With the NBA at the halfway point, the award races are going strong. A lot of these are very tight from MVP to Most Improved. Here are the players that would win the award mid-season.
Rookie of the Year- Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
Many will say that Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic has been running away with the rookie of the year award. Doncic landed in a good spot in Dallas and has played at a high level since steeping on the floor. Doncic is currently averaging 20.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5 assist a game while shooting 43.5 % from the field and 37.3 % from three. and has proved to be one of the most clutch players in the league right now.
You can even argue that Doncic’s rookie year has been better than any of the rookies from last years draft class. The Mavericks are 20-23 and are not too far from the playoffs and Luka is the main reason behind it.
Honorable Mentions- Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), Kevin Knox (New York Knicks)
Coach of the Year- Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks)
The Milwaukee Bucks have made what seems like an immediate jump, from being the 7th seed last season to currently the second seed. Some of the credit should go to Mike Budenholzer.
Even though Budenholzer shouldn’t be contributed to all of the Bucks success, he is the main part of it.
Under coach Budenholzer the Bucks have seemed to find some of the things they were lacking such as identity, more spacing on the floor and veteran leadership.
In the offseason, Budenholzer has introduced a pace and space offense which has unlocked the potential in some of the players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez.
Budenholzer has turned the Bucks into a true contender in the NBA.
Honorable Mention- Nick Nurse (Toronto Raptors), Michael Malone (Denver Nuggets)
6th Man of the Year- Spencer Dinwiddie (Brooklyn Nets)
The Brooklyn Nets have seemed to turn everything around. Not too long ago they were the laughing stock of the NBA due to their trade with the Boston Celtics a few years ago.
Now if the season were to end today they would be in the playoffs. Now they are not contenders but they are still a solid team. A big part of this turn around has been due to Spencer Dinwiddie and has constant improvement.
Dinwiddie is averaging 16.7 points and 5 assists on pretty good efficiency as well. Him coming off the bench has given the Nets some depth. Dinwiddie is also coming off a season in which he was a candidate for Most Improved Player you can say that he can even win that award too due to his improvement on his efficiency and scoring while averaging the same amount of minutes.
Honorable Mentions- Dennis Schroder (Oklahoma City Thunder), Domantis Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), Derrick Rose (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Most Improved Player-Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)
Pascal Siakam’s season could not be going any better. Arguably the third best player on the Toronto Raptors with stars Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry.
Siakam last season averaged 7.3 pts and 4.5 rebs, this season Siakam is averaging 15.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting 57.2 percent from the field and 33 percent from three.
Many might not pay attention to Siakam since the focus on the Raptors in mainly Kawhi Leonard. But Siakam has improved drastically every year since coming into the league, so good that has even received votes to be named an All-Star.
Honorable Mentions- Derrick Rose, Buddy Hield (Sacramento Kings), Spencer Dinwiddie, De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings), Zach Lavine (Chicago Bulls)
Defensive Player of the Year- Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Paul George’s second season with the Thunder has been somewhat of a bounce back. George’s defense has been one of the best in the league. Currently, 2nd in steals and is leading the league in total deflections and loose balls recovered.
George almost every night has the job of defending the best wing players of the opposing teams. This includes guys such as Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard just to name a few. That is a very hard task for anybody to do.
You can argue that George is the defensive anchor to the Thunder team and to why the Thunder are ranked 1st in defense in the league
Honorable Mentions- (Anthony Davis, Robert Covington, Myles Turner, Joel Embiid)
Most Valuable Player- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Giannis Antetokounpo has been a man on a mission this year. Currently having a career high in points, rebounds, assist steals and blocks.
Antetokounmpo has been on an absolute tear on both ends of the floor especially on the offensive ends. He is currently averaging 18 points in the paint. This is the most since Shaquille O’Neal averaged 19.6 points in the paint during the 2002-2003 season.
From the start of the season, Antetokounmpo has been consistent with his play which has led to wins.
The Bucks are currently 2nd in the Eastern Conference and have a legitimate chance to makes the NBA Finals.
The Bucks have also been top 5 in both offensive and defensive rating.
If Antetokounmpo stays at this level and keeps the Bucks at the top of the East, the MVP trophy can be his at the end of the season.
Honorable Mentions- James Harden ( Houston Rockets), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets), Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors)