The Recliner GM’s COMPLETE NBA Mid-Season Awards

With the NBA season passed its midpoint I feel it necessary as a true Recliner GM to give out some accolades – and stir up some healthy debate.  With so much outstanding individual play I almost copped out and gave awards to both Eastern and Western Conference players.  That would have appeased way too many people (not the goal) and made for a post twice as long as this already is.  With that said, let’s start the debate.    

League MVP

NBA MVP AwardChris Paul– To me this is a no-brainer.  Paul is the best player on the team with the best record in the much tougher Western Conference.   This season he has clearly been the best point guard in the game, snatching the title from Steve Nash.  Paul has rejuvenated Peja Stojakovic’s career, brought out the best in Tyson Chandler and has developed a bond with David West that could blossom into a great partnership a la Stockton & Malone – but more fun to watch.  Combine that with his potentially historic stats (steals weren’t kept when the Big O played): 20.6ppg, 10.5apg, 2.6spg (2ndto LeBron in PER)all while shooting 48.4% from the field, and you have a player that embodies a dominant pass-first point guard.   Oh yeah and he’s only 22.  Besides all of that this pick will effectively rile up all the Kobe lovers, LeBron advocates and Boston faithful.

Honorable Mention:  Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Brandon Roy & Marcus Camby (yes, Marcus Camby)  

Rookie of the Year

Rookie of the Year AwardKevin Durant – I give this to him almost out of sympathy.  He was the only rookie with the entire weight of a struggling franchise thrust onto his shoulders in this draft class.  Has he lived up to the hype after his amazing freshman year at Texas? NO.  But how could he?  He is scoring a respectable 19.3ppg but shooting only 39.8% from the field and 28% from three.  I attribute his poor shooting to a terrible team which allows defenses to game plan only to stop Durant.  This leads to overall poor shot selection (mainly settling for too many jumpers)and forced shots as the team’s only true scorer and default go-to man.  With that said Durant has still made the biggest impact of any rookie, with Al Horford nipping at his heels.

Honorable Mention: Al Horford, Juan Carlos Navarro, Yi Jianlian

Defensive Player of the Year

Defensive Player of the Year - Marcus CambyMarcus Camby – So we all know about the blocks – 3.84blkpg & 5.24 blkp48m, leading the NBA easily.  But what goes unnoticed is that he rarely fouls out while playing such exceptional defense (2 DQ this season).  Meaning Denver gets his defensive presence on the court more often than other hackers/shot blockers in the league.  Need more convincing?  Probably not, but here’s some for the die hard KG backers (like myself); 1.40 BLK/PF (blocks per foul)probably the most overlooked stat for a shot blocker.  Camby is the only player over 1, and his current mark ranks 3rd best in the last 8 years.  24 boards and 11 blocks in a game, only one other player has done this or better in the last 20 years (1993 version of Shaq)!    

Honorable Mention: Bruce Bowen (really have to watch him play a lot to understand his impact since he doesn’t show up in the stats much), Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard

Most Improved Player

Most Improved Player AwardAndrew Bynum – You gotta love it when a big man plays the way a big man is supposed to – Catch & Dunk Everything.  That is exactly what Bynum was doing before the injury bug caught up to him.  This is also why Kobe had no choice but to change his tune and fall in love with the kid.  Numbers: 13.1ppg, 10.2rpg (would be 12th if he didn’t get hurt), 2.06blkpg (9th), 63.6% fgs (1st) all while only playing 7 more minutes per game than last season.

Honorable Mention: Al Jefferson (A Minnesota fan called me on this omission, so here I am correcting my slip up.  This guy definitely deserves mention as he often goes unnoticed on the struggling Timberwolves)Rudy Gay, Chris Kaman, Lamarcus Aldridge, Danny Granger (he has increased most of his numbers while playing the same # of minutes – only one of the bunch), John Salmons (of course he would get better in every statistical category AFTER Billy King trades him – he is shooting 51.5%!!)

