Will LeBron James Win The NBA MVP? Who Will Win The NBA’s Top Awards In 2013?

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An Early Look At The Top NBA Award Winners For 2013

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Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

What do LeBron James, Jerry Stackhouse and James Harden have in common? They are all up for some of the top NBA Awards for 2013.

I realize that 2013 is only a few days old and we still have several more months of fantastic NBA action before the season ends, but here is a preliminary list of award winners for the season.

Our judges reserve the right to change their minds later in the year if anything changes significantly, like if JaVale McGee suddenly starts scoring 45 points a game and leads the Denver Nuggets to the NBA Finals. That is not going to happen, but I love watching McGee play and it was the only way I was going to work him into the Top Awards article for 2013.

This year’s awards features several close races in categories such as MVP and Coach of the Year, and we have some new categories such as LVP, Best Team Based in California and Best Trade.

For Best NBA Team Award, we should probably base it partially on votes by people who don’t see half of the teams play and partially by math formulas fed into seven different computers, as this system works so well for college football. Instead, though, we’ll take the crazy way out and just let the teams play it out and see who is the best. Right now, they may not have the best record, but the Miami Heat look like the best team in the league. The Heat are the defending champions, and they improved in the off-season.

The Heat has a great coach and great players, but does it have the MVP and the Coach of the Year? You’ll have to read on to find out.

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Most Valuable Player

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Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

Most Valuable Player – LeBron James. I would like to see someone like Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant win this award, but right now James is the most dominant player in the game. He is scoring 26.5 points per game, and is shooting 54 percent, which is the best shooting percentage of any of the top 20 scorers in the league. He has developed a solid inside game, he’s shooting a healthy 41 percent from three-point range and he is reliable defender. He runs the floor, rebounds and leads his team, which is the best in the league until someone knocks them off. Anthony and Durant are both having great years, too, and Kobe Bryant is having one of the best statistical years of his career, but right now no one measures up to The King, who is the MVP.

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Coach Of The Year

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Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

Coach of the Year – The NBA has a lot of coaches who are doing great work this season, but this award right now is a contest between Mike Woodson and Vinny Del Negro. A few years ago, you would never have thought that either one would be up for Coach of the Year, and many people didn’t think they would still even be coaching in the NBA now.

Woodson was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks for six years, and the Hawks were always good or okay while he was there. The former New York Knicks player took over in New York last season when Mike D’Antoni was fired, and has turned the team around (although some new players helped in that regard too).

Del Negro, meanwhile, is in his third season coaching the Los Angeles Clippers and has his team ready to challenge for a championship. The Clippers challenging for a title! Can you believe that? He also has been helped by having great talent on his roster, but the former Chicago Bulls coach and former NBA player right now gets the nod for Coach of the Year simply because his team looks to be a little further along.

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Most Improved Player

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Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

Most Improved – O.J. Mayo. The Dallas Mavericks ordered up Mayo on the side in the off-season, and he has been huge for the team so far this year, especially with All-Star Dirk Nowitzki sidelined for much of the early season with injuries. Mayo is scoring 18.6 points per game, up from his 12.6 points per game last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, and is shooting 46 percent from the field, up from just 36 percent last season. He is posting career highs in just about every category, including assists (3.8 per game) and rebounds (3.6 per game) and is doing a little bit of everything for the Mavericks. The Grizzlies appeared to give up on him after last season, but Mayo has become an important ingredient to any success the Mavericks will have this year.

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Defensive Player Of The Year

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Mark D. Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Player of the Year – Serge Ibaka. The Oklahoma City Thunder big man is blocking more than 3 shots per game and is a terrific weak side defender. He rotates well on defense, guards his own man effectively and plays great help defense when opposing players penetrate into the lane. In addition to blocking shots, he is also altering a large number of shots as players try to shoot around him. He is also pulling down 8.5 rebounds per game, which is 24th in the NBA and is key to his team’s defensive success. Ibaka also continues to get better on the offensive end is a really good all-around player.

