The Roar’s 2012/13 NBA regular season awards

Ryan O'Connell Columnist

By Ryan O'Connell, Ryan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

 , ,

56 Have your say

    With the 2012/13 NBA regular season coming to a close yesterday, it’s time to hand out the awards for the league’s highest achievers.

    It will surprise you little to know that I don’t actually receive an official vote, so the following individuals will have to console themselves with being named The Roar’s own prestigious award winners.

    Most Valuable Player: LeBron James

    I dedicated an entire article to this award yesterday, but if you can’t be bothered reading it, all you need to know is that LeBron had one of the greatest individual seasons in NBA history.

    Not only that, but his team had one of the greatest regular seasons in NBA history – winning 27 straight at one stage – and LeBron should therefore be the unanimous winner of the MVP award, with Kevin Durant a little distance behind him, and little known player called Day Light finishing third.

    Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard

    Though Portland fell away in the race for a playoff spot in the West, and he had some issues on the defensive end at times, the Trailblazers point guard is my choice for the award that goes to the NBA’s best first year player.

    Lillard was sensational at times for the Blazers. Showing the benefits of a full four years at college, Lillard was more mature and heady than most rookies, and particularly impressive when you consider that he was playing the hardest position on the floor for inexperienced players.

    In fact, it was this last point that gave him the slight edge over the Hornets’ Anthony Davis, who was able to be brought along just a touch more slowly in New Orleans.

    Considering point guard and centre are the two hardest positions to fill for any team, both the Blazers and Hornets – soon to be Pelicans – should be very happy with their respective young players.

    Defensive Player of the Year: LeBron James

    At the halfway mark of the year, I nominated LeBron James for this award due to his versatility and ability to completely shut down an opposing player.

    Covering every position from point guards to centres, and regularly being switched onto the opposing team’s best player if they were playing well, I see no reason why I should change my earlier prediction.

    Especially when you consider that Dwight Howard wasn’t back to his dominating best after surgey, Tyson Chandler got injured, Andre Kirilenko fell away after the All Star break, and Avery Bradley, Serge Ibaka, Larry Sanders and Luol Deng were good, but not better than LeBron, who should take home this award for the first time.

    Coach of the Year: Gregg Popovich

    Shall we flip a coin? This award could honestly go to any number of worthy candidates and there would be few complaints.

    At the halfway mark of the season, I chose the New York Knicks Mike Woodson.

    Yet whilst there can be doubt he has done a great job, having seen the team in person, it’s clear Jason Kidd has had a large effect on this team from a leadership and tactical point of view.

    Throw in the fact that the team freelances a bit on offense, and it ever so slightly opens the door for another ‘pure’ coaching effort to possibly be rewarded.

    George Karl, Lionel Hollins, Erik Spoelstra, Tom Thibodeau, Frank Vogel, Scott Brooks, Mark Jackson, Kevin McHale and unbelievably, even Vinny Del Negro could all be deserved winners in some people’s eyes. And I’ve probably overlooked someone.

    However, for mine, the coach that does the most actual coaching, and a great job at that, is Gregg Popovich.

    Despite ageing stars and plenty of injuries, the San Antonio Spurs churned out yet another 50 win season – their 14th in a row – and the second best record in the Western Conference.

    An offensive system built on unselfish movement of the ball and high percentage shots, combined with sharp rotations on defense, gets this coach’s son a little bit excited, I have to admit.

    Throw in Pop’s brilliant in-game adjustments, and I believe he’s the best coach in the league, and therefore should be awarded as such.

    6th Man of the Year: JR Smith

    JR Smith was the early season front-runner before he – and the Knicks – hit a bit of a rough patch halfway through the season.

    However, both his team and Smith, in what is surely connected, came good in the home stretch of the season, winning 14 in a row at one stage.

    Smith brought every quality you’d want from a 6th man: explosive scoring, the ability to be effective upon immediately entering the game, a sparkplug when the team needed it, game-winning shots, and above all, embracing his role and realising how important and valuable a game-changer off the bench is.

    Few could have predicted that Smith could be counted upon to consistently provide such qualities, and that’s why he’s also my…

    Most Improved Player: JR Smith

    Smith’s numbers improved across the board, as he established career highs in points, rebounds and assists.

    However, I have to be honest, it wasn’t his numbers that swayed me, it was the way he played. Renowned as a bit of a loose cannon, who displayed terrible shot selection, played poor defence, and was even labelled ‘selfish’, Smith seemed to grow up this year.

    Early on in the season, he was very good on defense, made the extra pass on offense, and generally took good shots.

    That improvement alone may have been good enough to earn him this award, but what put him over the edge and above other candidates was his in-season improvement.

    As the Knicks season fell apart mid-season and Smith’s shooting percentage plummeted, he decided to completely change his game.

    He stopped settling for jumpers, and aggressively drove to the ring, increasing his shooting percentage and his free throw attempts dramatically.

    After shooting 36% with 3.4 free throw attempts per game in January, Smith increased to 44% with 6 attempts per game in March, evidence of him changing his game in order to be more efficient.

    It was a savvy move from a player whose basketball IQ and reliability have been heavily questioned in the past.

    He improved from last season, and he improved within the season. If that doesn’t earn you the Most Improved Player trophy, what does?

    Ryan O
    Ryan O'Connell

    Ryan is an ex-representative basketballer who shot too much, and a (very) medium pace bowler. He's been with The Roar as an expert since February 2011, has written for the Seven Network, and been a regular on ABC radio. Ryan tweets from @RyanOak.

    Do you find yourself logged out of The Roar?
    We have just switched over to a secure site (https). This means you will need to log-in afresh. If you need help with recovering your password, please get in contact.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (56)

    • April 19th 2013 @ 6:04am
      Jared said | April 19th 2013 @ 6:04am | ! Report

      Was Greivis Vasquez in your calculations for most improved player?

