Who will be the Most Improved Player, Sixth Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Most Valuable Player? Well, I cannot answer that question with the correct answer, but instead, I will give you my choices for each award. This season has been fun and historic, but it is coming to a close. The Spurs tied for the most home wins in a season, the Warriors are going for a record 73 wins, and finally, Kobe is mortal and plays in his final NBA game tonight. Let’s see who wins some awards (hypothetically) in this historic season.
ESPN.COM, BASKETBALL-REFERENCE.COM, AND NBA.COM ARE WHERE I GOT MY STATS. OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
Most Improved Player
#3: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)-
The Greak Freak! A possible point guard next season? That is scary for teams since he is an athletic 6’11”, 222lbs monster. His season was pretty good. The Bucks? Not so much. That is why he takes a hit here and sits at #3. The Bucks finished with a 33-48 record and did not make the playoffs after making the playoffs last season.
Giannis did not dissapoint this season. He was a huge bright spot for this Bucks squad. Giannis (with one more game to go) put up 21 double-doubles and 5 triple-doubles. His minutes went from 31.4 to 35.4. He increased his scoring from 12.7 to 16.8. His rebounds increased from 6.7 to 7.6. His assists increased from 2.6 to 4.3. His steals and blocks also increased from 0.9 to 1.2 and 1.0 to 1.4 respectively. Although he still shot it poorly from the three, he grew upon his field goal percentage, three point percentage, and free throw percentage. His percentages went from .491% to .507% (field goal %), .159% to .260% (three point %), and .741% to .721% (free throw %). He was good enough to be considered for this award.
#2: Hassan Whiteside (Miami Heat)-
Hassan has played in 72 games (with one left to go) this season. He has started 42 of those. I believe not being a starter hinds his MIP case. He has been a major factor for the Miami Heat as they make it to the playoffs this season. Currently, the Heat are sitting at #3 in the Eastern Conference with a 48-33 record. Now let’s get back to Hassan Whiteside.
The only major stat that he did not increase is field goal percentage. Hassan’s minutes per game have been upped from 23.8 to 29.1. His points per game increased from 11.8 to 14.2. His rebounds per game went up from 10.0 to 11.9, which is third in the NBA this season. His blocks per game went from 2.6 to a crazy 3.7, which is first in the NBA. DeAndre Jordan is second and he only has 2.3. Hassan has also put up three games this season where he accomplished a triple-double, as well as 41 double-doubles. Like I said earlier, his field goal percentage declined from .628% to .606%, still putting him at #3 in the NBA. Whiteside has quite a resume for him to possibly win MIP.
#1: C.J. McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)-
What if I told you that the Blazers were not expected to make the playoffs after losing 4/5 of their starters? What if I told you that the Blazers did not care about that. The Blazers will be the 5th or the 6th seed in the playoffs with a record of either 44-38 or 43-39 with one game to go. Damian Lillard was amazing this season as the only remaining starter for the Blazers squad. Another reason why they are so good this season is their shooting guard, C.J. McCollum. Wesley Matthews went to the Dallas Mavericks, allowing C.J. McCollum to slide over to the starting shooting guard spot. Lillard and McCollum are a dangerous backcourt. Let’s not focus on Lillard right now because this is about his teammate, my pick for Most Improved Player.
McCollum has increased his stats across the board. With Matthews departure, his minutes per game increased from 15.7 to 34.8, and he did not disappoint. His points per game increased from 6.8 to 20.9. His rebounds per game went from 1.5 to 3.2. His assists went from 1.0 to 4.3. His steals went from 0.7 to 1.2. He increased all of his percentages as well. His field goal % went from .436% to .448%. His three point % went from .396% to .421%. Lastly, his free throw % went from .699% to .827%. Those number increases, the fact he went from a bench player to a starter due to a starter moving on, and the fact that he has answered the call and helped Lillard lead this team to a playoff seed when they were counted out in the beginning of the season, means he should win this award.
Continue reading “Final Picks for Award Winners”