NBA Big Quetions: Week 10


Every Monday during the NBA season The Hoops Manifesto and its Bloguin bredren team up to answer some of the burning questions from the world of the NBA.  With the NBA reaching its midway point, we announce our mid-season NBA award winners and predict the NBA Finals.

Contributors: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, Diego from Leaving It All On The Court, Philip from Orlando Magic Daily, College Wolf from TWolves Blog and brumbygg and Don from With Malice.



Chris Paul, Hornets – Believe me, I’m surprised by my pick for MVP as much as you are.  But Chris Paul is quietly having a dynamite year, currently leading the NBA in total assists and steals, not to mention steals per game, offensive Win Shares, total Win Shares and Win Shares per 48 Minutes.  But most impressively, he has the Hornets (lead by a rookie NBA coach) on pace for their best season since 2007/08.  He is the best all-around point guard in the NBA, which is quite a title to hold these days. – Jeff Fox

Amar’e Stoudemire, Knicks –
I am not real comfortable making this pick and I think someone else will emerge as the season progresses. But no one has transformed his team in a more dramatic way. The Knicks are no longer the laughing stock in the NBA and Madison Square Garden has some juice again. Is this team one of the contenders in the East? No, they are not. But Stoudemire has shined individually enough to earn some recognition. – Philip

Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks–  For the media members who vote for this award, it’s not going to a player on the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat or San Antonio Spurs. Why? Because there isn’t one clear-cut alpha dog on that team. It is almost a prerequisite to have a 50-win season to win this award. Derrick Rose may get his team to that point, but the Bulls are not a championship-contending team yet. Nowitzki will probably get it simply because he is “the guy” on a championship-contending team that will likely win 50+ games. Whether he can win a championship is another story. – Diego Quezada

Kevin Durant, Thunder – Epic total stud and one of my favorite players in the league.  Love him. – College Wolf

Derrick Rose, Bulls – Sure, Boozer’s presence has helped, but Rose has lifted a Chicago team to being one of the stronger units in the now stacked East.  And they still have Noah to return. – Don

LeBron James, Heat– Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Amare Stoudamire and Dwight Howard have all impressed in different ways so far, but I’m not sure any of them is going to be able to sustain the level over the whole season. Unfortunately, it looks like LBJ is picking up a head of steam, putting up the numbers and, more importantly, leading the Heat to wins. LBJ gets the MVP which is sure to PMO (p#ss me off). – brumbygg

Rookie of the Year

blake griffin

Blake Griffin, Clippers – He’s on his way to winning this award unanimously at the end of the year.  He’s a far more athletic version of Karl Malone.  Scary. – Jeff Fox

Blake Griffin, Clippers –
Is there any other choice? Griffin has taken the NBA by storm and jumped over his competition. Seriously, look at the poster. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and the other rookies are cowering in the background. – Philip

Blake Griffin, Clippers–  To me, this award should be a landslide. A player with such dominating athleticism has not come around since LeBron James. What’s so impressive about him is his all-around game; he has The Incredible Hulk-esque leaping ability, but can also handle the ball extremely well for a power forward and make jump shots. This kid has a chance to really special player in the NBA and may take the Clippers to prominence. – Diego Quezada

Blake Griffin, Clippers – Wall is a sexy pick as well, but he has nowhere near the impact as Griffin on the resurgent Clippers.  Plus he’s got over 20 straight double-doubles and is dominating the competition on a nightly basis. – College Wolf

Blake Griffin, Clippers –  I don’t think anyone else has a chance… Blake’s an explosive moment waiting to happen any time he touches the ball. – Don

Blake Griffin, Clippers –
The other draft studs have failed to impress. Griffin has been all that was expected and more. – brumbygg

Defensive Player of the Year


Dwight Howard, Magic – The most intimidating physical and defensive presence in the League.  And with his improved offensive game this year, could very easily win MVP also. – Jeff Fox

Kevin Garnett, Celtics –
If you are going to make me pick someone not named Dwight Howard (who should win it for a third straight year, but probably will not because voters are lame like that), I would pick Kevin Garnett. Before his recent injury, he was back to playing at his MVP-level and was dominating defensively like he did during Boston’s title run in 2008. If there is anyone that could be bigger on one end of the floor in the Eastern Conference race it is Garnett. – Philip

Dwight Howard, MagicDiego Quezada

Dwight Howard, Magic – Still the best defender in the league, and don’t see that changing anytime soon. – College Wolf

Dwight Howard, Magic – He doesn’t lead the league in blocks at the moment, but no other player in the game changes the way a team plays more than Howard. – Don

Kevin Garnett, Celtics – The resurgence of Kevin Garnett has been a huge reason for the play of the Celtics this season. KG is commanding the paint once again and his absence explains the downturn in the C’s fortunes recently. – brumbygg

Most Improved Player


Kevin Love, Timberwolves – All you need is Love here – what he is accomplishing this year (albeit on a crappy team) is incredible. – Jeff Fox

