The 2015/2016 NBA regular season gave hoop lovers yet another reason to be thankful for the good ole sport of basketball. From Steph Curry’s heroics, to the Kobe Bryant farewell tour, each day in this NBA season, up to the very last day, gave hoop fans a reason to tune in. As the playoffs get under way, it is fitting for me to provide my “two cents” on the various awards that will (if not already done) be handed out,
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
This is a no brainier, no need to argue further; moving on. Just kidding, but in actuality this really doesn’t create much of a debate. Steph Curry has dominated this league all season, in an average of 3 quarters a game. It is quite laughable to watch Steph essentially toy with opponents on a nightly basis, and do so effortlessly. Averaging 30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in just about 34 minutes a game, Steph Curry went on to improve upon the MVP season that he had last year. Although I believed James Harden should’ve been the recipient of the award last year, Steph Curry is in a league of his own when it comes to the award this year. The only other candidate who is somewhat worthy of acknowledgement would be Russell Westbrook; otherwise, this isn’t even a conversation worth having. Steph is currently in a competition with himself to show the best version of himself that we have seen yet. Don’t be surprised if he comes back next season even better.
Rookie of the Year:
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
I must admit, when Karl-Anthony Towns was picked first overall by the Timberwolves in last year’s draft, I wasn’t so sure if they were making the right decision. 82 NBA games later, that decision was a no brainer for the Timberwolves front office. His numbers: 18 points and 10 rebounds a game, while impressive, do not do justice to how bright of a future this young Kat really has. The young man can do it all. From posting up to handling the ball, playing defense to knocking down the long ball, the young man has proven to be leaps and bounds ahead of his peers. The fact that he won the Skills Competition during the All-Star festivities (yes, a competition that involved NBA guards) goes to show how skilled and versatile he is. I foresee Kat turning into a top 10 player in the league within the next five years. With the leadership of Coach Tom Thibodeau, I expect Kat to continue to develop, especially on the defensive end. At this present time nevertheless, he is undoubtedly the best rookie from last year’s draft; hence worthy of this award.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
While this award has already been presented to Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, I actually believe that Draymond Green was more deserving of the honor. Kawhi Leonard is undoubtedly the best wing/perimeter defender in the league; however, I believe that Draymond Green has more of an impact defensively on the best team in the league. Draymond can guard any position on the court; from a point guard to a center. With his size and yet agility, he is effective on the pick and roll, as he is able to switch onto any opposing player. One-on-one, he does as good of a job as anyone of making things difficult for the opposition. On the help side, he is always at the right place at the right time. Whether its stepping in for a charge, playing the passing lanes, or coming from the weak-side for an unexpected block, his defensive awareness is second to none. His contributions on the defensive end undoubtedly played a major role in the record setting year for the Golden State Warriors. For the foregoing reasons, he should’ve been the recipient of the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Sixth Man of the Year:
Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City Thunder
Jamal Crawford won this year’s Sixth Man of the Year, and deservingly so; however, I believe that Enes Kanter of the Oklahoma City Thunder was more deserving of the award. Averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds off the bench, Kanter gave the Thunder a much need ed inside scoring source, one that came in handy when Durant and/or Westbrook needed a breather. His contributions in just over twenty minutes a game undoubtedly helped the Thunder get over some hurdles this season. While many may criticize him for his lack of defensive prowess, I do not take that into heavy consideration, as this award is mostly for players who are able to give their team an offensive punch off the bunch. If defense was a factor, Jamal Crawford would not have three of these awards.
Most Improved Player of the Year:
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trailblazers
The patience C.J. displayed in his first two seasons alone is worthy of some sort of recognition, as we all knew what this young man was capable of doing, if healthy and given the opportunity. Nevertheless, CJ has taken the opportunity, and run away with it, exceeding expectations along the way. While CJ’s game might not have improved vastly, he is finally getting the opportunity to showcase it. Making a jump from 7 points a game to 21 is an astronomical leap that is pretty much unheard of. He has gone from being a role player to a legitimate bucket giver in our beloved league. His improvements have earned the backcourt in Portland some much needed recognition, and a well deserved Most Improved Player of the Year award.
Coach of the Year:
Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
I was hesitant to give this award to Steve, mostly because Luke Walton was at the helm for a good portion of those wins. Had the Celtics have finished 3rd or higher, Brad Stevens would’ve had my vote; however, that isn’t the case and so Steve Kerr essentially wins by default. No NBA team has won more than 73 games, and to lead the team to accomplish this feat is deserving of some recognition. For that reason, Steve (and Luke), you get the award for Coach of the year.