Season Awards: Stop the debate -- Dirk is top dog

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» Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:58 am
Season Awards: Stop the debate -- Dirk is top dog

By Tony Mejia
CBS Staff Writer

Dirk Nowitzki limped off on Wednesday night against the Bucks, and his Mavericks still found a way to win their 60th game without him. That they're still in the mix for 70 wins is all on the big German, though, because he's consistently been the best player on the floor this season, even if he has had moments he'd like to have back.

Videotaped misses in clutch situations could be Steve Nash's ammunition if he really, really wants to win his third MVP in a row, but smear campaigns are not his style, and even he's gone on record that his good buddy deserves the award.

If Nowitzki were to retaliate, he would simply have to send voters the names of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird. That's the company Nash would enter if his fabulous season was deemed worthy. Since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan failed to join that exclusive club, there is sentiment out there that Nash shouldn't either.

Bryant and LeBron James will get token votes, but this is a two-man race that Nowitzki will ultimately win.

Red Auerbach Coach of the Year
Tough call here, especially at this juncture, but Utah's Jerry Sloan gets the nod. I'm not going to lie, there's a touch of sentimentality in this vote, because Sloan, for all his years of continued excellence, has never won one.

He deserves this.

Sloan, who has guided the Jazz back to the playoffs after a three-year absence, will win his division, at least 50 games, and has helped coax the development of my top two candidates for Most Improved.

Avery Johnson, especially if he winds up winning 70, is a tremendous runner-up, and Sam Mitchell should finish third for his role in Toronto's resurgence.

Most Improved Player
This is a mental coin flip between Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, the two most obvious candidates. On one hand, Boozer is having a remarkable breakthrough season, but Williams has been amazing, too, rounding out a great tag-team.

My tie-breaker is that while Boozer has never been quite this good, he has his enormous contract for a reason. Before his injuries, he was brought in to be a worthy successor to Karl Malone. Williams was just a rookie last year, occasionally lost, often prodded by Sloan. Now, he's playing at an All-Star level. He's improved more, so he deserves the award.

Other excellent candidates in a big year for breakthroughs include Sacramento's Kevin Martin, New York's Eddy Curry, New Orleans/Oklahoma City's Tyson Chandler and Golden State's Monta Ellis.

Rookie of the Year
Taking into account all the promotional items and what not, this surprisingly turned into a runaway. Roy is R.O.Y., putting up some impressive numbers while becoming the rookie whose team can most rely on him.

That was my criteria in a season where the crop didn't make a huge impact, which is why Toronto's Andrea Bargnani will be my runner-up. Prior to his emergency appendectomy, he offered the Raptors a consistent change of pace with his strong shooting touch, becoming a strong scorer. He might have been able to make a late run at Roy had he not gone down.

Roy is the first-year player who will end the season as the most polished. The Blazers regularly look to him to finish off games, and he responds like a veteran. No one else can make that claim.

Executive of the Year
Toronto's Bryan Colangelo, hands down. He came in with a vision, convinced Chris Bosh to believe in it, and brought it to life by fishing in International leagues and dealing Charlie Villanueva for T.J. Ford.

No one could've expected he'd have the success of an Atlantic Division title this quickly. Now, the Raptors are on the fast track, and there's no denying who is chiefly responsible.

Dallas' Donn Nelson, San Antonio's R.C. Buford, and Houston's Carroll Dawson deserve mention for filling in gaps around their stars with the right pieces.

Defensive Player of the Year
There's not a clear-cut candidate to choose from, because so many players change the game in such different ways. To tell you how tough this is, among the individuals that didn't make my All-Defensive Teams below is Chicago's Ben Wallace, who has won this award four of the last five years, Ron Artest, who won the only time Wallace didn't, and Orlando's Dwight Howard, who is coming along brilliantly.

I'll go with Marcus Camby, the only player in the NBA averaging over three blocks. He managed to stay relatively healthy and has been a force all season.

Sixth Man Award
The roles of a lot of the top reserves get murky because many wind up starting a lot of games, but the true spirit of this award is captured by Phoenix's Leandro Barbosa, who has given the Suns that extra zing when he checks in. He operates at 100 mph, instantly becoming a game-altering presence by increasing the tempo.

Chicago's Ben Gordon and San Antonio's Manu Ginobili have had a drastic impact on games coming off the bench this season, but Barbosa gets my nod.

All-NBA Teams

LeBron James, Cleveland
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
Tim Duncan, San Antonio
Steve Nash, Phoenix
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers

Carlos Boozer, Utah
Chris Bosh, Toronto
Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix
Gilbert Arenas, Washington
Tracy McGrady, Houston

Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
Dwight Howard, Orlando
Yao Ming, Houston
Jason Kidd, New Jersey
Dwyane Wade, Miami

All-Rookie Teams

Brandon Roy, Portland
Rudy Gay, Memphis
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto
Randy Foye, Minnesota
Adam Morrison, Charlotte

Paul Millsap, Utah
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland
Jorge Garbajosa, Toronto
Marcus Williams, New Jersey
Tyrus Thomas, Chicago

All-Defensive Teams

F Josh Smith
F Kevin Garnett
C Marcus Camby
G Kobe Bryant
F/G Bruce Bowen

F Emeka Okafor
F Jermaine O'Neal
C Tyson Chandler
G Jason Kidd
F Tayshaun Prince


I respect Tony Mejia but he has really ignored the play of Biedrins as he hasn't even listed him in his Most Improved Player list.

