By Aime Mukendi, Staff Writer, @Sir_Aimezing
If I had a vote…
Sixth Man of the Year: J.R. Smith, SG New York Knicks
Stat line: 18 points per game, five rebounds per game, three assists per game
Smith averaged a career high in minutes, points and rebounds per game. He also stepped in as a replacement for Carmelo Anthony making a few game winning shots versus the Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Bobcats. He also recorded a career high eight double-doubles this season. More shots, more points, bigger impact.
Most Improved Player of the Year: James Harden, SG, Houston Rockets
Stat line: 26 points per game, six assists per game, five rebounds per game
After a disappointing NBA Finals performance as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden was traded to Houston before the season. He recorded 37 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and four steals in his first game as a Rocket. He finished fifth in the league in scoring and led the Rockets to their first playoff berth since the 2007-08 season. Harden is the second best shooting guard in the playoffs.
Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trailblazers
Stat line: 19 points per game, seven assists per game, three rebounds per game
Lillard broke Damon Stoudamire’s team record in three pointers made. He is the second player in Trailblazer history to finish a season with 1500 points and 500 assists; he is the third rookie to accomplish this in NBA history and the first since Allen Iverson in the 1996-97 season.
Defensive Player of the Year: Joakim Noah, C, Chicago Bulls
Stat line: 12 points per game, 11 rebounds per game, two blocks per game, one steal a game
In Derrick Rose’s absence he has become the ultimate difference maker for the Bulls. His presence in the post has been enough to help rank the Bulls third in points allowed per game this season and eighth in rebounds per game. He is the ultimate hustle player and deserves to be recognized for leading the Rose-less Bulls to the fifth seed in the playoffs.
Most Valuable Player of the Year: LeBron James, SF, Miami Heat
Stat line: 27 points per game, eight rebounds per game, seven assists per game
The only thing James had not done since joining the Heat during the regular season was to make a game winning shot. This season he made two. He shot 57 percent from the field and 41 percent from the three-point line, which both are career-highs. Six straight games with 30 points while shooting 60 percent from the field, a 27 game-winning streak and in 76 games failed to score at least 20 points just four times. Miami also has home court throughout the postseason.
Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
Stat line: 66-16
The Heat are ranked fifth in scoring, fifth in points allowed and seventh in assists in the NBA. Miami has set a team record for wins, clinched home court throughout the postseason and have the second longest winning streak in NBA history. Miami is 8-0 without Chris Bosh in the line-up, 10-2 without Dwyane Wade in the line-up and 5-1 without LeBron James in the line-up.
All-NBA First Team:
Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard
All-NBA Second Team:
Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Brook Lopez
All-NBA Third Team:
Stephen Curry, James Harden, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Chris Bosh
All-Defensive First Team:
Chris Paul, Paul George, LeBron James, Serge Ibaka, Tim Duncan
All-Defensive Second Team:
Mike Conley Jr., Dwayne Wade, Andre Iguodala, Larry Sanders, Dwight Howard
All-Rookie First Team:
Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond
All-Rookie Second Team:
Pablo Prigioni, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, Jonas Valanciunas