DYC NBA Award Season
Earlier this year, I broke down the 2/3 Awards for the NBA and talked about the biggest stories of the year so far. Well, since then, all the important stories can fall under two umbrellas: Season Ending Awards and Playoffs. I’ll be making some officially official prognostications later on today, but before we get to the business of collectively losing money, I thought it’d be nice to circle the wagons with everyone else on the site who cares about the NBA, and is just as excited as me for the Playoffs. How excited?
With that gif shared, here are Chad and I’s picks for All-NBA Teams, and all the individual awards for the 2014-2015 NBA season.
the Illuminati assign 126 media members vote on three All-NBA Teams, as a way to chronicle the season. And while everyone remembers the big individual awards, the All-NBA Teams have been traditionally considered the best way to get a full snap shot of the year that was. For this, we’ll be sharing Chad’s ballot, followed by my ballot, followed by me ridiculing Chad’s ballot. Fun times!
Chad: Stephen Curry G, Russell Westbrook G, LeBron James F, Anthony Davis F, LaMarcus Aldridge C
Daniel: Stephen Curry G, James Harden G, LeBron James F, Anthony Davis F, Marc Gasol C
Chad: Chris Paul G, James Harden G, Jimmy Butler F, Al Horford F, DeMarcus Cousins C
Daniel: Chris Paul G, Russell Westbrook G, LaMarcus Aldridge F, Paul Milsap F, Tim Duncan C
Chad: Kyrie Irving G, Klay Thompson G, Blake Griffin F, Kawhi Leonard F, Marc Gasol C
Daniel: Kyrie Irving G, John Wall G, Blake Griffin F, Kawhi Leonard F, Al Horford C
This list was sent by Chad, along with the following disclaimer:
“Palmer wouldn’t let me count James Harden as a swingman, which is a load of horsecrap, and I’m a Bane Westbrook apologist for life.”
Ahem. I didn’t let him count Harden as a wing player because he’s CLEARLY a point guard/shooting guard/only source of offense for his team, especially with the late season loss of Patrick Beverley and the non-existence of Dwight this year. No matter how blatantly we played with positions here, I had to draw a line with Harden. That said, there are 20 versions of my list where I eschew the seemingly hometown choice of Horford for the transcendent years from Boogie and DeAndre Jordan.
I left Cousins off because of inconsistency that was not of his own doing; the Kings front office is why he’s on the outside looking in. Blame them Mr. Cousins, they did this. And leaving off DeAndre Jordan is one part a middle finger to his hyperbole prone coach, and one part appreciative head nod to what Al has brought to his squad coming off injury. Besides, the Hawks went all year with no one ever scoring more than 30 points in a game, so it feels right to honor them here.
End of Season Awards
The sad part about these awards is that Chad and I agree on all of them. Either he’s getting smarter or I’m getting…Chad-ier. Either way, it makes me nervous. Like the 2/3 awards, we’re going to hand out the hardware, list the other contenders, and make cases where need be.
MVP: Stephen Curry (Runners-Up: James Harden, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Anthony Davis )
If Chad were writing this, there’s no way that Westbrook gets left of the runners-up list because he’s manically obsessed with making sure Russy gets his due respect. But the MVP race doesn’t go to a single-minded force who failed to drag his team kicking and screaming into the playoffs. It doesn’t go to the young player who saved his coach’s job (along with a good chunk of the front office) by getting his team an 8 seed (Davis). It doesn’t go to the consensus best player on the planet when he takes a two week break mid season (James). And it doesn’t go to a player who while still being the best point guard alive, kept a poorly constructed team together in the midst of losing their second best player, and armed with no bench at all (Paul).
No, the term valuable this season goes to the two most outstanding performers on two of the best teams all year. Both were integral parts of their offense, with Harden being Houston’s literal only option on the offensive side, and Curry masterminding an offensive hydra that blew teams away by a historic margin. Some would argue that Harden had the harder task carrying the Rockets’ injury plagued, poorly shooting roster to it’s final tally of 55 wins, but you risk underselling just how important Curry is to the Warriors attack.
Both stepped up in different ways defensively for their squads. You done laughing? Well finish, I’ve got more words to throw at your face. Curry found great pride in his improved ability, fitting in beautifully one an underrated defensive juggernaut. While Harden hasn’t quite had the renaissance that Curry has on the defensive end, he’s no longer the source of nearly hourly Reddit examinations of how one player can be so bad at defense. He’s still not Scottie Pippen, but considering the energy he has to expend to keep this squad in games with his scoring, I’m surprise we haven’t seen this James all year.
Both players have stand out highlights, and a case can be made for either. But I’ll be dammed if a team can finish with 67 wins, and you don’t recognize the best player on that team.
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green (Runners-Up: Kawhi Leonard, DeAndre Jordan)
That suffocating team defense the Warriors employed that I just referenced? None of it runs without Draymond Green. None of it. He’s the anchor that makes the 67 wins possible, and he can defend 1-5 with little to no drop off. His ability to stymie true centers has allowed the Warriors to play their best brand of basketball with a smaller line up, and see absolutely no drop off in defensive efficiency. As offenses get more mature, look for other teams to mimic the switching, swarming defense Golden State employs. Related: Draymond Green is a restricted free agent this summer. Draymond Green is going to be RICH.
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins (Runners-Up: Alternate Universe Jabari Parker, Nikola Mirotic)
Any further questions?
Sixth Man of the Year: Isaiah Thomas (Runners-Up: Jamal Crawford, Lou Williams)
We agreed that getting traded mid-season because other players hated you and doing your work for the award only since February 19th would not preclude him from winning this. What? They’re our awards.
Most Improved Player of the Year: Klay Thompson (Runners-Up: Rudy Gobert, Jimmy Butler)
Three Warriors taking home hardware? Three Warriors taking home hardware. The media may not agree with us, but I’ll be interested to see what the inaugural Player’s Association Awards give us.
Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer (Runners-Up: FOH)
Ain’t even a race. He won 60 games. With the Hawks. SIXTY.
We’ll be back later today with a full first round playoff preview.
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