The NBA: Awards Watch: Final Edition

The playoffs are coming this weekend and the 2012-2013 regular season is coming to an end. For 16 teams, their season will continue for at least 4 more games. For teams, reaching the playoffs is their reward. For the players, it's individual awards that recognize their achievements and accomplishments for 82 games.

It's time to examine for the fourth and final time how the players have performed for the different individual awards for the 2012-2013 season. The Top 5 players in each individual award category are listed including their ranks from the previous editions. Bonus: the Coach of the Year is listed for the last edition.

Here's the link for the past editions:  1st Edition  2nd Edition 3rd Edition

Statistics used are from games until April 17, 2013.
LeBron James has a lot of things to smile about in the regular season. His 4th MVP is a sure thing and the Miami Heat finished with the best record in the NBA and had a 27-game winning streak
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1. LeBron James, Miami Heat | Last Rank: 1st
The Heat had a 27-game winning streak which was 2nd best in all of professional sports. The Heat finished with the best record in the NBA with 11 games ahead of anyone in the East. LBJ had a 31.69 PER (2nd best in career) while shooting a career-high 56.5% from the floor, averaging career-high in rebounds (8.0) with 36 double-doubles which placed him 9th in the league and the only Small Forward among the top 15. He also had 4 triple-doubles and around half a dozen close "almost" triple-doubles.

2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder | Last Rank: 2nd
Kevin Durant did not win his 4th straight scoring title but finishing 2nd in the MVP race and 2nd in scoring aint bad at all. He also finished second to James in PER and has 3 triple-doubles which is a career-high. KD will finish the season shooting 50+ from the field (career-high) , 90+ from free throws (career-high) and 41+ from threes. Durant did all of these having less shot attempts than Russell Westbrook.

3. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks  | Last Rank: Not Ranked
Melo led the Knicks to a 13-game win streak which was their best streak since 1993-94. He also led the Knicks to a 50-win season and the Atlantic Division title in more than a decade. Melo even managed to overtake Durant in the scoring title to win his first scoring crown. Carmelo had a blistering hot April: 37 points and 10 boards on 54% shooting.

4. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers | Last Rank: 3rd
Chris Paul guided the Clippers to their first Pacific division title in franchise history. Paul also led the Clips to their first 50+ win season in over 40 years. His stats arent too shabby either. CP3 is 3rd in PER and second in assists per game at 9.6, a couple which go to exciting alley-oops to Blake. Defensively, he is a pest on passing lanes with his league-leading 2.43 steals a night.

5a. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers | Last Rank: 5th
The Lakers could make or will be in the playoffs because of Kobe. Sadly, he wont be able to play because of his injury but he did everything he can to get the Lakers to the postseason. In his last 10 games, Kobe averaged 43 minutes and 29 points to go with 6 boards and 8 assists. He was basically doing it all except play good defense which his body cant handle at this stage of his career.

5b. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs | Last Rank: Not Ranked
An even older Tim Duncan (36) has kept the Spurs close to the top of the West. His 18 points and 10 rebounds are his best numbers in the last 4 years. His 2.7 blocks ranks as his 2nd highest for his career. Duncan's efficiency has put him at #6 in PER and as a bonus, TD is shooting over 80% at the foul line.

Out of the Rankings: Tony Parker - 4th

 Damian Lillard is an easy choice for ROY.
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1. Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers | Last Rank: 1st
Lillard has been the best rookie for the whole year and should be the unanimous choice for ROY. He had an impressive 38 points vs Kobe and the Lakers plus another 37 against the Knicks. His best stats would be playing all of their games and averaging almost 39 minutes in the process. Most of the other lottery picks have suffered through a myriad of injuries and less minutes.

2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets Last Rank: 4th
Anthony Davis found his rhythm in the last 2 months of the season where he compiled 9 double-doubles with his 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. The only thing that held him back was his injuries and slow start to the season. Davis ended up playing only 64 games but luckily, nothing serious with any of his minor/nagging injuries.

3. Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors | Last Rank: Not Ranked
Another rookie who played 80 games is Barnes. His numbers arent too great but he was a solid contributor for the Warriors who are going to the playoffs. Curry and Klay have overshadowed his production and minutes were not guaranteed for him. A taste of the postseason could improve his confidence and prepare him better for next season.

4. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards Last Rank: 2nd
Beal played only 56 games because of injuries. He was decent from three-point land with a 39% clip but overall, his shooting was horrible at 41%. That was to be expected for an undersized shooting guard who was also a rookie. His missed games for the latter part of the season which was unfortunate since John Wall and Beal were unable to create a lot of chemistry on the court.

5. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers Last Rank: 3rd
Another injured rookie who played about 60 games. Waiters is similar to Beal in almost every way including his team situation. Waiters is playing with a great point guard in Kyrie Irving but their on-court chemistry has been limited due to injuries to both players. While Beal appears to be better on offense, Waiters is a more polished defender.

