We have reached the halfway mark through the 2013-14 NBA season. One that has been filled with enticing highlights from superstars along with the surprising play of teams improving from the previous season. On the other side, we watch some of our favorite players get knocked down, once again, by injuries. Before we embark on the second half of the season, we discuss the selections of our mid season awards.
Rookie of the Year- Michael Carter-Williams
It has been a sub par season for the NBA rookies, overall. However, despite the play of rookie guard Victor Oladipo, there is no rookie playing as well as Michael Carter-Williams. The 6’6″ guard has shown the ability to be a leader on the court, leading all rookies in scoring, assists, and steals. While injuries have been a burden to him, the sky is the limit for Carter-Williams as he improves to become an elite guard in this league.
Most Improved Player of the Year- Lance Stephenson
Kudos to Lance Stephenson as he continues to make leaps of progression in his game for the Indiana Pacers. Remembered for his choke sign given to LeBron James during the 2011-12 NBA Playoffs, he is, now having his best season thus far. Averaging a career high in points, rebounds, assists, the sporadic play of Stephenson has been under control for majority of this season and it brings Indiana excitement to its fans. Also, it gives his team another weapon to rely on. The man who is proclaimed to be ‘Born Ready’ deserves heavy all-star consideration as he will become a hot commodity on the free agent market this offseason. Not to mention, he is a walking triple double waiting to happen as he leads the league with three.
Sixth Man of the Year- Nick Young
As the nightmare of a season continues for the Los Angeles Lakers, Nick Young gives Laker nation something to cheer for. After the early season move to the bench, ‘Swaggy P’ has been nothing less than spectacular, leading the team in scoring averaging 17 points per game. It may be difficult for him to win the award due to the minimum success of Los Angeles has had despite being the team’s most consistent player this year.
Defensive Player of the Year- Roy Hibbert
As the Indiana Pacers are atop of every defensive category, Roy Hibbert is the anchor of that side of the ball. Hibbert is the backbone of this team as his defensive post presence allows perimeter defenders to be more aggressive. When they play aggressive on the perimeter, it allows Hibbert to erase any mistakes that were made. The Pacers postseason success is relied on the defense of the big man in the middle.
Coach of the Year- Jeff Hornacek
Before the 2013-14 season began, everybody had the Phoenix Suns projected to finish in the bottom half of the Western Conference. Head coach Jeff Hornacek has surpassed critics expectations as they are among teams in the playoff hunt after missing the postseason the previous three seasons. Without rising star Eric Bledsoe out with a knee injury, he is doing a great job with the roster led by Goran Dragic. On pace to eclipse the win total from the previous year, Hornacek has his team playing very well as they are improving as the season moves into the second half.
Most Valuable Player- Kevin Durant
With all due respect to the magnificent play of LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul George, and LeBron James this season, Kevin Durant has seperated himself from his competition thus far. While averaging a career high in assists, Durant is scoring the ball at a rapid pace and with great efficiency averaging 36.5 ppg since Russell Westbrook has been sidelined with a knee injury. What’s more remarkable is how Durant has scored his points with 69% unassisted without Westbrook compared to 41% with him. It is important for Durant to stay assertive on the offensive end while continuing to be a play maker until Westbrook returns. As we await, Durant must continue to carry the work load for the team in order to maintain success going forward.