Sixth Man

Sixth Man of the Year AwardManu Ginobili– Let me first confess I am not a Ginobili fan at all so this will be short.  I am, however, unbiased enough to admit he is by far the best non-starter in the NBA (which makes no sense considering he is vastly better than Michael Finley who would be a perfect bench player).  Manu provides instant offense, pesky defense and a consistent 3-pt threat to open things up for Tim Duncan.    

Honorable Mention: Leandro Barbosa, David (Please Trade Him Before He Rots on the Bench of a Horrendous Team) Lee, Jason Maxiell, Travis Outlaw, Jeff Foster (leads the Pacers in rebounding off the bench)

Coach of the year

Coach of the Year AwardNate McMillan– He has the young Trailblazers playing with confidence, chemistry and a winning attitude.  All things no one would have imagined once the bad news about Greg Oden was announced.  Portland exemplifies team basketball, an unselfish mentality typified by McMillan’s own playing career.  

Honorable Mention:  Byron Scott, Eddie Jordan, Doc Rivers (playing the Phil Jackson role)

Executive of the Year/Biggest Surprise

Kevin Pritchard/Portland Trailblazers – The biggest surprise of the season easily goes to the Portland Trailblazers.  Predicted to be 26th in preseason rankingsare not only in the playoffs ahead of Denver and Houston but are only a ½ game behind Utah for first in the Northeast Division.  Most of the praise for the team’s success has been spread between an emerging superstar in Brandon Roy, vastly improved Lamarcus Aldridge and the masterful coaching job of Nate McMillan.  But an overlooked piece of the team’s fortune this season is in the calculated moves made by current GM Kevin Pritchard.  He cleaned house getting rid of bad character guys, bad contracts and effectively created a team the Portland fans can like.  The best explanation of this strategy is by Bill Simmons who coined the term: Chemacterility (chemistry, character & (cap) flexibility).  Pritchard gets the edge over Danny Ainge because he created a successful and young team without the perennial superstars. 

Honorable Mention: Danny Ainge (I am a Philly fan so you can imagine I am not all that happy about all this Boston Celtic success.  But I can’t hate them as much as normal because Ainge acquired such likable superstars in Allen and KG.)

All-NBA

First Team (easy):
Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard

Second Team (tough):
Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Carlos Boozer, Tim Duncan, Yao Ming

Third Team (nearly impossible to pick):
Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, Caron Butler, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudemire

 Recliner GM Originals

Most Visible Scrub of the Year

Kwame Brown – I’ve wanted to write something about Brown for some time now so I created an award just for him (how nice of me).  This isn’t going to be another Kwame bashing about his stone hands, inability to finish dunks & lay-ups consistently at 6’11, getting booed at home, being the player doing the least with the most talent (hint: he isn’t really that talented) or being one of the poster boys for NBA draft pick busts.  Instead it’s simply to point out that Kwame is NOT the worst player in the league, only the most noticeable and Sportscenter-highlighted below-average player in the NBA.

Step My Game Up in Place of an Injured Superstar Award

Antawn Jamison – 17.8ppg and 9.6rpg is what Jamison averaged before Gilbert Arenas got hurt.  After – he has averaged 22.2ppg and 10.9rpg, and Washington’s winning % is .600 compared to .375 in the first 8 games with Gilbert.  Jamison is somehow having a career year in his 10th season and is one of five players averaging 20 points & 10 boards.

Where the Hell Have You Been Award – Adonal Foyle

Please Stop Shooting (or shoot better) Award Larry Hughes, this guy is definitely in favor of this selection.

Fans Choice:

Why Would You Sign Him to Our Team Award – Chris Webber

Get This Guy Off Our Team Award –Stephon Marbury, if you haven’t already please enjoy.

Check out these NBA Mid-Season Awards from other bloggers:

There you have it.  If I thoroughly annoyed you with some of my selections or you just don’t agree, feel free to argue your players.  This post also serves as a measuring stick for when the real awards are given out at the end of the year.  But who cares – these are Recliner GM Awards.  Nothing else really matters.

