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2010-2011 NBA Players Awards: Through Matt’s Eyes

Ok, so before the NBA season officially ends, before the individual player awards are handed out, and before the First Off The Bench Playoff Preview Podcast is released, I thought that I should let you know who I thought was at the top of the class for the 2010-2011 season.

I will start with the least obvious/controversial picks and go from there.

Rookie of the Year:

Blake Griffin

Do I even have to waste any of your time explaining this one? DeMarcus Cousins proved that he can play the power forward position that everyone thought he could, but also proved to everyone that he was the head case everyone thought he was. John Wall was injured for most of the season and when he did play he was turnover prone on a horrible team.

Without saying anything about Blake Superior, please just watch this.

Defensive Player of the Year:

Dwight Howard

The Orlando Magic are still going to finish 4th in a surprisingly strong Eastern Conference with one of the top ranked defences in the NBA, despite having Vince Carter as the starting shooting guard until trading him for Hedo Turkoglu. I don’t think either of those two players’ names has ever been mentioned in the same sentence as the term “tough defender”.

On a team full of pure outside shooters and one true forward, Howard was the closest thing to a one-man defence the league has seen, and he did it well. Kudos to the man with shoulders larger than my head.

Sixth man of the Year:

Lamar Odom

Sure why not? I can’t really think of anyone else for this award and an article I read earlier had a panel of about 30 people all pick him. How can they be wrong?

Also, Lamar probably needs this award to pick up his spirits amid the public disappointment coming from his new reality show Khloé & Lamar.

Hey! It’s not all bad. It gets the women in all of our lives a little bit more interested in watching a Lakers game with us.

Coach of the Year:

George Karl

Dealing with life threatening cancer last year, ridding himself of the cancer and thriving afterwards.
Dealing with a team cancer (Carmelo Anthony) for most of this season, ridding the team of the cancer and thriving with a new roster to a level that absolutely no one, including me, thought possible.

Enough said.

Most Improved Player:

Derrick Rose

Last season, with a similar squad minus Carlos Boozer, the Chicago Bulls were struggling to make the playoffs as the 8th and made a quick exit after a loss to the 1st place Cavs. This season, with a new coach and a few new players the Bulls have taken that top spot by storm, breaking the 60 win plateau.

This incredible year-over-year improvement is being accredited to two factors: Derrick Rose and the team’s defence. Right now, Rose is probably the media’s go-ahead favorite for league MVP this season.

The fact is, Rose was on this squad last year. The 2009-10 version of Rose was the star and leader of that team. Would adding a new coach and Boozer to any other team in the NBA result in the same improvement that the Bulls experienced this year? No! The drastic improvement in the Bulls overall performance is closely related to Rose’s improvement from last year, which has been nothing short of drastic!

**Honorable mention to Kevin Love. His stats were off the wall, but his improvement didn’t correlate with team improvement like Rose’s did. Taking the T-Wolves from 15 wins to 17 wins doesn’t cut it, especially with this 14 game losing streak to end the 2010-11 campaign.

Most Valuable Player:

Derrick Rose

Further evidence to why Rose should win the Most Improved Player Award. Going from not receiving a single MVP candidate vote last season, to MVP favorite this season is the text book example of a huge improvement in my mind.

I really wanted to pick someone against the grain here, but it I can’t logically back up any other choice. His team is a chance at the best record in the league. They have locked down first in an ultra top heavy Eastern Conference. The two most important players on the Bulls other than Rose (Noah and Boozer) each missed numerous games due to injury while Rose and the rest of the team continued to rack up wins. And last but not least, if you actually watched some Chicago Bulls games this year, it was pretty easy to tell he is “the guy” on this 60 win Chicago Bulls team.

Hence, I present Derrick Rose, 2010-11 NBA MVP.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattFOTB

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