Rose, Howard, Griffin lead way at season’s halfway point
The NBA season is officially halfway through, and the contenders are separating themselves from the pretenders.
That is the case for postseason award races as well. Here are the frontrunners for the major postseason awards as the 2010-11 season enters the second half.
Most Valuable Player
Derrick Rose: This is not an easy category to decide, what with Amar’e Stoudemire leading a resurgence in New York, LeBron James leading the Heat, and top-notch performances night in and night out from guys like Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard, but Rose is the choice here. His season averages of 24.7 points, 8 assists, and 4.7 rebounds speak for themselves, but he has led the Chicago Bulls to third place in the East despite Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah missing significant time with injuries.
Honorable mention: Amar’e Stoudemire, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo
Defensive Player of the Year
Dwight Howard: Usually there is more competition for this award, but not this season. Through the first half of the season, no one can match Howard’s combination of 13.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and 1.2 steals, and his presence in the paint alone makes the Orlando Magic a good defensive team.
Honorable mention: Grant Hill, Chris Paul, LeBron James
Rookie of the Year
Blake Griffin: This one is not even close. He is averaging 22.6 points and 12.8 rebounds through his first 42 games. Forget the 2011 rookie class, he has established himself as one of the best power forwards in the league.
Honorable mention: John Wall, Landry Fields
Coach of the Year
Gregg Popovich: How does he do it? Tim Duncan will be in a rocking chair in a few years, Richard Jefferson looked like a terrible fit last season, and the Spurs looked downright old as the Phoenix Suns swept them out of the Western Conference Semifinals last season. But now they are 37-6, the starting five is operating like a well-oiled machine, and the Spurs’ bench has been solid all year. San Antonio looks to pose a major challenge to the Los Angeles Lakers this season, and the job Popovich has done is a big reason why.
Honorable mention: Erik Spoelstra, Nate McMillan, Rick Carlisle, Scott Brooks, Tom Thibodeau
Sixth Man of the Year
Glen Davis: Not the prototypical player most are used to seeing as a sixth man, but Davis has meant as much to the Boston Celtics coming off their bench as any player in the NBA. His averages of 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds have been huge for Boston, especially with Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, and Kendrick Perkins all missing time up front with injuries.
Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, Charlie Villanueva
Most Improved Player
Kevin Love: Anyone who registers a 30-30 game in today’s NBA should be considered for something. Love has exploded onto the scene with his play this season, with increases in points (21.3 points compared to 14 points in 2009-10), rebounds (15.6 rebounds to 11 rebounds), field-goal shooting (46.6 percent to 45 percent), 3-point shooting (43.7 percent to 33 percent), and free throw shooting (87.4 percent to 81.5 percent).
Honorable mention: Wesley Matthews, Jrue Holiday, Michael Beasley, Arron Afflalo, Russell Westbrook
By: Eric Lorenz
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