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26 Responses

  1. […] Dannie wrote a fantastic post today on “The Recliner GMâs COMPLETE NBA Mid-Season Awards”Here’s ONLY a quick extractKevin Pritchard/Portland Trailblazers – The biggest surprise of the season easily goes to the Portland Trailblazers. Predicted to be 26th in preseason rankings are not only in the playoffs ahead of Denver and Houston but are only a ½ … […]

  2. […] post by Dannie Bookmark and Share:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]

  3. You can’t forget Chauncey Billups, he has to be AT LEAST third team All-NBA PG, probably should be second team.

  4. I honestly have no idea how the league picks All-NBA teams because there are SO many deserving players. Chauncey I struggled with because I don’t think he is better than Nash (averaging a double-double) and I don’t think he is having a better season thus far than Deron Williams. Williams is shooting over 50% from the field, scores more, gets more assists and has 23 (double-doubles) compared to Billups’ 7. Billups is really only better in terms of taking care of the rock. And both teams are atop their respective divisions. When I wrote the post I probably had a list of 35-40 players and I had to whittle it down to 15 – agony to say the least.

  5. I’ve got to disagree with the Camby pick for defensive player of the year. Camby is one of those guys that is an incredible rebounder and a great shot blocker…but I think there are better defenders in a one on one situation, and while I love the guy, I see this as more “great stats” then an actual great defender.

    I think KG has to win the award this year…not only has his individual defense been on lockdown mode all year, and not only is his team defense always off the hook due to his absurd levels of bball IQ…but most importantly, KG is THE single reason this team as a whole is actually playing on both ends of the court.

    I mean, Boston was atrocious last year on the defensive end. KG is single handedly getting Paul Pierce to use all that scoring athleticism to body men up, and has Ray hustling more on the defensive end then he has since UConn. KG has ignited his entire team to play defense, as well as playing his normal “top 3 defensive forward in the NBA” defense. He has to win this hands down.

  6. Dave I am huge KG fan and believe defensively as you mentioned he is one of the 3 best forwards if not players in the NBA. With that said I think people overlook Camby’s man-to-man defense and more so his defensive intensity and energy.

    1. I think Camby is the best help defensive big man in the game. For one he is on a team that more often than others puts him in positions where he must help a lot (AI and Melo’s gambling perimeter defense) and the fact that he stays out of foul trouble while constantly facing free penetration along with guarding his own man is a feat that widely goes unnoticed.

    2. I went over the top with his stats because most people only pay attention and measure by them. If they didn’t Bruce Bowen wouldn’t still be without at least one trophy. I fortunately have been able to watch Denver and Boston play a lot this season. And the one thing that stood out to me was how Camby seems to be EVERYWHERE on defense. He contest every shot at the basket, he does a hell of a job on pick and roll switches where he has to defend smaller quicker players and he either funnels them to the basket where he blocks or alters the shot or uses his long arms to bother the ball handler and many times picks their pocket clean. So much is made of KG’s energy because he flips out and yells all the time and has very animated gestures. Whereas Camby just goes out night in and night out and does just as good and in my opinion a better defensive job without all the noise and subsequently the attention.

    3. It’s not Camby’s fault he plays with lackluster defenders around him. But understand his impact. Denver is 26th in points allowed this season and ppl get all up in arms about how poor their defense is when only savvy basketball people (which I believe you are) understand that number is highly attributed to their style of play on offense which provides more possessions to their opponents. Then turn around and look at Denver’s FG% defense the true measure of team defense and Denver ranks 10th. That almost makes no sense considering how many points they give up, but again you must factor in possessions. And that 10th ranking is almost 100% attributed to Camby’s play on defense having watched many games and the personnel he has around him. Proof: Denver is 27th in 3pt% defense meaning they suck on the perimeter giving up 37% from behind the arc. But only 44.6% overall – that ALL Marcus Camby. More proof: Denver is 6th in defensive efficiency (ESPN insider stat based on 100-possessions which is a neutralizer of the impact possessions have on general stats) which would put them in the upper echelon of defenses in the NBA.
    Source: http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=80

    4. No matter how much credit you want to give KG for how Allen and Pierce are playing individually on defense I tend to think the greater motivation comes from the fact that now those guys are on a legit title contender. And yes, KG’s energy helps motivate them but the fact that they are winning and are fully focused on the ring is really why they stepped their defensive games up. Also not to overlooked the impact of assistant coach and defensive guru Tom Thibodeau.

