NBA Award Predictions

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Tomorrow is the 2017 NBA Awards Show! It’s in New York City, hosted by Drake with a performance from Nicki Minaj, and you can watch it all on TNT at 9 pm E.T. There will be 6 awards given to deserving players (one can certainly hope) and a coach. With the event less than 24 hours away, it seems appropriate to make some predictions on who will win each award. And AWAAAAAYYYY we go!…

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Defensive Player of the Year

Finalists:

I feel like Leonard is mostly in this discussion merely because he won the last two NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards. He averaged 0.7 blocks per game (BPG), and 1.8 steals per game (SPG) this season while playing in 74 of 82 games (G) this season. While those are impressive numbers for the NBA, they don’t quite stack up when compared to Green’s 1.4 BPG and 2 SPG playing in 76/82 G and Gobert’s 2.6 BPG and 0.6 SPG playing in 81/82 G. It’s a close call between Green and Gobert (and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of those two names called tomorrow night), but I’m going with Gobert for two main reasons. The first reason is because I feel blocks are slightly more valuable than steals. Why? Blocks tend to be harder to forget as an offensive player. When you have the ball stolen from you, the simple answer is to be more careful with the ball and not get too fancy with dribbling or too careless with passing. When you have your shot blocked, it impacts your shooting motion because you feel like you need to do one or both of two things:

1) Shoot faster and/or

2) Shoot with a greater arc to get over defenders.

There are many players adept at changing their shots, but the majority of them still struggle to maintain their usual shooting percentage when they change their entire shooting motion. The second reason I’m picking Gobert over Green is that he played more games. I place a huge value on the players who stay injury and suspension free to be there for their teams as much as possible.

TheHaysWay Pick: Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz

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Most Improved Player

Finalists:

Two interesting things here:

1) All three of these guys don’t suit up for Team USA for the Olympics, they suit up for Greece, Serbia, and France, respectively.

2) Gobert is already making his second appearance as a finalist in the 2017 NBA Awards.

Due to number 2 there, I’m going to go ahead and remove Gobert from contention for this award because I already chalked up Defensive Player of the Year to his name. It’s another toss-up between two very talented and deserving players in Antetokounmpo and Jokic. I’m going with Antetokounmpo for 3 reasons:

1) The only statistical category that he has digressed in from last season is turnovers per game (TPG), where he averaged 0.3 more per game than he did last season. Everywhere else he has improved, including points per game (PPG) (+6), assists per game (APG) (+1.1), rebounds per game (RPG) (+1.1), SPG (+0.4), and BPG (+0.5). Jokic, on the other hand, averaged 1 more TPG this season as compared to last season, and he also digressed in SPG (-0.2) and fouls per game (FPG) (+0.3).

2) The “Greek Freak” has gone from impressive to a household name, while Jokic hasn’t quite reached household name status as of yet.

3) The Bucks made the playoffs and the Nuggets didn’t. I know the Western Conference is stronger than the Eastern Conference, so also consider this: The Greek Freak was the Bucks’ leader on offense and defense (he led the team in PPG, SPG, and BPG). If you look at those same three statistical categories for Jokic compared to the rest of the Nuggets, he finishes 2nd, T-2nd, and T-2nd, respectively. Now, I know statistics aren’t everything and I would personally argue that Jokic was still the Nuggets’ leader on defense, but I don’t believe there is any argument for Jokic being the Nuggets’ leader on offense. I saw Jokic play in person twice this season and, while I love his ability to hit threes as a center, I personally enjoyed watching offensive performances put on by the likes of Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried more because they were more explosive.

TheHaysWay Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Milwaukee Bucks

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Coach of the Year

Finalists:

This is the easiest one thus far in my mind. I know Spoelstra did a great job with a very talent-less Heat team but frankly, they still missed the playoffs, so I can’t give him this award in good conscience. Popovich is a victim of his own talent: everyone is so used to seeing the Spurs in the playoffs that what he did this season wasn’t really special. D’Antoni made what many considered a risky move by allowing MVP finalist James Harden to play a lot of point guard for the Rockets this season. Did you notice it still says “MVP finalist” in front of James Harden’s name despite the change in role? That plus the Rockets solid playoff season will be plenty to give this award to D’Antoni.

