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Mamba’s 2010-11 NBA Midseason Awards: And the Winners Are…

will kevin durant be mvp in 2011As we near the All-star midseason break (which for some reason happens 55+ games into the season), it’s time to recap who the overachievers (and in some cases, underperformers) have been thus far in the season. Here we go…

Best NBA Rookie: Demarcus Cousins

Yes, King fans, things may not be as hopeless as they seem (actually, you live in Sacramento – yes they are). That being said, Demarcus Cousins has taken his game to Blake Griffin-esque levels in February, averaging 17.0ppg, 11.4rpg. 1.0spg, and 0.6bpg. Meanwhile, John Wall has faded going into the All-star break. Wall may still prove to be the better NBA player in the long-term, but for my money, Cousins is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

(and by the way, no, I do not count Blake Griffin as a rookie. Redshirts are only allowed in college football)

Most Likely to Have Benefited from Playing on the U.S. FIBA Team This Past Summer: Tie. (Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon)

Note to all coaches with young, upcoming talent: if you want to accelerate their development to elite status, it may not hurt to give Coach K a ring. Love, Rose and Westbrook especially took a quantum leap and have all jumped into NBA elite this year.

Honorable Mention: Lamar Odom. Who’d have ever thought we’d be calling Odom the most consistent Laker?

Best legendary coach to quit in the middle of the seasonLarry Brown

Sorry Jerry – whether we consider  you a great NBA head coach or not, you’re still behind Larry Brown. The same Larry Brown who brought the Clippers to temporary relevance, took Allen Iverson to the NBA Finals, and made Joe Dumars seem like a brilliant GM (huh?). The two are almost polar opposites in terms of what makes them legendary. Larry Brown, in the Pat Riley mold, is the prototypical rent-a-coach, capable of short periods of brilliance followed by player burnout. Sloan made his mark via the amazing consistency of his Utah Jazz teams over a 23-year period.

Most Overrated Player with a High Scoring Average: Monta Ellis

I live in the bay area, so trust me on this one. The Golden State Warriors will never do anything in the NBA as long as Monta Ellis continues to be the featured player in their offense. Without a doubt, Ellis is a great scorer on a bad team,averaging 25.1ppg thus far this season.This does not absolve him of the fact  that he plays no defense, averages only 3.5 assists per game, and over 3 turnovers per game. Worst of all, he’s stunting the growth of the real star of the team, Stephen Curry, from transitioning to an elite level. Advice to Warriors management: trade Ellis for what you can get, and build this team around Curry and Lee.

Distant runner-up: Carmelo Anthony. Controversial choice? Absolutely. But the fact remains that Melo is a no.2 player parading around in the guise of a No. 1.

Most Improved Player: Kevin Love

All-star snub no more — this was an easy one. Kevin Love is putting up a stat line for the ages this year, with 40 consecutive double doubles and averages of 21.3ppg, 15.6rbg, 2.5apg, 47% FG, 88% FT, 43% 3PT. He is up in every statistical category vs. 2009-10 including averaging 7 points and nearly 5 rebounds more per game. He’s also made Al Jefferson a complete footnote in Minnesota Timberwolves history.

Honorable Mention: Russell Westbrook, Wesley Matthews. Russell Westbrook’s stats may not clearly show it, but he has made the jump this year from nice 2nd year player to elite #2 option and point guard on a very good Oklahoma City Thunder team. Wesley Matthews makes this list for really coming out of nowhere to become an extremely credible NBA player at 16.1ppg (not to mention helping keep the Trailblazers somewhat relevant without Roy and Oden)

Coach of the midseason: Greg Popovich

As  much as it kills me to admit this as a diehard Laker fan, Popovich is one of the most underrated coaches in the game.He has an aging Hall of Fame power forward and an overrated point guard as 2 of his 3 best players, but somehow has his team on a pace to win 68 games this year. If you look at the talent disparity between the Spurs and the next 3 best teams (Lakers, Celtics, and Heat), the talent disparity is laughable.

