– By Mike Pendleton, Staff Writer
The first two weeks of the NBA season has provided us with some great eye-popping performances, and some head turning coaching moves (Mike Brown fired from the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin McHale taking a leave of absence from the Houston Rockets). James Harden has risen from sixth man on the Oklahoma City Thunder to superstar on the Rockets.
As always, there will be overflowing reactions on many things in the NBA, there will also be overreactions to the negative teams (Lakers) and even the feel good stories (the Charlotte Bobcats have already won three games).
What also comes along early in the season is predictions. With that being said, here are some early award winners throughout the first two weeks. Some crazy surprises, but then again, who has ever had perfect predictions?
MVP: Rajon Rondo, point guard, Boston Celtics.
Wait, he really didn’t say that, did he? Yes, I did. For those of you who didn’t know, Rajon Rondo is currently on a 31 game streak in which he has 10 assists or more. Furthermore, Rondo has had a double-double in every game this season. With Ray Allen in Miami, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce getting older, head coach Doc Rivers has handed the keys over to Rondo. This is Rajon Rondo’s Celtics. There are shooters all over the roster and enough big men to take pressure off the paint for the feisty point guard. In a surprise, it would not be crazy to see Rondo hoisting up the MVP trophy at the end of the year. Second prediction: Rondo will have at least 6 triple-doubles this year.
Sixth Man: Jamal Crawford, shooting guard, Los Angeles Clippers.
With what is sure to be a shootout for the crown of LA, the Clippers made one of the best off-season acquisitions when they acquired Crawford. For Crawford, he’s always been a lethal scoring threat. He has registered 50 points with three different teams, only the fourth player in NBA history to do so. The journeyman swingman can be a very vital piece to not only the Clippers’ bench, but to a successful season as well. With a point guard such as Chris Paul, the opportunities are endless for Crawford.
Defensive Player of Year: Serge Ibaka, power forward/center, Thunder.
First, it’s unfair that Dwight Howard should’ve won three years in a row, and Tyson Chandler certainly earned it last year, but it seems for the last two seasons, Serge Ibaka could’ve won this award. Ibaka, or “I-Blocka-You,” has rattled his opponents for a 2.5 blocks per game average in his career, but already a 3.6 blocks per game average this season. If anyone tries to take this award from Ibaka this year, they’ll get blocked.
Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard, point guard, Portland Trail Blazers.
The popular pick is Anthony Davis, but the smart pick is Lillard. He’s already brought a whole new atmosphere to Portland, and has put up numbers quickly. While Anthony Davis has already gone through his first injury (a concussion due to an elbow from a teammate), Lillard has competed with the best of him. Through two weeks, he is averaging 18 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. Lillard isn’t from the biggest school of them all (Weber State) but he’s certainly making a big impact for Portland.
Coach of the Year: Mike Woodson, New York Knicks.
Already getting the Knicks off to their best start since 1993-94, at 5-0, the Knicks are a serious team. Once Woodson took over the head coaching job last season, he has had the Knicks on a whole new level. Although they lost to the eventual champion Miami Heat, Woodson has come to give this Knicks team a whole new attitude. Without Amar’e Stoudemire to begin the year, the Knicks moved Carmelo Anthony to power forward and it’s been heaven for the Knicks ever since. If the Knicks and Carmelo in particular can keep this up, Mike Woodson will have a nice trophy in his home.
Most Improved Player: Kemba Walker, PG/SG, Bobcats.
There are many candidates for this award, and probably those more deserving. The Bobcats at a surprising 3-3 have been led by Walker so far. He’s finally got his sidekick to his superman efforts with rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. If MKG and Kemba can keep a solid dynamic duo together, there’s a good chance Kemba can catch the league’s eye. He nearly posted a quadruple-double already in one game this year with 26 points, 8 steals, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds vs Dallas. Kemba may not win it, but he certainly has an opportunity.