TheHaysWay Pick: Mike D’Antoni, Houston Rockets

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6th Man of the Year

Finalists:

So, this is another great example of why Mike D’Antoni deserves to win the Coach of the Year award: He managed to get two players on his team nominated for the 6th Man of the Year award. Granted, Lou Williams was with the Los Angeles Lakers for a significant chunk (the majority) of the year. Many are picking Eric Gordon to win this award. If it were up to me, he wouldn’t even be eligible. For me, a true 6th Man is a guy who is coming off the bench. Eric Gordon started 15/75 G that he played in this season. I just feel that doesn’t count. Not enough bench time. True bench players should start a MAXIMUM of 9 G. Williams started 1/81 G he played in and Iguodala started 0/76 G he played in. I’m going with Williams:

1) Williams played in more games (I stated previously that I value players who remain injury and suspension free to actually be there for their team as much as possible)

2) Williams averaged fewer minutes per game (MPG) than Iguodala, but still averaged around 7 more PPG. Defensively, Iguodala was a fraction better in both SPG and BPG, but not enough to negate the point differential.

Now, you’re probably thinking about the roles they filled for their teams: the Rockets needed more points than the Warriors and the Warriors needed more defense than the Rockets. Even so, Williams was more proficient at his role than Iguodala was at his. The Rockets traded for Williams for a reason, and I believe this was that reason.

TheHaysWay Pick: Lou Williams, SG, Houston Rockets

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Rookie of the Year

Finalists:

Ok, Embiid is out because he was injured for most of the season. He only played in 31 G. Down to Brogdon (played in 75 G, started in 28 G) and Saric (played in 81 G, started in 36 G). Statistically, they were fairly similar with positions considered. Saric was better in RPG and BPG, Brogdon was better in APG and SPG. But, consider this: Saric ended up starring in a Philadelphia front court that was supposed to feature fellow rookies Embiid and Ben Simmons. He stepped up when those two were injured and he should be rewarded for it.

TheHaysWay Pick: Dario Saric, PF, Philadelphia 76ers

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Most Valuable Player

Finalists:

Westbrook was the first player to average a triple-double in a season since Oscar Robertson did so in 1962–55 years ago! Westbrook also carried possibly the weakest roster in the NBA this season to the playoffs. If he does not win MVP, go stock up on water and food because the apocalypse is starting.

TheHaysWay Pick: Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

A Couple More Things: Not NBA Awards Related

  1. For those of you who have been following me for a couple of years, you might be freaking out about the lack of Fantasy Football postings so far this year. I apologize if I caused alarm with that–with my new college schedule, my summer got off to a later start this year than it had with my high school schedule in the past. I promise, Fantasy Football rankings are in progress now and I hope to have them finished within the next couple of weeks.
  2. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you might have seen the quarrel I got into a couple of weeks ago with some Fresno State/Derek Carr fans. I plan on posting a statement about that in the near future. Of course, considering my recent lack of posting consistency I request that you don’t hold me too strictly to the “near” part of near future.

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on NBA Awards and/or on whatever is on your mind, along with a much appreciated like. Feel free to give me respectful criticism, I appreciate the opportunity to make my blog better. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower to be a MVP for my blog. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow!

Knowledge, Wisdom, Contemplation, Portland Trail Blazers

So, I’ve participated in both of the Wind Ensemble Rehearsals this week…Let’s just say I’m off to a rocky start (it just occurred to me: that phrase may very well come from the Colorado Rockies, because they suck). But, one of the pieces that the Ensemble is performing is from the Three Revelations from the Lotus Sutra composed by Alfred Reed. I looked up the Lotus Sutra and found out that it is one of the most popular and influential Mahayana sutras (thanks, Wikipedia). Then, I realized I had absolutely no idea what a sutra is, so I looked that up next and found out that a sutra is a Buddhist or Jain scripture (assist goes to Wikipedia, again). Anyway, that was kind of a random tangent. It is a beautiful piece. The Ensemble will be performing the second movement, which is called Contemplation. I like to contemplate a great deal of things very frequently, as well, so the title really spoke with me. Having played through the piece, I would say it is as majestic as my contemplation tends to be.

