Since I have some time now, I'll jump the gun by a couple of days and give you my picks for the NBA regular season awards.
1) Kobe Bryant- Writers tend to get too cute with this award. Well, Kobe is the best player in basketball. He plays on the best team in the best conference. That is enough for me.
2) Chris Paul- The only other guy who has a legitimate argument. Early in the season Mookie and I had a discussion about whether we would rather have Deron Williams or Chris Paul on a team. We both said we would take Paul by a hair. Since then Williams has stepped his game up dramatically. But Paul's play has been so off the charts brilliant, that it's no longer even debateable.
3) Kevin Garnett- Numbers are down across the board, but he doesn't need to carry the load on this. With all due respect to Ray Allen, Garnett's presence in the lineup turned this team from laughing stocks to the best bet to win the championship. I HATE talking about shit like intangibles, but with a guy like Garnett you just can't ignore them.
Conspicuosly missing) Lebron James- When your team fails to outscore it's opponents on the season, I can't put you in the discussion. (Rule does not apply to baseball)
Coach of the Year-
1) Byron Scott- He has already been to two finals as the coach of a Nets team with fairly modest expectations. However, this has to be considered his signature year as a coach. Most people expected the Hornets to finish just above .500 and scuffle for an 8th seed. With two games left in the season Scott still has them competing for a 1 seed in an historically loaded Western Conference.
2) Doc Rivers- Maybe he isn't such a shitty coach after all. Half of last year's Celtics team are wearing T'Wolves jerseys now and playing like dog doo (pardon my French) for another coach. Meanwhile the Celtics are laying waste to the league.
3) Jerry Sloan- It's a shame that Sloan has never won a chapionship, because he is arguably the best coach of his generation. Considering Riley's past couple of seasons, the only guys who belong in the discussion with Sloan are Phil Jackson and Larry Brown.
Rookie of the Year-
1) Henry Rowengartner-
1) Kevin Durant- Mildly disappointing rookie season. He clearly needs to get more rebounds and shoot a higher percentage. Both of those stats should improve as he adds some muscle (in my head I just pronounced the "c" like Popeye). l still expect him to be scoring 30 per game within two seasons.
2) Al Horford- Already a very nice player, but perhaps I'm the only one who doesn't really see a crapload of upside. Don't get me wrong, he'll eventually be good for 16 and 10, but I don't think he'll ever be a great scorer.
3) You guys don't deserve a number 3
6th Man of the Year-
Ginobili is a SMINO (sixth man in name only). In fact he is probably only a sixth man so he can this award, so fuck him. To the rest of the candidates, all I have to say is "get better!". If you aren't one of your team's 5 best players, you don't deserve an individual award.
Most Improved Player-
Another stupid award. Theoretically a player could pop-and-lock at mid-court for a whole season, come back the next year and average 8 and 5 and win this piece of shit. I can't be asked to care.