My awards go to:

Winner = Dirk: He has been his usual great self but this time his team took it up to the highest level
Runnerup = Nash: Same sort of season as the last two but Dirk just able to do a little better this time
Notable mention: Boozer, Lebron, Duncan, Kobe

Coach Of The Year
Winner = Sloan: Jazz have been much better this season and are top 4after missing playoffs the last few years
Runnerup = Van Gundy: Rockets are 5th even with the usual absences of TMac and Yao
Notable mention: Avery Johnson, Mike D'Antoni, Sam Mitchell, Flip Saunders, Greg Popovich

Most Improved Player
Winner = Kevin Martin: He has gotten alot better and is the biggest reason why the Kings aren't a 20 win team
Runnerup = Monta Ellis: Just doing so much and at such a young age. He was a big part of the Warriors not losing every game when Baron and JRich were injured
Notable mention = Andris Biedrins, Deron Williams, Al Jefferson, Carmelo Anthony

Rookie of the Year
Winner = Brandon Roy: Not even close, he has been heads and shoulders above the rest and gotten better as the season progressed
Runnerup = Rudy Gay: Not much better than a few others but been pretty good
Notable mention = Andrea Bargnani, Randy Foye, Adam Morrison, Lemarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap

Sixth Man Award
Winner = Leandro Barbosa: Turned into a great player that is instant offense. Lightening fast and has given the Suns yet another weapon that might put them over the top
Runnerup = Monta Ellis: Instant offense also and also lightening fast. The guy that helped carry a fair bit of the scoring earlier in the season when there was a few injuries
Notable mention = Manu Ginobili, Ben Gordon, Earl Watson, Brevin Knight, Ryan Gomes

Defensive Player of the Year
Winner = Marcus Camby: He was relatively injury free and is a monster on blocks and pretty good with steals also. Great worker that has always been up with the best on defense
Runnerup = Emeka Okafor: Not far ahead of some others but he is a monster with blocks and was getting over 4 a game the first half of the season
Notable mention = Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko

All-NBA Teams

1st Team
G - Steve Nash
G - Kobe Bryant
F - Lebron James
F - Dirk Nowitzki
C - Tim Duncan

2nd Team
G - Dwyane Wade
G - Gilbert Arenas
F - Chris Bosh
F - Carlos Boozer
C - Amare Stoudemire

3rd Team
G - Tracy McGrady
G - Baron Davis
F - Carmelo Anthony
F - Kevin Garnett
C - Dwight Howard

*Yao Ming was just out too long

All-Rookie Teams Regardless of position

Brandon Roy
Randy Foye
Rudy Gay
Andrea Bargnani
Adam Morrison

Lemarcus Aldridge
Paul Millsap
Craig Smith
Jorge Garbajosa
Marcus Williams

All-Defensive Teams Regardless of position

Marcus Camby
Emeka Okafor
Josh Smith
Dwight Howard
Tim Duncan

All-Defensive Teams

Bruce Bowen
Kevin Garnett
Jermaine O'neal
Shawn Marion
Andrei Kirilenko
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Posts: 18315
» Sun Apr 08, 2007 6:47 am
(Don't have much time, so I'll only post each category winner. I'll add comments and the all nba teams later).

Winner = Dirk

Coach Of The Year
Winner = Nate McMillan

Most Improved Player
Winner = Deron Williams (by a hair over Biedrins)

Rookie of the Year
Winner = Brandon Roy

Sixth Man Award
Winner = Leandro Barbosa

Defensive Player of the Year
Winner = Tim Duncan
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Posts: 9163
» Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:47 pm
MVP: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks.

COY: Sam Mitchell, Toronto Raptors.

MIP: Deron Williams, Utah Jazz.

ROY: Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers.

6th Man: Leandro Barbosa, Phoenix Suns.

DPY: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic.
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Posts: 13751
» Tue Apr 10, 2007 8:52 am
Although Dirk's been impressive (60 wins, averaging 25 and 9, ect), I think its a shame that Steve Nash is not going to win the award... purely because historians don't want to give him Tri-MVP's. Whoever had the best season in the NBA shouldn't hinge on players from previous generations. This is just like when JRich got screwed out of his 3rd Slam Dunk title because the judges didn't wanna give him anything that Michael Jordan didn't already have.

Dirk Nowitski's been playing at an MVP level... but, make no mistake, Steve Nash has been the best player in the NBA this season. And I think its a shame that he'll get screwed out of the award purely because people are shaky about the whole 'three MVP' thing. :roll:

BTW, Roy will run away with ROY, Jerry Sloan deserves the COY (even though it'll probably go to Avery Johnson again), Barbosa's 6th Man, Camby deserves DPOY honors, and both Warriors deserve the Most Improved award more than Martin... but he'll get it because his PPG average went up the most and that's the most sparkling, attractive category to those airhead voters. :banghead:

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