Alright, I have to talk about my Portland Trail Blazers. Two nights ago, they were tied with the Denver Nuggets for the 8th and final playoff spot in the NBA‘s Western Conference, going into a game against those very Nuggets (who, by the way, had been leading the Blazers in the standings for pretty much the whole season. Every time the Blazers got close, the Nuggets would win a few and the Blazers would lose a few). Long story short, the Blazers took down the Nuggets to take a 1 game lead for the 8th playoff spot. Tonight, they played the Houston Rockets on TNT, and they won again. It is VERY apparent that the Blazers want to be in the playoffs, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. My Denver friends always ask me, “Wouldn’t you prefer to have the Nuggets in the playoffs so we can go to a playoff game?” My answer is usually some version of…and this is a highly technical term…”Hell, no!” Go Blazers!

On a side note, but staying with the Portland Trail Blazers, I watched their game against the Houston Rockets this evening because TNT allowed me to stream it. Two major takeaways: 1) Maurice Harkless is slowly changing my mind about his ability to start. He played sensationally tonight. 2) Noah Vonleh is NOT changing my mind about his ability to start. I’m really confused about what he is bringing to the table. He can’t score (that’s left to Damian Lillard, CJ McCullom, and Jusuf Nurkic), he can’t rebound (the Rockets had a RIDICULOUS number of second chance points), and he can’t play defense (the Blazers consistently allow over 100 points per game). Seriously, it’s time to dig deep (and I mean REALLY deep) into anywhere (free agency, the draft, the bench) to find someone who will allow the Blazers to rid themselves of the parasite known as Noah Vonleh. He has been pissing me off to a very high degree.

Also, I think I’ve seen Mike D’Antoni in The Hunger Games

Mike DAntoni vs Philip Seymour Hoffman
…or maybe I’ve seen Philip Seymour Hoffman coaching the Houston Rockets.

Week 1 in the books. I officially start my weekend tomorrow because I get Fridays off this quarter! Yeah!

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If you’ve seen Get Out, you definitely understand that photographers can and should be valued for so much more than their cameras.
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Shout-out to Nash, the best friend anyone could ever ask for.
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I would have used this as the quote of the day, but I didn’t want to be hypocritical. I have yet to focus on any of my strengths because I don’t seem to enjoy any of my strengths.
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Quote of the Day

Knowledge and wisdom. They are often heard to be used interchangeably. I think the biggest difference I’ve ever heard about these two words is, “Wisdom is what old people have.” I’m not sure what five-year-old said that to me, but I think he or she meant that it sort of comes down to actual experience. You can have plenty of knowledge about anything if you Google it enough. To have wisdom, however, you have to go beyond Google and experience that which you are investigating, hands-on. I think this quote also puts those words in similar contexts. Knowledge is your overall awareness of your capabilities, while Wisdom is knowing when not to use your capabilities (which can only be obtained by having experience in moments when using your capabilities was not a good thing). It’s the difference between knowing and understanding. It’s the difference between understanding and practicing. It’s the difference between practicing and applying. It’s the difference between applying and making a difference. Each step is a subtle difference, but in the long run, the range of steps is hugely impactful. So, stop searching for knowledge and experience the acquisition of wisdom…

…It was at that moment that TheHaysWay realized that he was being hypocritical, even though he had chosen this quote specifically to AVOID being hypocritical…

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on contemplation and/or on the Portland Trail Blazers and/or on Mike D’Antoni and Philip Seymour Hoffman being long-lost siblings and/or on the quotes (specifically the quote of the day), along with a much-appreciated like. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower because, you never know, I may be your long-lost sibling just like Mike D’Antoni and Philip Seymour Hoffman. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow.