At the end of each regular season, the NBA doles out various awards. This season most fans have been captivated with the race for the MVP award between Kevin Durant and LeBron James. James is a four time MVP and is aiming to win his third straight award while Durant has never won the award. While the MVP is the biggest individual award, the NBA gives out five other major awards that will be decided in the last 10-15 games. These are the Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards. There are many deserving candidates for all of these awards and there is still time remaining in the season for some twists and turns. This article lists which six individuals should win each of the NBA's major awards. The selections are subjective, but they take into account the performances throughout the season and whether early season expectations were met. All statistics and records are valid as of April 2nd, 2014.
6 Michael Carter-Williams - Rookie of the Year (ROY)
Michael Carter-Williams has been the lone bright spot in a dismal season for the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers have a 16-58 record and at one point tied an NBA record by losing 26 games in a row. Despite playing alongside teammates who belong in the D-League, Carter-Williams has posted impressive statistics. In 61 games this season he is averaging 16.5 points, 6.3 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Even though Carter-Williams' statistics have not translated into wins, he is head and shoulders above all other rookies. Carter-Williams leads all rookies in points, rebounds, steals and assists this season.
5 Gerald Green - Most Improved Player (MIP)
4 Jamal Crawford - Sixth Man of the Year (SMOY)
3 Joakim Noah - Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY)
2 Jeff Hornacek - Coach of the Year (COY)
1 Kevin Durant - MVP
There are several players who have had great individual seasons. Joakim Noah has led the Bulls on a surge towards the playoffs without Derrick Rose or Luol Deng. Dirk Nowitzki has carried a Mavericks team that plays no defense to a possible playoff berth. Blake Griffin has developed into the best power forward in the NBA and has the Clippers in third place in the West. These players and several more are worthy of praise, but the MVP has been a two horse race between LeBron James and Kevin Durant. One can make a statistical case for either candidate, but Durant is ahead in two significant ones. He is number one in the NBA in player efficiency and win shares while James is second in both. Team success is a significant component of the MVP award and Durant comes up on top again. The Miami Heat have a 51-22 record in the weaker Eastern Conference while the Oklahoma City Thunder have a 54-19 record in the more competitive Western Conference. While James is correctly acknowledged as the best player in the NBA, Durant has had a better and more consistent season and deserves the 2013/2014 MVP award.
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