By JUSTIN BAXLEY
Photo credit goes to indycornrows.com.
This NBA season has been one for the ages. With two teams on the cusp of 70 wins and a 3-point barrage league wide, I am here to break down the awards around the Association. These players define the best from around the league with a couple of my own superlatives for your reading pleasure.
MVP: Steph Curry
This is a foregone conclusion at this point. The guy isn’t just a walking highlight reel with his ankle breaking and half court shots. No, the baby-faced assassin may be putting together one of the greatest seasons we have ever seen.
Last season, Curry won the MVP award, and there was not much argument. This season, all he has done is score seven more points per game (30.1), grabbed one more rebound per game (5.3) and has shot at a higher rate from the field and the 3-point line (.507 and .453, respectively).
Then he went and shattered his own record for 3-point makes in a season with 343. And counting.
Combine all that with the fact that he has committed less turnovers this season than last. One of the craziest stats is that until last week, he had not had a single one of his 757 3-point attempts blocked. The kid is on another level.
Runner-up: LeBron James
I still believe that LeBron is the best player on the planet. Curry has made huge strides to catch him, but I would still rather have LeBron as my star player. But I’m biased.
LVP: Blake Griffin
I am not talking about on the court. When he has been able to play he has been a force. You can’t ask for more than averaging a double-double with 23 points per game.
What you can ask is that you do not deck one of your friends and fellow co-workers in the face at dinner!!! This is just being stupid.
Griffin was almost healed from his quad injury, and then a week or so before his return he breaks his hand on a guy’s face. The Clippers are still sitting at the four seed in the West, but imagine how good they might have been with Griffin on the court all season.
If and when he returns he could easily become the MVP of the team for a postseason run, but for now he gets the LVP for dumb choices.
Runner-up: Jeremy Lin’s hair
The guy got a foul called on him for hitting a guy with his hair on accident. And he looks like an exotic bird.
ROY: Karl-Anthony Towns
This kid is a star. In his first year in the NBA he already looks like a seasoned veteran.
Towns is averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds and almost two blocks per game. The one stat setting him apart from most big men in the NBA is his ability to shoot and hit free throws at a high rate.
Towns has connected on 81 percent of his free throws this season. You can’t hack-a-Towns, because he will make you pay.
Runner-up: Kristaps Porzingis (Scorzingis)
The Latvian has been one of the biggest surprises of the NBA season. Porzingis gets drafted and booed, then makes all the Knicks fans worship him by becoming the craze across the NBA.
If not for an all-time great season by Towns, the Latvian Nightmare would be your rookie of the year.
OMG Moment of the Year: Stephen Curry beats the Thunder at the buzzer
I could have probably just pointed to any Curry play, and no one would complain.
But this one rises above the rest. Curry banked in a game-winning shot from 38 feet to knock off the Thunder and continue the quest for 73 wins.
Twitter exploded with reactions; Curry was not playing games that night. It was just another feather in a cap that looks like a peacock already. This shot will be one that will be played for years.
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard
They gone ask if he can win this award Back to Back. Joining Curry on the list with back-to-back wins for their respective awards, Leonard is still the best defender in the league, hands down.
He shuts down the other team's number one scorer on a nightly basis. His game on the offensive end has seen a huge jump this season, making him a guy that could creep into the best player discussion in the next couple years. He averages seven rebounds, two steals and one block per game. He is the best on-ball defender in the league. He wins this in a cakewalk.
Runner-up: Hassan Whiteside (Blockside)
In a year Hassan Whiteside could be the one winning this award. He blocks shots at an incredible rate, hitting the 10 mark a couple times this season. He rebounds the ball well and does a good job, overall, of being a good presence down low.
Sixth man of the year: Victor Oladipo
He has been a solid force this season, although inconsistent at times. He dropped 45 points March 18 against Cleveland. It is entirely possible that his numbers are inflated due to his being on the Magic and the recent injury to Vucevic.
But scoring 16 points per game is hard to argue against. He has been a solid contributor off the bench as well as in the starting lineup.
Runner-up: Will Barton
If not for his recent cold streak, I might have been inclined to give this award to Barton. He has been a huge piece for the Nuggets, averaging 15 points off the bench.
Comeback Player of the year: Paul George
Honestly, when I watched George go down with that gruesome injury in the Team USA exhibition game, I was concerned about whether he would ever walk again, much less return to his level of stardom.
I guess I had nothing to worry about. PG-13 came back this season better than ever and proved he is, indeed, still a force to be reckoned with in the NBA.
Over 23 points per game is the most George has ever averaged in his career by a full two points per game. Add in the fact that he is rebounding at the same level as before (seven per game), and he seems to be one of the most well-rounded players in the NBA right now.
If he had any help at all this season, the Pacers could be contending for the Eastern Conference crown.
Runner-up: Cleanthony Early
The guy was shot earlier in the season. He recently came back to play in a game. What a story to see him back on the court. Although, he didn't really receive a warm reception from the Knicks’ crowd.
Most Improved Player: C.J McCollum
McCollum went from averaging seven points per game to just over 20 this year. He started fewer than five games last season but has been a permanent piece in the Blazers’ lineup this season.
Despite losing All-Star Lamarcus Aldridge and swingman Wes Matthews, the Blazers have been competitive. They are currently the five seed in the West and you have to give McCollum some credit. Most people had this team penciled in for the lottery -- not the playoffs.
Runner-up: Steph Curry
I know it sounds insane, but he has gone from MVP to possibly the best player in the world. Steph is averaging seven more points per game and has trashed his old 3-point makes total.
Coach of the Year: David Blatt
Real Coach of the Year: Luke Walton
I'm not kidding. Walton guided the Warriors to a 39-4 record to start the season, including a 24-0 start to set this team on the path to 73. One fan even went as far to say...
He didn't get to coach the All-Star Game. He did win a Coach of the Month award, yet all of his wins were credited to Steve Kerr. Walton really does deserve something. I guess another championship ring will probably be fine.
But for my vote (I don't actually have one), I'm giving him coach of the year.
Runner-up: Steve Kerr
He returned from back surgery and re-took the reigns of the best team in the NBA. Kerr is looking for back-to-back titles in his first two seasons as a head coach. He is currently 131-22 and has won 85 percent of his games. It's another level of winning.
NBA First Team
NBA Second Team
NBA Third Team