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Rookie Of The Year

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Kelley L. Cox - USA TODAY Sports

Rookie of the Year – Damian Lillard. The Portland Trail Blazers guard looked great in the summer league, and has been outstanding so far during the 2012-2013 season. He is scoring 18.4 points per game, which is the top for any rookie. In fact, he is the only rookie in the Top 50 in the league in scoring. He is also dishing out 6.4 assists per game, which is also the tops for any rookie and puts him in the Top 20 in the NBA in this category. The NBA has several outstanding rookies this year, but Lillard is playing the best of any of them and is a key component to the up-and-coming Trail Blazers.

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Least Valuable Player

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Debby Wong - USA TODAY Sports

Least Valuable Player – Amar’e Stoudemire. The New York Knicks forward was considered by many to be an elite player a few years ago, and now he looks like a player that the Knicks would love to trade but no one will take. Knicks fans have been concerned that he will hurt the team’s success when is back at full strength and playing full-time, and it is apparent that the team has excelled without him. I still think that Stoudemire is a good player. He’s just paid too much for anyone to trade for him, and the Knicks don’t seem to need him. His agent should receive some sort of award for best contract ever, but the only award Stoudemire is going to pick up this year is LVP.

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Biggest Disappointment

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Howard Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Biggest Disappointment – Andrew Bynum. The Philadelphia 76ers thought they picked up an elite big man and a cornerstone of their franchise when they traded for Bynum last summer. What they got was a player who is constantly hurt and appears to be a huge question mark. Bynum added to his health problems when he injured himself bowling, and the trade has turned out worse than a Lindsey Lohan movie. Of course, Bynum could get healthy, dominate in the paint and turn the 76ers into legitimate contenders, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that any more than I would on Lohan winning an Oscar anytime soon.

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Best Trade

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Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

Best Trade – James Harden to the Houston Rockets. The Rockets made a great move picking up Harden and a few other players for Kevin Martin and a few other players. Harden makes the Rockets playoff contenders, and he is a dynamic and fun player to watch. Other moves such as picking up Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik have also been great for the Rockets, and they are building a team that can be compete for a championship. The trade was also good for Oklahoma City Thunder, since Harden was probably going to leave after this season anyway and picking up Martin and the other players should pay off.

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Best Team Based In California

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Kyle Terada - USA TODAY Sports

Best Team based in California – For once, it’s not the Los Angeles Lakers, who are not even the best team in Los Angeles anymore. The Los Angeles Clippers are now the best team in LA, and the best team in California. The Clippers, who for decades have been worse than pickled pigs feet, are now the talk of the town. The team is deep and it is stacked. All-Star point guard Chris Paul leads the way, but players such as Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes form a solid nucleus. The second-best team in California is now the Golden State Warriors, and they are followed by the Lakers and the Sacramento Kings, who may have to move out of the state to get out of the bottom of this list.

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Best Player You Probably Thought Had Already Retired

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Joe Camporeale - USA TODAY Sports

Best Player You Probably Thought Had Already Retired – Jerry Stackhouse. On Christmas Day, the biggest surprise many people around the country had was seeing Stackhouse on television playing for the Brooklyn Nets, and playing a lot. “He’s still playing?” was the likely reaction around the country, but the forward/guard is playing very well in his 18th NBA season. A career 17.2 points per game scorer, Stackhouse is playing nearly 17 minutes a game this season and is scoring 6 points a game. His stat line is not going to blow anyone away, but he is productive when he is on the floor and he does a lot to help the team. It originally looked like Stackhouse would be a guy who would help the Nets in the locker room and in practice by sharing his knowledge and experience, but he is a key player on the floor. It has been impressive to see.

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Worst Cousin

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John E. Sokolowski - USA TODAY Sports

Worst Cousin – We all have odd family members and cousins we may wish to nominate for this award, but the winner this year looks to be DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings. Cousins has a lot of talent and can be a good player, but he also appears to be a head case, kind of like one of your crazy cousins. He got one coach fired last season, clashed with Head Coach Keith Smart and was suspended this year, and is on his way to becoming a draft bust and a “project” player that will be picked up by numerous teams in future years because of his talent but will never quite find his way.

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