Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

April 17, 2008
Awards ballot revealed

My picks are in. Feel free to pick 'em apart in the comments section...

Most Valuable Player

1. Kobe Bryant, Lakers
2. Chris Paul, New Orleans
3. Kevin Garnett, Boston
4. LeBron James, Cleveland
5. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio

Explanation: Bryant made it easy by winning the West, because Paul's season was nothing short of tremendous and the Hornets' season was even more special because no one saw it coming.
But after years of being considered the best player on the planet by almost all of his peers, Bryant finally gets the nod because he won. He was his sensational self on both ends almost from beginning to end, continuing to dominate while working wonderfully with Pau Gasol after the trade and focusing heavily on helping the role players with their roles. And when the award was in the balance, the Lakers were winning eight of nine down the stretch (including Bryant outplaying Paul on April 11) while the Hornets lost four of their last six. In truth, New Orleans lost the West and Paul the MVP at Arco Arena last Saturday, when Paul followed his faceoff with the Lakers with an inexcusable loss and a 4 of 13 shooting night against the Kings. I had this going to LeBron at the halfway point, but there just isn't enough number-crunching in this stat-driven world that can convince me fourth place in the East deserves the brass.

Rookie of the Year

1. Kevin Durant, Seattle
2. Al Horford, Atlanta
3. Luis Scola, Houston

Explanation: Durant nearly blew the award when he continued to get more and more unconscious with his shot selection, but he had a strong second half while showing an unreal ability to score at the next level upon arrival.

Coach of the Year

1. Rick Adelman, Houston
2. Byron Scott, New Orleans
3. Phil Jackson, Lakers

Explanation: A trusted former NBA coach told me the Rockets' talent beyond the two superstars was perhaps the worst among the Western Conference playoff teams, and there they were finishing two games away from the Western Conference crown. They not only reeled off a 22-game winning streak was second longest all time, they won 10 of those games without Yao Ming after his season-ending injury while finishing 19-7 without him overall.

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Kevin Garnett, Boston
2. Shane Battier, Houston
3. Marcus Camby, Denver

Explanation: With the way Bryant and Paul were putting up MVP-type campaigns, I could never buy into the logic of KG taking home that trophy. But since it was his defensive presence that sparked the league's biggest turnaround in history and had the Celtics as the second-best defense in the league, this is a no-brainer in my book. Garnett changed the culture in Boston and was a spiritual leader in every way.

All-NBA First team

F LeBron James
F Kevin Garnett
C Dwight Howard
G Chris Paul
G Kobe Bryant

All-NBA Second team

F Carlos Boozer
F Dirk Nowitzki
C Amare Stoudemire
G Manu Ginobili
G Deron Williams

All-NBA Third team

F Carmelo Anthony
F Paul Pierce
C Tim Duncan
G Tracy McGrady
G Steve Nash.

Explanation: In a round-a-bout way, insisting that Anthony was given a spot meant moving Duncan to atypical third-team territory. Which was just fine by me, considering the Spurs are hardly looking like the belle of this ball and Duncan wasn't nearly as dominant as in the past and he struggled often in recent weeks.

Sixth Man of the Year

1. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio
2. Leandro Barbosa, Phoenix
3. J.R. Smith , Denver

Explanation: Ginobili wins this one going away, Barbosa is an obvious second and Smith is one of the main reasons the Nuggets played well late and grabbed the eighth seed in the West.

Most Improved Player

1. Hedo Turkoglu, Orlando
2. Mike Dunleavy, Indiana
3. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland

Explanation: The league ballot says this award should go to an up-and-comer, but the guideline seems more directed toward ensuring the title doesn't go to a 'Comeback Player of the Year' type than it does keeping a Turkoglu-type from winning it. Eight seasons in, the former Kings draft pick had the ball in his hands like never before (thank you, Stan Van Gundy) and was the benefactor of playing alongside Howard and Rashard Lewis. Still, he set career highs in scoring (19.5 points per game - 6.2 points-per-game increase from last season), field goal percentage (45.6), rebounds per game (5.7), and assists per game (five) for a team that finished 52-30.



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