    By the way did I mention I LOVE KG!

  7. great blog!

  8. What, no Sheed on your team? That is surely a technical foul on your part.
    Rasheed Wallace rules!
    Well, when he wants to, he rules. Some nights he just drools.
    But he has to be better than Caron Butler?

  9. James – I like Sheed but this particular season Caron Butler is performing much better and more consistently. He is having a career year whereas Rasheed is having a below average season (including techs only 2nd what’s up with that). Like you said Wallace doesn’t bring his A game every night anymore.

  10. I agree with all your picks of Mid-Season awards, except for the League MVP…. I really think the MVP SO FAR has been LeBron James of the cavs…. THE MAN’S A MONSTER!!!! 30 points per game 8 rebounds per game 7 assist per game 2 steals per game and right now his team has won 14 of their last 17 games man… THE CAVS ARE THE HOTTEST TEAM ON THE LEAGUE….

    But I do think that if LeBron doesnt win it, it should be your pick right there… CHRIS PAUL… the best point guard on the league on the best team on the west….

  11. Mark – I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said about LeBron. What has set Paul apart from him and pretty much the rest of the candidates is the fact that in the West he is facing tougher opponents more often this season and winning at an unexpected rate. They are 9-1 in their last 10 and 17-3 in their last 20 games. They are 16-5 on the road whereas Cleveland is only 12-12 on the road. When your talking about two players performing at nearly an equal level and have nearly equal importance to their team, I tend to go with the club that is playing better more consistent ball.

  12. Dannie great response to the Camby vs. KG thing on defense. I’m absolutely with you btw on the opponent ppg scored vs. opponent FG% stats…for me, the two most overated stats in basketball: steals and opponent ppg. That is pretty interesting that the Nuggets are ranked 10th in the one that matters, opp. FG%.

    I can’t disagree with everything you’re saying about Camby. Without a doubt he is, and has been for some time now, one of the best help defenders in the game. He’s one of the few big men in the league that really understand the nuances of bball IQ on the defensive end; watching him move without the ball on defense, where he fills in for seems, weakside defensive movement, how he immediately comes to help on drives…these things come to him 2nd nature. And his blocking ability is off the charts.

    That said…I think the reason I’d still vote for KG is because of the one on one defense. I have to ask myself, “If I need someone to guard Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, Pau Gasol, Amare Stoudamire…do I want KG on them, or Camby?” My answer would always be KG…he has a tenacity and intimidation about him with one on one defense that I just don’t think Camby has. KG also is one of the best guys in the game at really preventing the ball from reaching his man on passes…his mix of understanding angles + athleticism, he’s a defensive freakshow lol.

    Camby is an incredible cog to have in the middle that absolutely is a game changer though…and if he did win defense player of the year, I certainly wouldn’t be complaining loudly.

  13. […] Paul – The clear mid-season MVPshould be making his first All-Star game as a starter.  Who would he replace?  Sad to say my […]

  14. WTF!? How did AL JEFFERSON not even get any honorable mentions??? Most-Improved, at the least! If any player in this league had more pressure thrust upon him than anybody else, it is Al Jefferson. HE IS SUPPOSED TO REPLACE K fucking G!!! How does he not even get recognized for his JAW DROPPING play this season? Sure, his team is struggling, but that obviously isn’t a factor in these awards, considering Kevin Durant is the “Best Rookie”. I mean, at least he should have made the second or third All-NBA team… I am sure i’ll be criticized for saying this: Jefferson could easily replace Caron Butler, Amare Stoudemire, or Dirk Nowitzki on the 3rd All-NBA team and do better than any of them. I’m sure most of the NBA nation will recognize how good Big Al is within the next couple years, but it sucks to be in Minnesota and see how good he is and still see him go unrecognized. ..

