Projecting the NBA’s post-season award winners for the 2014-15 season
Most Valuable Player
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Why: He’s the most talented, versatile player in the league and he’s thrown himself into a new/old situation by returning to the Cavs. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t make Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving noticeably better.
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Coach of the Year
Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
Why: Because he should always be in the discussion for coach of the year. His teams are consistently on point defensively. Getting back Derrick Rose and adding Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott should boost the offense.
Rookie of the Year
Nik Stauskas, Sacramento Kings
Why: Because the former Michigan star is full of confidence and there’s immediate opportunity to play for the Kings. You won’t meet many athletes more cocky than Stauskas.
Most Improved Player
Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
Why: Just a hunch that new head coach Quin Snyder, a former Duke point guard, will be a great resource for Burke. Snyder is particularly creative drawing up pick-and-roll plays. Burke is well suited to excel in those plays.
Defensive Player of the Year
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Why: It would be no surprise if Chicago’s Joakim Noah is a repeat winner. But Davis should benefit from the addition of center Omer Asik, freeing Davis up to roam as a shot-blocker/help defender.
Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls
Why: He accepts the importance of leading a second unit, he plays multiple positions, and the Bulls should win a lot if Derrick Rose stays healthy.
First team: G Chris Paul, G Stephen Curry, C Dwight Howard, F LeBron James. F Kevin Durant.
Second team: G James Harden, G Tony Parker, C Al Jefferson, F Blake Griffin, F Kevin Love.
Third team: G Derrick Rose, G Russell Westbrook, C Joakim Noah, F Anthony Davis, F LaMarcus Aldridge.