Out of the Rankings: Kyle Singler - 5th

JR Smith exploded in the last 2 months of the season, all coming from the bench.
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Sixth Man

1. JR Smith, New York Knicks Last Rank: 4th
JR leads all bench players in scoring at 18.1 which also puts him #18 in the NBA. He had a 3-game burst of scoring at least 32 points during the 13-game win streak of the Knicks. His best improvement: a career-high of 5.3 rebounds per game.

2. Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers Last Rank: 1st
Crawford is 2nd in bench scoring but still #1 when it comes to amazing crossovers and playground style, shake 'n bake moves. Jamal had a hot start to the season when he led the Clippers in scoring but he cooled off by a little bit.

3. Kevin Martin, OKC Thunder Last Rank: 3rd
The Thunder still finished with the best record in the West even with Martin as their 6th man. He does not possess the same play-making skills of Harden but Martin's role as a shooter who does not need the ball often has allowed Durant and Westbrook to take more control.

4. Jarrett Jack, Golden State Warriors Last Rank: 2nd
Jarrett Jack has been a big factor to why the Warriors are back in the playoffs. Jack's leadership and clutch shooting have resulted in big wins for them. He has been great as a backup PG, averaging almost 6 assists a game.

5. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Hornets Last Rank: 5th
Anderson is 2nd in threes made in the NBA and shooting it at 38%. He averaged 16 points and 6 rebounds on a bad Hornets team. He can start on any team as a stretch 4.

Nikola Vucevic has made Orlando fans forget Dwight Howard
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Most Improved Player

1. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic Last Rank: 1st
Vucevic is 3rd in double-doubles with 45 and 2nd in rebounding (Howard is a slot above him in both categories). Nic is averaging 13 points and 12 boards which are easily career-highs. Vucevic has 4 games of at least 20 and 20.

2. Grievis Vasquez, New Orleans Hornets Last Rank: 3rd
Vasquez is 3rd in the NBA in assists with 9 a game and has 25 double-doubles and 1 triple-double. It's a career year for him in points, assists, rebounds and threes. Not a lot of people expected him to be a solid starter.

3. Omer Asik, Houston Rockets Last Rank: 4th
Like Vucevic, the increase in minutes and opportunities have allowed Asik to have a great season. He has 33 double-doubles and is 3rd in rebounding. He will anchor the middle for the Rockets in the playoffs.

4. Paul George, Indiana Pacers Last Rank: 2nd
George is now the leader and best player of the Pacers especially with Granger out for the year. His offensive numbers are better than last year especially his three-point shooting where he has made clutch shots all-season long.

5. Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers Last Rank: 5th
Holiday had a good season individually which was punctuated by an All-Star berth but his team struggled with injuries and will miss the playoffs. Jrue is a better playmaker and passer this year and he has been decent during clutch situations.

Is Marc Gasol the better Gasol brother right now? On defense, YES!
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1. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies Last Rank: 5th
Marc Gasol has anchored the stingiest and grittiest defense in the NBA. His rebounds and blocks dont stand out but his positioning, box outs and defensive presence have allowed the Grizzlies to be the best defensive unit in the league.

2. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls Last Rank: 1st
If Noah played more games, he would probably win the DPOY. Noah has only played 65 games but the Bulls still ended top 3 in points allowed. Joakim was averaging 11 rebounds and 2 blocks to go along with his topnotch hustle plays.

3. LeBron James, Miami Heat Last Rank: 2nd
LBJ can guard at least 4 positions effectively and on some instances, he can defend some centers. He is very good against passing lanes and the idea of being a victim to his chase down blocks have led to botched layups.

4. Larry Sanders, Milwaukee Bucks Last Rank: 4th
Sanders came out of nowhere to partially lead the league in blocks for more than half the season. He will finish in second place to Ibaka but Sanders ranks first in block ratio and blocks per minute.

5. Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks Last Rank: 3rd
The Knicks are 7th in team defense mainly due to Chandler's presence. He gets almost 11 boards a game and a block. Chandler rotates well on pick and rolls and helps on defense often which changes an opponent's shot.

Coach of the Year

1. Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
Spo led the Heat to the best record in the NBA plus guided the defending champs to a 27-game win streak. Spo managed to motivate the Heat into accepting their roles and sacrificing minutes.

2. Mike Woodson, New York Knicks
Woody guided the Knicks to their first division title and 50+ wins in over a decade. He has influenced Melo and JR Smith into becoming better team players

3. George Karl, Denver Nuggets
Karl managed to integrate Iggy into their style of play which resulted in a 50+ win season, a 15-game win streak and the best home record in the NBA.

4. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are still among the elite even with all their injuries. Pop has been able to get maxmium efficiency from Duncan while Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard have grown into better players.

5. Lionel Hollins, Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies are the best defensive team and they played better after trading their top scorer (Rudy Gay). Mike Conley and Marc Gasol have improved under his tutelage.

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