  15. Dave – I agree. I think KG is a better man to man defender than Camby. And I think Camby is a better help defender. I have seen Camby match up against Duncan and hold his own quick well. So if I had to choose I take KG really only because I know that player has to play offense too and clearly KG is better there and overall. And if KG wins the award I won’t be mad at all.

  16. Andrew – Al Jefferson is definitely worthy of Most Improved honorable mention for sure. But this isn’t his season for All-NBA. Soon though.

  17. Dannie – Well, I’m not as upset over him not making All-NBA honors as I am that he didn’t even get an honorable mention for most-improved…

    Being a Minnesota fan, I hear quite a bit more about the Timberwolves via local news sources, and it’s really unfortunate to see Big Al go, once again, unnoticed, after hearing how upset he was over not even breaking the top-ten in all-star balloting. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t being a whiny little bitch about it or anything, he was just disappointed…as he should be… he’s better than several of the players that will more than likely get the All-Star bid over Jefferson…

  18. Andrew – I added Jefferson thanks for calling me on that misstep.

  19. @ dannie
    andrew bynum is my leading candidate for most imporved player.. too bad he got injured..
    can monta ellis win the award again? is he still eligible for the award? he is still playing fantastic basketball and he continues to improve..

  20. fouledout – No one has ever won this award back-to-back or even twice before.

    Ellis is playing great this season for sure I am most impressed by him shooting over 50% and decreased his turnovers per game by 1. But he hasn’t had as dramatic a jump in performance he did last year. Which is usually the case since the guys that win this award usually have a big spike in minutes played which is why their stats go up. It’s harder to become most improved player when you are already playing 30+ mpg. You really need to excel.

    Depending on how Bynum reacts after his injury the next likely player is Chris Kaman since he kind of came out of no where and Al Jefferson since he is averaging 20+ ppg and 10+rpg.

    Here is a NBA GM Survey (done before the season) with predictions and thoughts for the ’07-’08:
    http://www.nba.com/preview2007/gmsurvey_predictions.html

  21. @ dannie
    haha! so no once has ever won it twice.. thanks for the info..
    well al jefferson and chris kaman are good candidates as well.. al jefferson is playing good basketball even if he is in a losing team. kaman has stepped up in elton brand’s absence. do you think it will affect kaman’s perfomance when brand returns to the clippers?

  22. Fouled, I think losing minutes and playing time always affect a player’s statistics. While without a doubt Kaman has come out this season like a madman intent on proving every critic wrong, if Brand had been 100% healthy this year, Brand would be getting his regular 22, 10 and 2 blocks.

    No matter how good Kaman played, Brand would be taking a whole lot of his rebounds and blocks. I’d give Kaman, playing with this type of passion, with a healthy Brand, about 14 pts and 10 rbs or so.

    Either way, no one can take away from Kaman how hard he’s played this year; I think he really needed to prove to himself he was capable of playing at big man level a few rungs up on the ladder, and he certainly has done just that. This season w/o Brand will do wonders for his confidence, and next year, if Brand returns, they would probably be labeled a top 2-3 frontcourt combo in the L.

    Although I’m hoping our very own Sixers, with our newfound cap space, try to make a serious run at overpaying for Brand in order to bring him here…that would seriously be incredible. Doubt it will ever happen, as we probably only have 12-13 million a year to offer, but sometimes it’s good to dream.

  23. @ dave t
    i can imagine kaman going 15 points 8 rebounds when elton brand returns..

  24. […] people are already ready to give the Rookie of the Year award away to Kevin Durant (see here, here, here, here, here, and a plethora of other places). But I’m one of the VERY minute minority, […]

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