NBA mid-season awards: Durant or James for MVP?

NBA mid-season awards: Durant or James for MVP?
January 27, 2014, 6:00 pm
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Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a shot during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. The Thunder won 111-105.

(Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

Our online relatives at ProBasketballTalk posted their mid-season NBA awards on Monday. The winners are below, their rationale can be found here. Not wanting to be left out, I made picks as well...

Most Valuable Player 

PBT: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Standig: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

*If indeed we're talking most valuable and not simply most talented, then the Seat Pleasant native is the choice over Miam's LeBron James. Durant's recent scoring dominance is both breathtaking and necessary with Russell Westbrook sidelined. This debate isn't settled, other than that it's between Durant and James even though Indiana's Paul George and Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge are doing their best to make the MVP race a crowded one.

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Rookie of the Year: 

PBT: Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers

Standig: Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers

*I would love to pick someone else simply because all the momentum has been the 76ers' point guard since he finished one steal of a triple-double on opening night against the Miami Heat. While Orlando's Victor Oladipo and Utah's Trey Burke have had their moments, they simply don't have the overall numbers to compare with Carter-Williams. In this weak year for rookies, nobody else comes close. The 6-foot-6 guard averages 17.3 points, 6.5 assists and 5.7 rebounds. We're also talking about a player who is afforded a volume shooting opportunity despite making only 40.6 percent of his attempts and 29.8 from beyond the arc. Regardless, MCW is a runaway winner unless something changes dramatically. 

Sixth Man of the Year

PBT: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

Standig: Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers

*Laugh all you want, but Swaggy P's scoring knack has kept a suspect roster competitive much of the season. The ex-Wizard should receive a nice payday out of this during the off-season, even though he still takes a brutal shot one or four times a game. Young might be wise to stay with Mike D'Antoni's offensive schemes regardless.

Coach of the Year

PBT: Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers

Standig: Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns

*Can't argue against Stotts, who has the Trail Blazers contending for the Western Conference when preseason expectations had them simply in the mix for a playoff spot. The argument for Hornacek is that the Suns weren't just thought to be lottery-bound but among the teams vying for the most based ping-pong balls. Instead of owning the league's worst record, Phoenix (25-18) is currently in position to make the playoffs even though they moved veteran assets like Marcin Gortat this off-season. Credit Hornacek's offensive game planning with the turnaround. 

Defensive Player of the Year

PBT: Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

Standig: Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

*The Pacers lead all teams in points allowed (90.2) and defensive field goal percentage (41.3). The guarding prowess starts with the 7-foot-2 man in the middle. Hibbert dominates the paint, ranking second in the NBA with 2.6 blocks.