The NBA: Awards Watch: 2nd Edition

The season has passed the halfway mark with teams playing over 41 games already and the All-Star break looming in mid-February. It's time to examine how the players have positioned themselves for the different individual awards for the 2012-2013 season.

Here's the link for the 1st Edition 

It's time to check the Top 5 players in each individual award category who continues to play well and amaze us.

Has LBJ overtaken KD for MVP?
(Image by: Associated Press)

1. Kevin Durant, OKC Thunder | Last Rank: 1st
He leads the league in scoring after leaping over Kobe and Melo. He is second to James in PER. Durant is currently shooting 51+ from the field, 91+ from free throws and 41+ from threes. His rebounds and assists are also a career-high

2. LeBron James, Miami Heat | Last Rank: 2nd
LBJ is still the best player and best all-around performer in the NBA but the Heat have not been great in the East. LBJ leads the league in PER and he is shooting a career-high 55% and career-high in boards. He also has 21 double-doubles which puts him 9th in the NBA.

3. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers | Last Rank: Not Ranked
The Clippers are in the top 3 in the West and they are leading the Pacific division by 4.5 games. Paul was instrumental in guiding the Clippers to 17 straight wins and the Clippers are 1-3 in the recent 4 games that Paul has missed. CP3 is 3rd in PER and averages 17 and 9.6 assists.

4. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks | Last Rank: 4th
The Knicks are still within striking range of the Heat for the top record in the East due to Melo's scoring and dedicated focus on defense and ball-sharing. He is 2nd in scoring and his shooting numbers from deep at 42% is a career-high. Surprisingly, Melo is 5th in PER.

5. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs | Last Rank: Not Ranked
Parker has kept the Spurs at the top of the NBA standings. He is the leader of this group having played 45 of their 47 games while Duncan and Manu have missed some games including other rotational players. Parker is averaging 20 and 7.5 while shooting 53% from the floor to lead all guards.

Out of the Rankings: Tim Duncan - 3rd, Zach Randolph - 5th

Andre Drummond has emerged as the top rookie big man for now.
(Image from: Bleacher Report)

1. Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers | Last Rank: 1st
Lillard still leads all rookies in minutes, points, threes made and assists. He also has a couple of game-winning shots and clutch baskets for the Blazers who are fighting for the 8th spot in the West.

2. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons Last Rank: Not Ranked
Drummond leads all rookies in double-doubles at 8 and he is #11 in PER among all NBA players. He only plays 20 minutes but consistently gets almost 8 points and 8 boards and 1.6 blocks per game.

3. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets Last Rank: Not Ranked
Davis is number 2 in double-doubles and PER among rookies after Drummond. His injuries have slowed down his progression and performance but when healthy, among the best big men.

4. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers Last Rank: 2nd
Waiters and Irving are similar to the tandem of Wall and Beal in Washington. The Cavs have a slightly better version since Irving is better than Wall and Waiters has a more balanced perimeter game than Beal for now.

5. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards Last Rank: 5th
Now that John Wall is back, Beal was projected to score more with Wall setting him up. That has not happened often in the past 10 games but they are the backcourt of the future for the Wizards.

Out of the Rankings: Harrison Barnes - 3rd, MKG - 4th

Sixth Man
Kevin Martin has made sure that the Thunder dont miss Harden
(Image from:

1. Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers Last Rank: 1st
Crawford is tied for 2nd in scoring for the Clippers and leads all bench players in points per game. He also leads the NBA in four-point plays and crossover highlights.

2. JR Smith, New York Knicks Last Rank: 5th
Smith is the 2nd best scorer of the Knicks and he's had at least a couple of buzzer-beaters this season. His shot selection needs to improve if he wants to overtake Jamal.

3. Kevin Martin, OKC Thunder Last Rank: 2nd
Martin has replaced Harden with regards to points and efficiency but the playmaking skills and court decisions are not simply the same

4. Carl Landry, Golden State Warriors Last Rank: 3rd
Landry is getting 12 and 7 with 53% shooting for the Warriors in 25 minutes of action. His numbers could go down once Bogut gets regular rotation minutes.

5. Jarrett Jack, Golden State Warriors Last Rank: Not Ranked
Jack and Landry are interchangeable here. Both have thrived coming from the bench and they have propelled the Warriors into playoff contention.

Out of the Rankings - Ray Allen - 5th

Most Improved Player
Nikola Vucevic of the Magic has done a decent job of replacing Dwight
(Image from:

1. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic Last Rank: Not Ranked
Vucevic is 7th in rebounding and tied for 4th in double-doubles. He had a career-high and franchise-record of 29 boards that topped Howard's previous record.

2. Omer Asik, Houston Rockets Last Rank: 2nd
Asik is still averaging a double-double (10 & 11) and he has 19 double-doubles for the year and is 6th in rebounding.

3. Grievis Vasquez, New Orleans Hornets Last Rank: Not Ranked
Vasquez has started all 46 games for the Hornets and he is 3rd in the NBA in assists. He's having a career year in points, assists, rebounds and threes.

4. Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers Last Rank: Not Ranked
Holiday will be a 1st time All-Star this season. He leads the Sixers in points and assists. He is 4th in assists per game and has career-highs in points and assists.

5. Nicolas Batum, Portland Trailblazers Last Rank: 5th
Batum has started in all of their games. He has career-highs in all 5 major statistical categories. He is 6th in threes made.

Out of the Rankings: Anderson Varejao - 1st, OJ Mayo - 3rd, Chandler Parsons - 4th

Joakim Noah will make his 1st All-Star appearance this month
(Image from: USA Today Sports)

1. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls Last Rank: 2nd
Noah is 5th in rebounds and 8th in blocks per game. He is the best post defender on a top-notch defensive team. He also draws a lot of charging foul calls.

2. Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks Last Rank: 5th 
Chandler is 10th in rebounds although his blocks are down this year. He anchors the Knicks' defense which is still Top 10 in the NBA.

3. Larry Sanders, Milwaukee Bucks Last Rank: Not Ranked
Sanders is leading the league in blocks and he is the only one averaging more than 3 per game. Sanders is also having career-highs in points and rebounds.

4. Serge Ibaka, OKC Thunder Last Rank: 4th
Ibaka is 2nd in blocks per game and his rebounding has improved at 8.3 which now leads the Thunder. He also improved his perimeter shooting.

5. LeBron James, Miami Heat Last Rank: Not Ranked
LBJ is the only player able to guard all five positions on the floor. He is the best perimeter defender who has been able to contain Durant and Kobe in the clutch.

Out of the Rankings: Anderson Varejao - 1st, Andrei Kirilenko - 3rd

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