The NBA: Awards Watch: Final Edition

The playoffs are starting this weekend and it's time to reward  the players who have performed very well during the season.

The Top 5 players in each individual award category are listed plus the Coach of the Year and All-NBA Teams.

If you missed the 1st Edition, CLICK HERE

If you missed the 2nd Edition, CLICK HERE

If you missed the 3rd Edition, CLICK HERE

Statistics used are from games until April 16, 2014.

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Kevin Durant will win his 1st MVP after capturing 4 scoring titles
(Image from: USA Today)

MVP

1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder | Last Rank: 1
Kevin Durant is first in scoring and Player Efficiency Rating (a stat that LBJ dominates). KD was spectacular especially when Russell Westbrook missed 34 games. Durant posted a career-high 5.5 assists/game while also collecting 3 triple-doubles and 27 double-doubles. KD also bested Michael Jordan's scoring streak of 40 straight games with 25 points or more.


2. LeBron James, Miami Heat | Last Rank: 2
LeBron James finished 2nd in PER and 3rd in scoring but his rebounds, assists, steals and blocks are all down from last year. His defense has been inconsistent and is nowhere the same level of a season ago. LBJ is still the most complete and best player in the NBA but Kevin Durant has been the most spectacular and consistent player this season.

3. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers | Last Rank: 3
The Clippers survived the 20 games Chris Paul missed due to injury and all other various injuries to Crawford and Redick because Blake Griffin played out of his mind. Griffin elevated his game offensively to a higher level with his better post moves and improved perimeter jumper. Even his FT% is at a career-high 71% and his 24 ppg is also a career-best.

4. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls | Last Rank: Not Ranked
Noah leads the Bulls in assists per game and total assists. He is one of the best passing big men in the NBA. He leads all centers in assists and is 26th overall. He also has 4 triple-doubles (tied for 2nd) while notching career-highs in points, rebounds and assists even when playing less minutes. The Bulls are in the playoffs due to his intensity, hustle and aggressive defense.

5. Paul George, Indiana Pacers | Last Rank: 5
The Pacers still managed to hold on to the top seed in the East due to Paul George finding his scoring during the past 2 weeks. PG24 finished the season with a career-high in points although his rebounds and assists dipped a little bit from last season. His defense is also better and he is arguably the second best perimeter defender in the East after LBJ.

Honorable Mentions: Damian Lillard, Kevin Love, Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, James Harden, Steph Curry


Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo (right) are the top 2 rookies this season
(Image from: Yahoo Sports)

ROY

1. Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers | Last Rank: 1
MCW survived their 26-game losing streak by playing steady and producing decent numbers. Carter-Williams led all rookies in points, rebounds, assists and steals. He also has 15 double-doubles and 2 triple-doubles to lead all rookies. He will be an All-Star in the future.

2. Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic Last Rank: 3
Oladipo had a solid season with  averages of 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists to go with 7 double-doubles and 1 triple-double. He struggled playing PG for the Magic when he is more of a combo guard but moving forward, Oladipo is being groomed to be a full-time starter next year.

3. Trey Burke, Utah Jazz Last Rank: 2
Burke missed training camp and the start of the season with a hand injury and that delayed his acclimation into the NBA. Still, Burke finished okay with averages of 12 points and almost 6 assists. His shooting needs a lot of improvement (38%) but he still managed over 100 threes made.

4. Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks Last Rank: 5
Hardaway led all rookies in threes made while averaging 10 ppg. He also shot 51% overall from the field and that's rare for a rookie guard who takes mostly perimeter shots. His career-high came against the Cavaliers when he scored 29 points and made 6 threes.

5. Gorgui, Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves Last Rank: Not Ranked
Dieng wasn't playing much until Nik Pekovic started missing games. In his last 20 games, Dieng was getting starter minutes and he was producing double-double numbers. Dieng notched 8 double-doubles since March 16 which already puts him tied for 2nd among rookies.