Honorable mention: Tom Thibodeau. The work he has done missing Boozer for a significant chunk of time during the 1st half of the year should not be discounted.

And finally…

Most Valuable Player:  Kevin Durant

Before we make Derrick Rose the default MVP, we need to look over at Oklahoma City. This choice is as much a prediction as it is an assessment of who’s had the best first half. Durantula has been an absolute menace as the season has progressed. In February, he has taken his game to its highest levels of the season, averaging 30.8ppg, 9.8rbp, 3.0apg, and 1.6bpg while shooting 54% from the field. The Thunder have a similar record as the Bulls and a supporting cast that doesn’t differ much in talent (Boozer/Noah/Deng/Korver/Brewer vs. Westbrook/Green/Sefalosha/Kristic/Ibaka) – and yes, I’m counting the fact that Boozer and Noah have each been out roughly half of the midseason to date.


15 Responses to “Mamba’s 2010-11 NBA Midseason Awards: And the Winners Are…”

  1. nice post – but rose is still my mvp

    Posted by BeantownL0vE | February 13, 2011, 8:11 pm
  2. Spurs fan here, nice of you to give Pop some love but explain to me how Tony is overrated? I believe he’s second to Lebron in points in the paint and what people forget is that he is 28 years old. He’s also the only top tier point guard with a couple of rings (3). The knock on him in the past has been his jumpshot and he can hit that mid range shot with ease now. He’s starting to work on his three pointer as well. His assists might not be as high as you’d like, but Tony’s role is to try and get in the paint with his speed and touch around the rim and score. Were he on a below average/mediocre team, Tony would definitely average over 20 points with the increased minutes and lack of talent.

    You forgot to mention an aging Manu as well yet is the team’s leading scorer now that he starts. The Lakers and Celtics do have more talent but mainly only at size. The Spurs have better or at least equal quality players at the guard positions.

    Posted by Khoa | February 14, 2011, 2:17 pm
    • Khoa — thanks for the read and the comment.

      The “is Tony Parker overrated” argument is an interesting one — especially for someone like me who is a Laker fan and has seen many a night where he has scorched the Lake Show. That being said, here is what I see:

      * TP has been a system guy for most of his career, really benefiting from playing with the greatest power forward of all-time, one of the clutchest players in the NBA (in a separate topic, I believe Manu is about as underrated as Parker is overrated), and one of the best coaches in the NBA

      * He is injury prone, having played 82 games only once in his career

      * His passing, 3 point shooting, and defensive skills are all highly questionable for a guard of his caliber.

      * I find it difficult to believe any of the following point guards wouldn’t have achieved the same or more success if they had been playing for the Spurs as well over the same time period (assuming similar stage of career): CP3, D-Will, Kidd, Rose, Roy, Billups, Nash, Rondo

      * He really had one statistical season of note, 08-09 when he averaged 22 with his highest career apg at 6.9

      Overall point here is: I don’t believe TP is a bad point guard. Merely, that he probably should not be considered elite. Instead, closer to the top of tier 2 PGs.

      Posted by Brown Mamba | February 15, 2011, 12:11 am
      • I don’t know how you can say Pop is underrated. They Guy has 4 rings, and he is 4 for 4 in the NBA Finals. Also how you can say Sloan isn’t the best coach to quit mid-season. Pop and the SA organization modeled themselves after what Sloan and the Jazz had. But onto Pop…

        The guy is a genious he and his organization just add guys like puzzle pieces and win win win. The 4 championship teams were all drastically different.

        1999 Championship Team:
        Featured The Admiral, Duncan, Mario Elie, Sean Elliot and Jerome Kersey

        2003 Championship Team: Elie and Kersey had left and David Robinson was a little worn out and not as sharp as he was in ’99. They added vets Danny Ferry, Steven Jackson, Bruce Bowen and Steve Kerr. Additonally they had Manu but he had a small contribution of 7ppg

        2005 Championship Team:
        Duncan, Parker, Manu, Bowen
        Big shot rob, brent barry, and Glen “big dawg” robinson were added

        2007 Championship Team:
        Duncan, Parker, Manu, Bowen, Horry
        This team won the championship starting Fransico Elson/Fabricio Oberto. 95% of NBA fans probably have never even heard of these guys. And Michael Finley

        This team now has:
        Duncan, Parker, Manu, Dejaun Blair, George Hill, Richard Jefferson and Antonio Mcdyess and they have the best record in the NBA.

