The regular season has finally ended. Losers are claiming worthless NBA fantasy titles, scrub teams are going home and Isiah Thomas is about to be fired. One of the most exciting playoffs i can ever remember is also about to get underway, with almost every matchup filled with loads of intrigue and excitement. We will get to our playoff previews later, first lets hand out the awards for the 2008 regular season.
NBA MVP: Kevin Garnett. You will not find a bigger Boston hater than Young Swole, but it is simply impossible to hate on what KG has meant to the Celtics since his arrival. He singlehandedly revived one of the greatest franchise in pro sports history, completely changed the attitude of an entire city that had become apathetic towards pro hoops, and on the court changed the Celtics from a bunch of lazy bums into the top title contender in the whole NBA. I remember the first game of the season against the wizards when KG was so amped up that he shot an airball on his first attempt. Then he settled down and the Celts blew the Wiz out of the building, and pretty much haven't let off the gas pedal since. For winning the most games in the whole NBA, and causing the greatest turnaround in league history, The Big Ticket has to be the man.
2nd: CP3 (An amazing season and the best PG in the NBA, his case would have been stronger if the Hornets had won the west, but they faded a little down the stretch)
3rd: Kobe Bryant. A great season from the Mamba, but Gasol and Bynum were just as integral to the Lakers better season as Kobe was
NBA Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant. For all the bullshit that KD and the Sonics had to go through this year, it is quite incredible the accomplishments that this kid put up. Whereas most rookies fade down the stretch of the long NBA season, Durant only got better and better. He shot over 50% from the field the last 2 months of the season and began to have those career defining games such as when he led the Sonics over the Nuggets in double OT by hitting threes from near 40 feet away. He not only grew physically stronger, but mentally as well. The Sonics were awful all year, but Durant never mailed it in. He instead continued to work hard to improve his game while caring immensely for the fans of a team that was in the yearlong process of being stolen by a consortium of Oklahoma fuckstains and David Stern. Not that they really deserve it, but Oklahoma City fans are going to enjoy watching a perennial all-star for the next 3 years.
2nd: Al Horford (Provided an inside presence for the Hawks, showed no fear against the best big men in the league)
3rd: Rodney Stuckey (Guys like this are why Joe Dumars has the GM game on lock)
NBA 6th Man of the year: JR Smith. This guy may be the most explosive player in the NBA, literally and figuratively. When he has his head screwed on straight he provides the Nuggets with a scoring option that cannot be stopped. He's averaged nearly 20 points off the bench over the last 2 months of the season, and his contribution in the game last week against Golden State saved Denver's season. When he came in they were down by nearly 20 points, after all was said and done the Nugs had pretty much locked up a playoff berth. What more could you ask of a 6th man?
2nd: Louis Williams (Helped the 76ers become the surprise team of the 2nd half of the season)
3rd: Travis Outlaw (Part of a scary young nucleus out in the Pacific Northwest)
NBA Most Improved Player: Monta Ellis. We first saw a glimpse of his talent last spring when the Warriors went on their playoff run, but this year has been a revelation. Ellis is not only the most dangerous and unstoppable player in the open court in the entire NBA, but he may also be the best mid-range jump shooter in the league as well. For a guard to shoot as high of a field goal percentage as Ellis did is unbelievable. As long as he plays in the Golden State system, he will easily average 25 points a game from here on out.
2nd: Al Jefferson (The only bright spot in a dismal Timberwolves season)
3rd: Hedo Turkoglu (Along with Dwight Howard helped turn around the Magic franchise)
NBA Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Garnett. Not only did he provide an intimidating presence in the paint for the Celtics, but by changing the attitude of the team so that defense was their number 1 focus, he helped make the Celtics into the best defensive team in the NBA.
2nd: Manu Ginobili (I hate him as much as any other non-Spurs fan, but this dude is legit)
3rd: DeShawn Stevenson (Anybody with the balls to call out King James, and then actually slow him down is pretty impressive)
NBA Coach of the Year: Byron Scott. For the second time in his career, Scott has now resurrected a moribund franchise and turned them into title contenders. The only reason he was in New Orleans is because Jason Kidd is a huge bitch, but the Nets loss was the Hornets gain. Scott was smart enough to realize what he had in Chris Paul and developed the rest of the team around him. It is obvious his players respect him, which is pretty much the greatest compliment you can give to an NBA coach.
2nd: Rick Adelman (Leading a Rockets team without Yao to 55 wins is remarkable)
3rd: Maurice Cheeks (Coach of the most exciting young team in the Eastern Conference)
All-NBA First Team
G - Chris Paul
G - Kobe Bryant
F - Lebron James
F - Kevin Garnett
C - Dwight Howard
All-NBA Second Team
G - Deron Williams
G - Manu Ginobili
F - Paul Pierce
F - Amare Stoudemire
C - Marcus Camby
All-NBA Third Team
G - Steve Nash
G - Monta Ellis
F - Hedo Turkoglu
F - David West
C - Pau Gasol