NBA 2013-14: Predictions and analysis for season ending awards - Part 1
There remain only three months more to the end of the grinding 82 game NBA regular season and despite the dog fights we are going to witness in the coming weeks for the final few spots in the Playoffs, now is a safe time to start making predictions and debating on who deserves which season-ending honor the most.
These predictions are not going to be about only the MVP race, the most anticipated end of season award, but also the not so much talked about Coach of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year awards.
So here are the set of players who are my picks and who I feel deserve recognition for their productive performances this season.
Most Valuable Player (MVP): – Kevin Durant
According to Laker legend Magic Johnson, the race for the MVP crown is over after Durant’s ridiculous performance of 51 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists including a game winning 3 in a double overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors.
The period Oklahoma City Thunder were without Russell Westbrook helped Durant develop his playmaking and passing game, the biggest gap considered between him and LeBron James, to become a better all-round player. Consistently over this period of games we have witnessed Durant taking lesser shots in quarters on either side of the halftime break, trying to get his teammates involved, before putting on his superman cape in the final 12 minutes.
A key aspect to this MVP race being one of the best we have seen in recent times apart from Durant’s passing game has been his better show on the defensive end of the floor. Silently, on PER rankings, his defensive numbers on small forwards (8.9 to 12.1) and power forwards (9.2 to 12.6) are better than those of James.
The reason behind Magic’s statement has a lot more to do than just Durant filling up the box score. LeBron James’ recent slump in form which has seen the defending champions Miami Heat drop 7 of their last 11 games has been a huge factor in the growing lead Durant has over the reigning 2-time MVP.