We're roughly halfway through the NBA season, so it's the perfect time to announce The Last Pick mid-season awards!
These are all being chosen by myself (Oli) so if you disagree with any of my choices, let me know on social media or in the comments below!
Most Valuable Player
Harden is having yet another MVP caliber year, but this time he has the potential to win it.
With splits of 31.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game, the former Thunder sixth man has managed to get Houston into second place in the Western Conference (behind the Golden State Warriors), while linking up well with Chris Paul, a factor which was one of concern at the start of the season.
I've picked him ahead oh LeBron due to the Cleveland Cavaliers poor January performance (3-7) and their standing in the East behind the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors.
Rookie of the Year
Ben Simmons has been amazing all season. His high levels of efficiency mixed with his shooting percentages of 51% from the floor AND a stat line of 16.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game has made him one of the best rookies the league has ever seen.
While not a 'true rookie' (Jason Tatum wins that award), his playing ability is something other teams have to take notes on. And many are wondering if they should all give their rookies a year to develop and grow before starting their career.
Defensive Player of the Year
With Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gobert missing a huge chunk of the season already, we have to look elsewhere for this award.
Joel Embiid immediately fills this gap. He's had an impact when not only defending the rim, but also when he switches out onto the perimeter. If he manages to get a full (ish) season under his belt, Embiid could easily take this award home, while also leading the Philadephia 76ers back into the playoffs.
Sixth Man of the Year
The Clippers mobile small forward has become a vital player in the hunt for a playoff place in the Western Conference, especially with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan both missing time in vital matchups this season already.
He’s putting up averages of 23.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists per game while shooting 45.1% from the field and 40.3% from beyond the arc. All of which are improvements compared to his career averages.
Coach of the Year
The Toronto Raptors are in the hunt for a place in the Eastern Conference finals once more, and a big chunk of that is down to Dwane Casey.
The addition of Serge Ibaka, C.J Miles and OG Anunoby has revitalised what was a tired looking roster, with each player bringing something new to the team.
Ibaka brings some solid rim protection, and support for JV, with will be vital if the Raptors get matched up against the Boston Celtics or Cleveland Cavaliers. C.J Miles can shoot threes, and will shoot threes if he’s left alone and open anywhere behind the arc. The last major addition of the summer came via a draft pick. OG Anunoby is a revelation, and was a total steal. The rookie is able to guard larger guards and more mobile forwards while putting up solid numbers and making the players around him better when he’s on the floor, a rare trait in the NBA.
Most Improved Player
Victor Oladipo has turned himself from a support player in Russell Westbrooks record breaking season to a potential all-star in the space of a single off-season. The move to Indiana and the Pacers is exactly what his career needed and the 25-year-old former Hoosier is now averaging a career high 24.3 points per game on 49% from the field and 41.6% from deep.
In addition to this, he's helped the Pacers get back in to the playoff race yet again, showing how well the team can perform without Paul George.
If you agree or disagree with any of my selections, let me know on social media using the #TheLastPick