Welcome to our annual TRU NBA Awards. A fantastic regular season has come and gone. It’s time to hand out some hardware to the best of the best of players in the NBA. Pop open the envelopes to see the award picks for the 2009-10 regular season.
Most Improved Player
Aaron Brooks (Rockets)
Just before the start of the season, Houston’s coach Rick Adelman told his team that someone would have to play like an All-Star to have a successful season. Aaron Brooks embraced that challenge and steered the undermanned Houston Rockets to a 42-win season (best record among non-playoff teams), setting a gajillion individual records along the way. He led the NBA in made 3-pointers, increased his scoring average from 11 Pts & 3 Asts to 20 and 5. That’s the most improvement by any player this season.
Runner-up: Joakim Noah (Bulls)
Sixth Man of the Year
Jamal Crawford (Hawks)
Jamal Crawford should be a lock for this award. It’s not even close. I know I griped about this category last year, but I actually don’t mind giving the hardware to Crawford this year. No other player dominated the game off the bench as well and as consistently as J.C.. He’s a big part of why the Hawks finished the season at No.3 ahead of Boston and Miami.
Rookie of the Year
Tyreke Evans (Kings)
Evans is the best big point guard to enter the league since Magic Johnson. His 20 Pts, 5 Asts, 5 Rebs as a rookie puts him in the same company LeBron Jameas, Oscar Robertson and some dude named Michael Jordan. Enough said.
Runner-up: Stephen Curry (Warriors)
Defensive Player of the Year
Dwight Howard (Magic)
Yes, he’s a man child. Yes, those Ed Hardy ads conjure images of Tri-state Johnny Douches and guidos. But Dwight Howard’s on-court performance makes us forget all about those things. Howard is just the 5th player to lead the league in rebounding and blocks in the same season. He’s the youngest to do it twice. But it’s not just about the numbers. Howard’s probably changed more shots than he’s blocked. An intimidating presence in the paint, he anchors Orlando’s defense with heart and courage. Simply put, Howard is the quintessential defensive center. If he adds a nice jumper to his game, he’ll be the Center you wish your team had. Sidebar: Saying that Howard is better than Bill Russell should make you eligible for a lobotomy.
Runner-up: LeBron James
Coach of the Year
Scott Brooks (Thunder)
Just one year after registering one of the worst records in NBA history (14-68), Scott Brooks elevated a flatlined franchise to a fairytale 50-win finish. Everyone knew the Thunder would someday become a force in the west. No one expected them to do it three years ahead of schedule. Part of Brooks’ adjustment was to move Kevin Durant to the Small Forward position, a more natural fit for the 6’10” scoring machine. Durant was so effective in getting to the charity stripe that he even drew a Michael Jordan comparison from an exasperated Kevin Garnett. By the way, if Phil Jackson keeps complaining about Durant’s preferential treatment, it’s going to be an expensive playoff series for him and the Lakers. Then again, Phil is probably trying to get into the Durantula’s head.
Runner-up: Larry Brown
Most Valuable Player
LeBron is on the brink of doing to other marquee players what Michael Jordan did to his peers in the 90s – make them hate their parents for giving birth to them in the wrong era. In other words, James could easily dominate this award for the next 5 years.
Runner-up: Kevin Durant