Brandon Bass, Magic
– Last year Brandon Bass was in and out of the lineup trying to figure out how to play in Stan Van Gundy’s offense and defense. This year, Bass is a starter for a team with championship aspirations and has been one of the more consistent players on the team. Quite a transformation for this young power forward. – Philip

Kevin Love, Timberwolves – I know the rebuttal: “he was already good before.” So? That doesn’t change the fact that he’s averaging 22 points and 16 rebounds per game this year. Last year, he put in 14 ppg and 11 rpg. To average that many rebounds through the first half of the season is nothing less than spectacular. – Diego Quezada

Darko Milicic, Timberwolves – DARKO4MVP – Enough said. – College Wolf

Raymond Felton, Knicks– Did anyone see this coming?  I know a lot of people will point to Kevin Love, but in pursuit of his own individual numbers he does as much damage as good.  Felton’s been amazing at NYK, and in large part the resurgence of the Knicks belongs just as much to him as to Amar’e. – Don

Derrick Rose, Bulls – Derrick Rose has taken it to a new level this year. An MVP candidate and the MIP this season. – brumbygg

Sixth Man of the Year

jason terry 6th man award

Serge Ibaka, Thunder – If Lamar Odom continues to come off the bench the rest of the season, he’ll no doubt be my pick at the end of the year.  But for now, I’m casting my vote for Sergeballu LaMu Sayonga Loom Walahas Jonas Hugo Ibaka.  Still a raw and developing player, I-block-a provides the Thunder with an athletic defensive force off of the bench. – Jeff Fox

Jason Terry, Mavericks– Terry is a fourth quarter wizard and is the one bench player you must always account for, especially in the final 12 minutes. He plays starter’s minutes and is, for all intents and purposes, a starter. But Terry does a good job changing the pace with Jason Kidd out of the game and works well with JJ Barea. Dallas is not back to the top of the West without his efforts. – Philip

Jason Terry, Mavericks – When Dallas was healthy, opposing coaches would gasp when they saw Terry and Shawn Marion come off the bench for the Mavericks. Although Caron Butler is out for the season, putting Marion in the starting lineup, Terry is a player who closes out games better than most. – Diego Quezada

Jamal Crawford, Hawks – College Wolf

Lamar Odom, Lakers – Guy should – by all rights – be an All-Star. – Don

Lamar Odom, Lakers – I tried so hard to type ‘Glen Davis’ here, but I just can’t do it. As much as I ‘dislike’ (feel free to insert a more suitable noun) the Lakers and anyone who plays for them, you can’t go past Lamar Odom in this category. Since coming off the bench he has been a vital component for LA. – brumbygg 

Coach of the Year

gregg popovich mad

Gregg Popovich, Spurs– The Spurs were supposed to be over the hill, yet Popovich has them cruising with the best record in the NBA.  This despite Tim Duncan contributing the least (statistically) he has in his whole career.  A fantastic job by Pop thus far. – Jeff Fox 

Gregg Popovich, Spurs – San Antonio’s title teams were known for vicious defense, and a precise, exacting offense. They were a slow-paced team that not many people wanted to watch. So how did he transform this team into the run and gun Spurs that have the best record in the NBA? Gregg Popovich is that good. – Philip

Erik Spoelstra, Heat –  I know that Spo has D-Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh on his team, but no one came into the season with more of a target on his back than Spoelstra. Amid a 9-8 start to the season, reports surfaced that some players were frustrated with the third-year coach. Since then, Spo has turned the team around, leading them to a tie with the 96-97 team for the best 41-game start in franchise history. He won’t prove anything until he gets to the playoffs, but he withstood the early-season adversity very well. – Diego Quezada

Jerry Sloan, Jazz – Let’s just call this a Lifetime Achievement award for him. Boggles my mind that he’s never won it. – College Wolf

Tom Thibideau, Bulls –   He’s introduced a defensive intensity to the Bulls, and a never-say-die attitude.  Loving what he’s doing there. – Don

Tom Thibideau, Bulls – Anyone who questioned the role of Thibideau in the Celtics past three seasons can see very clearly now what he has been able to do with his own team. He has Chicago playing D like their lives depend on it. – brumbygg

NBA Finals

Lakers over Celtics – I know, a boring pick, but until another team can change my mind, I’m giong with deja vu all over again. – Jeff Fox

Lakers over Celtics– Miami has been playing extremely well, but I still think Boston has the inside track to getting back to the Finals, as long as they are healthy. They can cause a lot of matchup problems for Miami and just play such dominant defense. They would not let the Heat get out on the break. Similarly, I feel the Lakers are still kind of lurking out there and they know how to pace themselves. I think they might have too much speed and can match Boston’s physicality inside. – Philip

Heat over Lakers in sevenDiego Quezada

My preseason pick of the Celtics over Thunder.  Hate the Lakers.  Hate the Heatles.  Go Celtics. – College Wolf

Lakers over Boston – The Lakers complete history and get the three-peat. – Don

Boston over San Antonio
 – Celtics to get past the Heat in the conference finals and defeat the Spurs for banner #18. – brumbygg   


About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto, The MMA Manifesto, & A Dry Heat.