This is week 16 of the 2013-14 regular season edition of HoopsHabit’s NBA Awards Watch. Throughout the season, we cover the potential winners for each award. Make sure to check back every Monday for the up-to-date projections.
Most Valuable Player
In Wednesday’s matchup against the Warriors, James exploded for 36 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, along with the game-winning 3-pointer. The next night, Durant outdid James’ performance against the Lakers with 43 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. George has led the Pacers to the top seed in the Eastern Conference, averaging 22.2 PPG.
Most Improved Player
Davis made the All-Star team in his sophomore season, named as the replacement for Kobe Bryant. He does a little bit of everything for the Pelicans, leading them in points, rebounds and blocks. Thomas is one of the three point guards in the league averaging at least 20 points and six assists. Expect Stephenson to have a strong finish to the season after being snubbed from the All-Star Game.
Rookie of the Year
MCW continues to be a valuable building block for the 76ers franchise going forward, averaging more than 17 points, 6.5 assists and 5.4 rebounds. Oladipo scored 23 points in a one-point win over the Pacers last Sunday. In Utah, Burke is averaging 12.5 PPG and 5.5 APG.
Sixth Man of the Year
J-Smoove is close to being the Clippers second-leading scorer, averaging 18.6 PPG as the team’s sixth man. Young has missed the last four games due to knee injury but is averaging an impressive 16.9 PPG for the Lakers. With a new GM in town, Waiters could be on his way out of town before Thursday’s trade deadline, though he is the Cavaliers third-leading scorer.
Defense Player of the Year
1. Anthony Davis
2. Roy Hibbert
3. Paul George
Davis has a comfortable margin as the league’s top shot blocker, averaging 3.1 BPG. Hibbert’s presence makes more of an impact than what will show up on the stat sheet, as he trails only Davis in blocked shots. George is one of the game’s top two-way players, as Nuggest coach Brian Shaw called him the “best two-way player in the game, including LeBron James.”