by Mark Pearsall
After a long 82-game season, some players earned their hardware; here is my opinion on who wins the awards:
Most Valuable Player
Lebron James, Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers
With an oft-injured backcourt, an underachieving Antwan Jamison, and a Shaq who is nearing the sunset of his career, Lebron has led the Cavs to 60+ wins. He is on his way to a scoring title while he is still among the league leaders in assists and rebounds.
Defensive Player of the Year
Dwight Howard, Center, Orlando Magic
Howard shuts down the opposing big man for 40 minutes, what else do you want?
Most Improved Player
Kevin Durant, Guard/Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder
Durant made the jump from a great scorer to an elite all-around player in one year.
Sixth Man of the Year
Jamal Crawford, Guard, Atlanta Hawks
Ever since the days he played for the Knicks, my favorite player, Crawford, has been closing out games better than Mariano Rivera. Every game he comes off the bench and lights up the score sheet.
Rookie of the Year
Stephen Curry, Guard, Golden St. Warriors
Some would give this award to Tyreke Evans of the Kings, but he puts up good numbers for a bad team and is the main option for their offense. Curry, on the other hand, is the second, sometimes third option on the Warriors offensive attack, and averages great numbers for his bad team. His assists numbers are climbing as his scoring. He can bang a three in your face or drive and kick just as good as any veteran point guard.
Dunks of the Year
Dwayne Wade posterizes Anderson Varejao.
Corey Brewer embarrasses Derek Fisher.
Best Game Winning Shots of the Year
Jamal Crawford wins the game for the Hawks against the Suns with a long three-pointer.
Kobe banks in the three over Wade.
Sundiata Gaines hits a three-pointer to beat Lebron and the Cavs, while he is signed on a 10-day contract.
Haircut of the Year
Sorry Ron Artest, Michael Beasley steals the show with the putback dunk, and the ‘fro.