2012 Awards Watch
COACH OF THE YEAR
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan and Manu Gionobili who had been the core of the Spurs for a decade are in the sunset years of their careers, and while some say they are too old, the Spurs continue to win. The answer to their success is the coaching of Gregg Popovich who has led them to four titles and still has a desire to get one for the thumb, as the remade Spurs were best in the West. Of course Tom Thibodeau of the Bulls should get heavy consideration to win this award in two straight years, as the Bulls had the best record in the East playing without Derrick Rose most of the season.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Taken first overall in the NBA Draft after just one season at Duke, Kyrie Irving helped the Cavaliers begin the road back after a lost season following the departure of LeBron James. Irving played well on both sides of the ball with solid defense, and an 18.5 ppg scoring average that is only going to rise as Kyrie Irving finds his shot. Had Ricky Rubio no gotten injured midway through the season there could have been a great race for the Rookie of the Year, but otherwise it is clear Kyrie Irving was the best rookie in 2012.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
New York Knicks
Where would the Knicks be without Tyson Chandler? The easy answer is on a fishing boat with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, because they would have not sniffed he playoffs, especially with the injuries to Amare Stoudamire and Carmelo Anthony. Before this season defense was the Knicks weak part of their game. However, with the addition of Tyson Chandler they were able to turn things around especially after the coaching change as the Knicks defense turned into a strength.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
Los Angeles Lakers
For years the Lakers have been reluctant to deal Andrew Bynum, as they hoped for him to one day become one of the best Centers in the league. In the truncated 2011/12 season that day finally arrived as Bynum was voted to start in the All-Star Game. As the Lakers won the Pacific it was Andrew Bynum who emerged as the Lakers second best offensive option as he posted a career high 18.7 ppg. Meanwhile he was among the league’s leaders in both blocked shots and rebounds and was injury free all season.
6th MAN AWARD
Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook and James Harden were there driving force for the Thunder as they once again were among the top teams in the Western Conference. However, just as important perhaps was James Harden who provided some lightning off the bench. Harden averaged 21.1 ppg despite only making two starts all season. When James Harden was on the court the Thunder were often unstoppable, as he made it impossible for defenses to double Durant and Westbrook.
A year ago in his first season in South Beach, LeBron James brought down all of his talents, but at times had trouble as he was unable to takeover and make the Heat his team. This year there is no debate that the Miami Heat are LeBron James’ team, as he led the team with 27.1 ppg. Once again the Heat got the second seed in the Eastern Conference, as they are anticipated to face the Bulls again in the Conference Finals. Whether or not this is a successful season for LeBron and the Heat will be determined by the postseason, but there is no doubt he is the regular season MVP.