The NBA regular season is two-thirds complete, which means enough games have been played to assess favorites for postseason awards.
MVP: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
This is perhaps the toughest award to sort out, and it easily could go to the Miami Heats LeBron James.
Durant deserves praise for leading the Thunder to the best record in the Western Conference with Russell Westbrook out for an extended period after knee surgery. Durant has been close to unstoppable most nights, averaging a league-leading 31.5 points, and coach Scott Brooks insists Durant is underrated defensively.
But lets not dismiss the best player in the world. James has been so good for so long, its easy to take for granted hes shooting 57.1 percent and is a threat for a triple double every night. And, James has carried the Heat while Dwyane Wade has been in and out because of knee problems.
Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia
This is the easiest award. Carter-Williams leads rookies in scoring (17.1 points), rebounds (5.4), assists (6.5) and steals (2.1). In what has been an underwhelming season for rookies not surprising since last years draft lacked impact players Carter-Williams has stood out since opening day. The 76ers are bad, but theyre much worse without their rookie leader.
Defensive Player of the Year: Roy Hibbert, Indiana
Hibbert anchors the best defense in the NBA, and hes mastered the leagues rule of vertical play, maintaining a vertical position without getting called for a foul. That, coupled with his 7-foot-2 frame, allows Hibbert to affect shots near the rim, even without blocking them.
Hibbert isnt an elite rebounder, but his overall impact defensively cannot be ignored.
Most Improved Player: Anthony Davis, New Orleans
Davis improvement has kept the Pelicans from being even worse after injuries to Ryan Anderson (Oak Ridge High School) and Jrue Holiday. Davis is a better scorer this season and is emerging as one of the better defenders in the league.
Sixth Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers
Crawford is a big reason the Clippers didnt fall apart when point guard Chris Paul was injured. Crawford was second in Sixth Man voting last season and won the award in 2010, when he played for Atlanta.
Coach of the Year: Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix
Its easy to look at a team that wasnt supposed to be good and pick its coach when that team overachieves. Hornacek, however, deserves this honor. Not only did he take a team that supposedly was tanking and establish a style of play that fit the roster, hes kept the team going without injured guard Eric Bledsoe.
All-NBA first team: Guards Paul, L.A. Clippers, and Stephen Curry, Warriors; forwards Durant, Oklahoma City, and James, Miami; center DeMarcus Cousins, Kings.
All-NBA second team: Guards Damian Lillard, Portland, and James Harden, Houston; forwards Paul George, Indiana, and LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland; center Dwight Howard, Houston.
All-NBA third team: Guards Tony Parker, San Antonio, and Lance Stephenson, Indiana; forwards Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers, and Carmelo Anthony, New York; center Joakim Noah, Chicago.