      • Columnist

        April 19th 2013 @ 9:55am
        Ryan O'Connell said | April 19th 2013 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        He certainly was. I even think he might win the real award, if I’m honest.

        The award usually goes to someone’s whose minutes increased dramatically, rather than someone who actually improved their game. I think Vasquez improved, but mainly it was his confidence that went up, rather than his skill set. That shouldn’t discount him whatsoever, as confidence is a big part of any improvement, but I’m partial to giving it to players that really changed their game or added to it dramatically. I think Smith was a different player this year, so I thought he deserved it.

    • April 19th 2013 @ 8:05am
      melo-drama said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      MIP – Paul George (honorable mention to JaVale McGee mainly due to his decreased appearances on Shaqtin a Fool aka “The JaVale McGee Show”) Another player that came from nowhere in the last part of the season Reggie Jackson what a steal for OKC!
      Coach of the year – George Karl (Coin toss I think between Pops, Spoelstra and Woodson for second)
      6th Man – Crawford and Smith all season but JR’s run in the Knicks streak to clinch 2nd in the east would have tipped him at the end. Also JR switched his game in the last 6 weeks and showed he can be a real threat in the paint, many denver fans would have liked to have seen that JR back in Denver……
      ROY – Lillard, I but I think if Drummond had stayed Healthy as well as Davis they could have errrrrr maybe pushed Lillard. Also the Syracuse 6th man Dion Waiters proved to be an amazing talent for the Cav’s. Half way through the season this was Lillards award to lose and Portland may have dropped off somewhat Lillard never did.
      DPOY – Noah, Gasol, Allen, James and Sanders prob the closest award this year.

    • April 19th 2013 @ 8:08am
      melo-drama said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      When Daylight drops the Miami Hot in the eastern conf finals, i will shed a tear for you ryan 😛

      • Columnist

        April 19th 2013 @ 9:56am
        Ryan O'Connell said | April 19th 2013 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        He should really be called be called Aylight, because there is so certainly no D in him.

    • April 19th 2013 @ 8:21am
      melo-drama said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      You know Mushi’s will chime in and say JR’s stats are only reflective of the minutes he was playing and he didn’t do anything more efficiently then Lebrons rookie year…… right?

      • April 19th 2013 @ 9:13am
        mushi said | April 19th 2013 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        Except for the Fact that Ryan said his numbers didn’t sway him and there is little to no relevance to introduce Lebron’s rookie year.

        But outside of that you pieced together something coherent and relevant, I’m proud as that the closest you’ve come this entire NBA season to exhibiting rational thought. Next year could be your break out year!

    • April 19th 2013 @ 9:19am
      mushi said | April 19th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      MIP though – I’d be more okay with Melo winning MVP than JR Smith getting this award over Holiday/George/Harden (I think he’s a lock for 6th man though)

      • Columnist

        April 19th 2013 @ 9:59am
        Ryan O'Connell said | April 19th 2013 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        I don’t expect him to win the award – it was a slightly left-field nomination from me. But I was just really impressed with his maturity this year, along with his in-season adjustment to his game. Both were pretty impressive.

        But I think Harden, George or Vasquez will actually get it.

        • April 19th 2013 @ 10:29am
          melo-drama said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          This may even be more left field then JR bt what about Demar DeRozan? He’s improved significantly and I reckon he should get dunk of the year for laying down the law over Bierdrens

          • April 19th 2013 @ 11:47am
            Ryan O'Connell said | April 19th 2013 @ 11:47am | ! Report

            In all complete honesty, I’ve watched no more than approximately 8 Toronto Raptor games all year. It would be pretty irresponsible for me to adjudicate on a player I’ve watched play for less than 10% of his season.

            • April 19th 2013 @ 12:13pm
              melo-drama said | April 19th 2013 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

              You saw the dunk right? thats more important…

    • April 19th 2013 @ 9:56am
      Chaos said | April 19th 2013 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      I’ll put my Houston glasses on:

      Omer Asik needs to be mentioned on DPY or even Most Improved. Went from bench at Bulls to starter to average double-double and finish very high in rebounding. 3.1 to 10.1 points per game and 5.3 to 11.7 boards per game. According to some advanced statistics his presence on the floor defensivly is massive.

      Chandler Parson should be mentioned for Most Improved too. 9.5 points per game to 15.5 points per game and all other statistics and %’s up.

      Also the reigning sixth man of year Harden became a superstar starter and went from 16.8 to 25.9 points per game. He should be in most improved conversation too.

      I’m not saying any of the Rockets should win but they should be in the conversation.

      • Columnist

        April 19th 2013 @ 10:05am
        Ryan O'Connell said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        Yes, they can be in the conversation.

        How about this: “There is no chance Omer Asik/Chandler Parsons are winning any of the major awards.”

        How’s that?

        • April 19th 2013 @ 10:17am
          Chaos said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:17am | ! Report

          80 0 33.5 6.6-15.6 .422 1.9-5.5 .356 3.0-3.9 .762 0.8 4.5 5.3 2.7 0.3 1.3 2.8 1.7 18.1
          76 76 36.3 6.0-12.4 .486 2.0-5.2 .385 1.5-2.0 .729 1.0 4.3 5.3 3.5 0.4 1.0 1.9 1.9 15.5

          Fair enough. Just based on stats (I know they don’t say everything) JR isn’t leaps and bounds above the Houston pinup boy..

          • April 19th 2013 @ 10:18am
            Chaos said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            Damn it. The format worked in the preview.

          • Columnist

            April 19th 2013 @ 10:21am
            Ryan O'Connell said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

            I was only kidding, mate.

            Both deserve to be in the conversation, but I don’t think they’ll win.

    , ,