Basketball media members love giving out midseason awards. I have always felt like they are similar to midterm report cards in school; they can either make your day or ruin your mood but at the end of the day, they don’t mean much.
With the start the Portland Trail Blazers have had this season, a lot of midseason award columns are fun to look at because they talk about LaMarcus Aldridge as an MVP candidate, Terry Stotts as a coach of the year candidate and Wesley Matthews as a candidate for the Most Improved Player award.
I figured no time better than the present to give midseason awards a try. I figured I would give my league-wide and Portland specific awards. Let me know what you think…
Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant – Durant has been on a rampage through the league this year. With his running mate, Russell Westbrook, out with a knee injury, Durant has stepped up and played at an MVP level. Against Portland this week, Durant seemed to get any shot he wanted against a great perimeter defender in Nicolas Batum.
Portland Most Valuable Player: LaMarcus Aldridge – This award goes to Aldridge without a doubt. He has elevated his game to an MVP level. The improvements in his game become more and more evident and obvious. Aldridge is putting up rebound numbers with some of the best big men in the league, while at the same time has been super-efficient with his midrange jumper.
Defensive Player of the Year: Roy Hibbert – Hibbert is such a long, physical force. The only basketball player that even compares to Hibbert is Dwight Howard. The main difference between the two of them is that Hibbert actually appears to care on the defensive end of the court.
Portland Defensive Player of the Year: Nicolas Batum – Batum has continued to show how well rounded his game is. There are nights that Batum is a non-factor in the scoring column but can fill the stat sheet up in so many other ways. On the defensive end of the floor, he is so long and athletic that he gives shooters and ball handlers fits.
Most Improved Player: Paul George – It wasn’t too long ago that the Pacers were Danny Granger’s team. When Granger went down with an injury last year, most people counted them out. But George has really developed into an elite, MVP-type player in this league. He is a starter for the Eastern Conference in the upcoming All-Star game and fully worthy of the Most Improved Award.
Portland Most Improved Player: Wesley Matthews – Matthews showed flashes of being a leader last season. You saw the swag he brought to the court and he really helped the young Blazers grow. I’m not sure what happened over the summer but he is a whole new player. He is averaging career-highs with 16.7 points per game, 4.1 rebounds and shooting 42.5% from beyond the arc.
Sixth Man of the Year: Reggie Jackson – Jackson isn’t your typical sixth man but he has a heck of a basketball player. He has stepped in for an injured Russell Westbrook and it’s almost like they haven’t missed a beat. Jackson will put Oklahoma City in a very tough situation when his contract comes up, because Jackson is going to get paid.
Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams – Carter-Williams has been a shining star for the Philadelphia team that has, by a lot of accounts, exceed expectations. He is a very well-rounded player that can contribute in so many ways. He is so long as a point guard that he is going to be an absolute nightmare for opposing point guards in the future.
Coach of the Year: Terry Stotts – Coach Stotts has his team playing so well together, especially on the offensive side end of the court. Nobody expected the Blazers to be hovering around the top couple spots in the competitive Western Conference, yet they have continued to win games that they aren’t supposed to be winning.