After who knows how long, the NBA playoffs are finally here. This is what we’ve been waiting for ever since the season started. It’s what we’ve anxiously waited for since the new year and since those flurry of trades went down before the trade deadline. The last couple months seemed to drag on, but the NBA playoffs are finally here and they are better than ever. Before I get into my thoughts on the eight first round series and my NBA predictions, here are my regular season awards:
Rookie of the Year – Kevin Durant
The one lone bright spot for the Sonics this year was Kevin Durant. He chucked up a lot of shots, but still averaged over 20 points a game and his field goal percentage got better as the year went along. I would like to see his rebounding numbers go up and I would like to see him be more of a playmaker, but it’s hard not to reward him for being above average on a pathetic team.
Honorable Mention – Al Horfard, Luis Scola
Most Improved Player – Rajon Rondo
Who ever thought this guy would be this good? He’s been that floor general and defensive stopper that every Boston fan had hoped he’d be back in October. He was the perfect complement to the Big Three and his role will be more important during the playoffs because he will be asked to contain every big point guard in the league.
Honorable Mention – Hedo Turkoglu, Rudy Gay
6th Man of the Year – Manu Ginobili
This one is a no brainer and really needs no explanation. Ginobili kind of wins this award by default though. I’m pretty sure if Kobe Bryant came off the bench, he would automatically win this award too. Ginobili is easily one of the top players in the league, but he seems to be comfortable coming off the bench. He’s so valuable to his team off the bench that the Spurs can’t score without him.
No Honorable Mention
Coach of the Year – Doc Rivers
What this guy did with the Celtics is unbelievable. I doubted him coming into the year because he had never proved he was a good coach at any time of his career. People give Kevin Garnett a lot of credit for turning around the culture of this team and rightfully so. But I think a lot of credit should also be given to Rivers for instilling a tough, defensive minded mentality into his team. He has gotten a bunch of scrubs to come in and provide the needed depth for the Big Three.
Honorable Mention – Byron Scott, Rick Adelman
Defensive Player of the Year – Kevin Garnett
He was simply the best defensive player on the best defensive team. Not only did he change the attitude and outlook of Basketball in the city, but he was the one that bought into Rivers’ defensive mentality and spread it to his teammates.
Honorable Mention – Chris Paul, Josh Smith
Most Valuable Player – Chris Paul
If you read my earlier post, you know I’m going with CP3 and it didn’t change the last day of the season. I don’t care if Garnett changed the culture of basketball in Boston. I don’t care if Kobe was the best player on the best team in the best conference… Paul has made an otherwise uncompetitive team into one of the best in the league. The same could be said for Lebron, but who’s team was better. Paul has made the Hornets nearly impossible to stop offensive with his ability to get to the rim and create for his teammates and let’s not forget he also gets it done on the defensive end as he led the league in steals. Where would the Hornets be in the West without Paul? This award will be a toss up and you can make an argument for anybody. I pick Paul, but I see the award going to Kobe with KG being a darkhorse and what a darkhorse he is.
Honorable Mention – Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett
Now let’s get to my predictions for the NBA playoffs that start on Saturday:
over in FIVE – Philly can give Detroit a run, but I don’t see them pulling one out in Detroit. Want some incredibly insight into this series? Check out my good friends Jameson and Eva preview, recap and analyze every game of the series at CuseAdelphia
The Lakers are too soft to beat Boston