        Also Tim Duncan is arguably the greatest power forward of all time

        Posted by Pete E. | February 18, 2011, 11:55 am
        • Pete — agree with what you say about Pop, that’s why I call him underrated, he doesn’t get talked about nearly as much as some other coaches.

          Re: Sloan vs. Brown, Sloan was a very good coach, but not in the league of Larry Brown. A quick glance at Larry Brown’s resume suggest overachievement at every point of his careers: Clippers, 76ers, Pistons, etc. As Realist detailed, Sloan is a very good coach, but has rarely dramatically overachieved.

          Re: Tim Duncan, I would take the “arguably” out of your statement. He is the greatest PF of all time. Period.

          Posted by Brown Mamba | February 18, 2011, 3:42 pm
  3. The definition of an NBA rookie is a player with no prior NBA experience. In Griffon’s first year he didn’t set foot on the court in a game therefore he had no experience. So yes, he is a rookie this year according to definition.

    Posted by Rich | February 15, 2011, 2:49 am
    • But Griffin had several advantages over your regular rookie during the course of his year rehabbing
      1. NBA strength and conditioning trainers
      2. NBA shooting coaches
      3. NBA dieticians
      4. NBA assistant coaches to pour over NBA film with,
      5. Unlimited time to devote to basketball without pretending to be an NCAA ‘student’ athlete like Wall and Cousins.
      6. NBA money

      Posted by martink0261 | February 16, 2011, 7:11 am
      • @Rich, I agree that he is an NBA rookie by definition. But he holds an unfair advantage over other rookies.

        Posted by martink0261 | February 16, 2011, 7:13 am
        • Thanks for the comment guys. Two things:

          1. I agree Blake Griffin is “technically” a rookie.

          2. I didn’t want to include him in the conversation because as Martin astutely pointed out, he has had advantages that other rookies don’t get. I wanted to get down to which one of the “true” rookies this year was the best.

          Posted by Brown Mamba | February 18, 2011, 3:45 pm
  4. how can durant be MVP of the league, if hes not even the MVP of his own team?

    Posted by Ricky Amin | February 21, 2011, 2:11 pm
  5. Tony Parker isn’t overrated. In fact, he leads all PG’s in FG% on the team with the best record in the NBA. He’s underrated.

    Posted by FrankPistacchio | February 22, 2011, 2:24 pm
    • Your point makes sense to many people. Yet this is the blog for moderately intelligent people. This isnt espn. Those statements should be saved for those who cannot think critically.

      Just because Parker is making his shots does not mean he is taking hard shots.

      Also you are attributing that if Parker had missed more shots that SA would not be where they are. I would say that if parker missed all of his shots, you would ses a difference. Instead take whatever percentage he is shooting and lower it 5% (X=actual shooting percntage; then Y=X-.05). Then multiply his shots taken by this new percentage.(shots taken=ST; ST*Y=SM (shots made)) Then take that number of made shots and divide it by the number of games played.(SM/GP) Taking into account that maybe 25% of those missed shots were then rebounded by the spurs (to get another possession) and lets say that half of those offensive rebounds turned into made baskets.

      So as of right now lets say that 1/8 of parkers misses turned into made buckets. Multiply this 1/8 with the shots taken (ST*1/8) and those point could be added back on.

      Now take the difference in points per game of the spurs and then of the teams the spurs have played and see if he had as large of an impact on the games the spurs won or lost. It is more about the pace and the way the spurs are able to run the floor after a TO

      Posted by Timmied | February 22, 2011, 4:30 pm


  1. […] A vote for KD for midseason MVP. […]

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