Most Valuable Player: LeBron James, Miami Heat
In a pole of 30-NBA general managers James was the unanimous pick to capture his second straight MVP award. James is above and beyond the best player in the South East Division. At 28-years-old he’s still in his physical prime and he’s coming off the most efficient season of his career. In 2012-13 James averaged 26.8 points, 8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists all while shooting 57 percent from the field. The scary thing is he says he got better over the summer…
Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
Spoelstra has been the architect of the Heat’s championship runs. He’s done an excellent job of tweaking his offense to better suit Miami’s weapons. By installing James’ as the de-facto point-power-forward and surrounding him with shooters the Heat cause tons of matchup problems. Spoelstra has also done a great job of managing the ego’s that comes along with coaching players that have had plenty of individual success in their careers.
Defensive Player: LeBron James, Miami Heat
James does so much offensively that his defense is often an afterthought. But when he focuses on that end of the floor his combination of size, speed and athleticism can’t be rivaled. At 6’8” 250 pounds James can guard the 1-4 positions easily and even guard smaller 5’s in spurts.
Sixth Man: Ray Allen, Miami Heat
How many teams have the luxury of bringing a future hall of famer off the bench? Allen saved the Heat’s season by burying a clutch three pointer in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs. While he may no longer play big minutes the Heat don’t need him to. At 38-years-old he’s still one of the elite shooters in the game. He made 41.9 percent of his three pointers last season for the Heat.
Best Rookie: Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Often times the rookie of the year award is where opportunity trumps production. As Orlando looks to build towards their future the former Indiana product will get tons of minutes. During summer league Oladipo showed the explosiveness to get to the basket and even experimented with playing point guard. While he may struggle to score in the beginning expect Oladipo to compete defensively from game one.
Most Improved: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Beal averaged 14 points per game as a rookie and if the preseason is any indication there’s no reason to think that number won’t be elevated to the 17-19-ppg range this season. Over the summer Beal worked on his ball handling and he’s attacking the basket with greater authority. Getting an entire season of playing alongside John Wall will only lead to more open shots for Beal.