Taj Gibson (left) averaged more 4th quarter minutes than Carlos Boozer

Sixth Man
1. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls Last Rank: 2
Gibson plays more minutes than Carlos Boozer and Taj actually plays more minutes in the 4th quarter. I read somewhere that Gibson leads the NBA (or at least near the top) in minutes played during the last quarter. Gibson is averaging career-highs in points and minutes. He also has 15 double-doubles.

2. Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns Last Rank: 3
The Suns had a solid season and in big part due to Markieff playing a crucial role off the bench. He led the NBA in total points coming off the bench and was 2nd in total rebounds to Taj Gibson. Morris had career-highs in points, rebounds and minutes.

3. Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers Last Rank: 2
Crawford faded from the Sixth Man race due to various injuries later in the season. He missed 13 games where the Clippers went a tidy 10-3. Crawford still led all reserves (although he started 23 games) in points (18.5 ppg) and four-point plays.

4. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs | Last Rank: 3
Ginobili had a decent season for the Spurs in his usual role off the bench. Even with their injuries to Leonard and Green, Manu only started 3 games since he jelled with their second unit. He was also relatively healthy this year which bodes well for their expected long playoff run.

5. Reggie Jackson, OKC Thunder Last Rank: 5
His points per game went down as a reserve (12) than as a starter (14) but Jackson still had a great season for OKC. Jackson averaged career-highs in points, rebounds and assists while playing twice as many minutes from last season.


Gerald Green saw his career resurrected while playing for the Suns
(Image from: SI.com)

Most Improved Player

1. Gerald Green | Last Rank: Not Ranked
Imagine if Green still played for the Pacers. Indy would have a potent second unit. Green more than doubled his points from last season (16 ppg, career-high) and made over 200 threes (4th in NBA).

2. Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns Last Rank: 4
Dragic or Green should win MIP. The Dragon carried the Suns while Eric Bledsoe missed close to 40 games. Dragic had career-highs in points, rebounds and shooting % (over 50 percent).

3. Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers Last Rank: 2
Lance led the NBA in triple-doubles with 5. If there was a stat for "look at me moments", he probably would lead that too. Stephenson led the Pacers in rebounds and assists.

4. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers Last Rank: 4
DJ is #1 in FG% and rebounds per game while 3rd in blocks and tied for 8th in double-doubles. Jordan also averaged career-highs in points, rebounds and blocks.

5. Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings Last Rank: 1
Some missed games and the Kings not factoring in the playoffs diminished the impact of Thomas. He still had an amazing season with career-highs in points and assists while becoming a starter.




DeAndre Jordan became more than just a dunker this season

Defensive Player of the Year

1. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers Last Rank: 1
Jordan became more active defensively this year and his numbers show that. This is the first time he averaged more than 10 boards and 2 blocks for the year. He has been a solid defensive anchor for them.

2. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls Last Rank: 5
Noah is the best defender for the Bulls and they have the #1 team defense. Noah is an excellent rebounder but a so-so shot blocker but he makes up for that with great positioning and hustle.

3. Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets Last Rank: 2
Howard's numbers are somewhat similar to what he had last season in LA. The big difference, the Rockets are winning with him and losing without him (6-5 in games Dwight missed).  

4. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers Last Rank: 3
The Pacers claimed the #1 seed in the East despite of Hibbert playing his worst stretch of basketball in the last month. His numbers are down from last year and the Pacers even slid to #2 in points allowed.

5. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans Last Rank: 5
Davis finished the season tops in blocks and averaged 10 boards. He is an excellent rim protector who is quick and mobile but prone to being at the wrong place or position defensively.

Coach of the Year
1. Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors
2. Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns
3. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
4. Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
5. Jason Kidd, Brooklyn Nets

All-NBA First Team
G - Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
G - James Harden, Houston Rockets
C - Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
F - LeBron James, Miami Heat
F - Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

All-NBA Second Team
G - Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
G - Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
C - Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
F - Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
F - Paul George, Indiana Pacers

All-NBA Third Team
G - Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
G - Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
C - Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats
F - Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks 
F - Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves


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