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NBA Midseason Awards

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NBA Midseason Awards

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With the All Star Break nearly over and all 30 teams getting ready to get back to business, it is time to look back at the first half of the 2013-2014 NBA Season. So much has happened so far this season and as usual, many things have happened that were not expected to going into this season.

As expected, the Indiana Pacers are in the hunt for one of the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference but unexpectedly, the Pacers have control of the no. 1 seed with a 2.5-game lead over the defending champion Miami Heat. This is extremely important because many players on the Pacers believe that if they had home court advantage last season in the Eastern Conference Finals, they would have beaten the Heat.

Also as expected, the Oklahoma City Thunder own the best record in the NBA but unexpectedly, they have gotten there without Russell Westbrook for most of the season and have been winning with solid defense and an absurdly red hot Kevin Durant.

Many people thought that the Brooklyn Nets would be fighting for one of the top playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, but right now they are just concerned about getting back to .500 as they are 24-27 at the All-Star break. The Nets got off to a very slow start due to injuries and a lack of chemistry. They have turned things around though, going 14-6 since Jan. 1 after starting the season 10-21. The Nets, as of right now, are seventh in the East and just 2.5 games behind the third seed and Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors. If the Nets were in the far superior Western Conference, they would be 11th in the standings and six games back of a playoff spot.

Now, as the second half of the season begins, here are my midseason awards in the NBA.

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MVP: Kevin Durant

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Durant is out of control this season for a Thunder team that has the best record in the NBA. Since Westbrook went down with a knee injury, the Thunder are 20-7 led by Durant, who is averaging just over 36 PPG, including a stretch when he scored at least 30 points in 12 straight games. For the season, Durant is averaging 31.5 PPG while shooting 52 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range, all career highs. Right now, Durant is proving that there is nobody more valuable to their team than he is, not even LeBron James.

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Defensive Player of the Year: LeBron James

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Since Durant is the MVP, then James is the Defensive MVP. James has deserved to win this award for years, and this is the year for him to do it. He can guard any player and any position because he is fast enough to guard any point guard and big enough to guard any forward or center. James is also responsible for guarding the best player on any given night, and he does it as well as or better than anybody in the league.

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Sixth Man of the Year: Andray Blatche

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Andray Blatche has been a big reason why the Nets have played much better since Jan. 1. When he comes into the game, the team doesn't skip a beat offensively and defensively. For the season, Blatche is averaging 11.6 PPG and shooting 47.4 percent from the field in only 21.8 minutes per game. Blatche is so valuable to the Nets because his presence allows head coach Jason Kidd to rest Garnett and not have to play him a lot of minutes.

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Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Carter-Williams is having an excellent rookie season for a very bad Philadelphia 76ers team. Carter Williams is averaging 17.1 PPG while shooting 39.6 percent from the field. His field goal percentage isn't great, but he has a great knack for finding open teammates, averaging 6.5 assists per game. As Carter Williams gets older, he is only going to get better and more comfortable playing the point guard position for the 76ers.

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NBA Champion Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers will finally defeat the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals but fall short against the Thunder in the NBA Finals in a tight, defensive seven-game series.