Lakers 6th Man.  Obviously I wouldn’t do that if Barnes wasn’t playing great, but I think it’s also funny to note that literally, Barnes is the guy who is the 6th man for the Lakers – being the non-starter who plays the most.


Coach of the Year

1. Gregg Popovich

2. Monty Williams

3. Jerry Sloan

Gotta give it to Pop.  Far too often we overlook the guys considered the best coaches of the game simply because they’re success that year is a repeat of previous year.  Well this year, the Spurs are legitimately shocking people with a new formula.  As long as that success continues, he’s an easy choice.


All-NBA 1st Team

Guard:  Chris Paul

Guard:  Manu Ginobili

Forward:  Dirk Nowitzki

Forward:  Pau Gasol

Center:  Dwight Howard

A bit of a cheat putting Gasol at forward to be honest, because he’s been the de facto center in Bynum’s absence.  Still, if we had to judge Gasol based on his ability to play the classic center position, it wouldn’t nearly do him justice.


All-NBA 2nd Team

Guard:  Kobe Bryant

Guard:  Deron Williams

Forward:  LeBron James

Forward:  Kevin Durant

Center:  Joakim Noah

LeBron & Durant are having disappointing years, but the competition at forward is so weak, there’s really only 2 guys I feel right putting above them.


All-NBA 3rd Team

Guard:  Russell Westbrook

Guard:  Derrick Rose

Forward:  Paul Millsap

Forward:  Kevin Garnett

Center:  Al Horford

Rondo is a top 10 MVP candidate, and can’t make an All-NBA team.  That ought to tell you how rough it is at guard right now.  Then consider specifically the point guards:  When you factor in him, Nash, and Parker, that’s arguably 7 of the top 15 players in the league playing the 1 right now.  Amazing.

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