The staff here at MBO decided to give out postseason awards for both the Magic and the league as a whole. The staff wasn’t asked to rank the players but to simply give out a first place vote.
Most Valuable Player
NBA: LeBron James – 26.8 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game, 7.3 assists per game.
So this was an easy, obvious and unanimous choice.
Because you should be stoned to death if you don’t vote for James.
Magic: Nikola Vucevic – 13.0 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 1.0 blocks per game
This was actually a tie between Vucevic and J.J. Redick, but I gave the edge to the guy who spent the entire season with the team.
Tough call on this one. I would say Vooch, but his defense is awful. Tobias only played two months. Redick got traded. Jameer should probably get something for leadership and keeping the locker room together. Tough to have an MVP on a 20 win team but lets go with J.J. Redick.
J.J. Redick. Not only did he keep the fan base from completely jumping off the cliff early in the season, but his deadline trade brought in Tobias Harris. Vucevic was a close second.
Nelson. When Jameer was out of the line up, it felt like the loss was inevitable. With him in, there was always a chance, and the team put out a much more organized offensive effort. Also, the absolute biggest area of weakness is at PG, and the jump from 2nd string PG to Jameer (outside of a couple Beno games) was the biggest hazard for us to navigate.
Orlando’s iron man and Mr. Consistency with his almost 50 double-doubles after a rookie season that had him rotting on Philly’s bench. Vooch displayed us his long-term durability when Hennigan easily could have accepted Bynum in the Dwight deal. There’s plenty of room to improve, especially on defense, but no one could fathom Vucci Mane doing as well of a job filling Dwight’s shoes as Nik has. The sophomore has already shattered a few records that include the franchise rebounding mark in a contest (29) as well as being the only player in this club’s history to ever put up 30 points, 20 rebounds, and 5 assists in a game.
Sure Vucevic’s defense needs a lot of work, but step in and average a double-double as a 22-year old second-year pro not only gave the Magic hope for the future, but helped validate the Dwight Howard trade that was heavily criticized. It gave the fans confidence in the new management group led by Rob Hennigan.
Rookie of the Year
NBA: Damian Lillard – 19.0 ppg, 6.5 apg, 3.2 rpg
Another unanimous and easy choice. Lillard was great.
Damian Lillard: Offensive game is so, so impressive. Portland was underrated by a lot of people, and he had weapons, but he is a bonafide weapon himself too.
He gives hope to a city that had none with the unfortunate Brandon Roy and Greg Oden injury situations. He’s Kyrie Irving but more durable, potentially more clutch, and had better stats than Irving did last season. All of this as a 6th overall pick who no one really talked about heading into last summer’s draft.
Despite looking completely lost early in the season, Harkless emerged as a legitimate starter in the second half of the year and was arguably the team’s best overall player in 2013.
Lacked consistency on his shot, and struggled with fouling, but always gave great effort, and played a hell of a lot of minutes. As a rookie, finishing out the year with an average of ~40 MPG? That is a tough, tough ask…and he is doing it just fine.
Had no training camp because of his sports hernia surgery. Used the first 2 months of the regular season to get healthy, in shape, and to adapt to Jacque’s system and the rigors of being a pro athlete. His potential is through the roof as a 19-year-old. Maurice has the defense, the athleticism, and the will to improve as evidenced by his increased aggressiveness into the paint and astounding 3-point shooting percentage increase as the season has progressed. Plus, he’s now becoming the stylish leader in the locker room with Redick gone.
Omer Asik. Harden and Lin have received much of the attention when it comes to that Houston franchise being a postseason squad again, but Asik’s numbers are not just a product of more minutes. The Turkish center has to perform well in the playoffs against opposing frontcourts if Houston wants to make any noise.
Vucevic. Yes, much of it is more minutes to show what he already had last year, and he has some limitations of defense still, but when you have a player that couldn’t get off the bench for significant minutes last year…and is now a Magic record holder in rebounds, a league leader in rebounds and double-doubles, and can put up multiple 20-20 games, it is undeniable.
Kyle O’Quinn. Went from buried on Jacque’s bench behind Andrew Nicholson, Glen Davis, and Gustavo Ayon to becoming a valuable asset off Orlando’s bench and even starting some games and racking up some solid performances. O’Quinn never let his positive energy and attitude falter and his persistence on and off the court have been rewarded with the ‘Hustle Player of the Year’ award. Plus, you score extra points in my book for being the funniest guy in the locker room as a rookie.
Defensive Player of the Year
NBA: Marc Gasol – 14.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.7 bpg
The voting here was split. Gasol’s two votes won him the award. Tony Allen, Tim Duncan and Roy Hibbert each got a vote.
Roy Hibbert. Changes EVERY shot that comes into the paint.
I like Marc Gasol for this. He is showing some good work on opposing centers, and Memphis as a team has good defensive numbers. You know that when you are playing Marc you have to earn your points and rebounds, and his offensive performance doesn’t seem to affect his defensive effort (like plenty of other big men).
Tim Duncan. Dude is about to be 37 years old next week and he’s 3rd in the league in blocks at 2.7 per game (hasn’t done it since 2004) and is still averaging 10 rebounds per game for an aging Spurs team that finished at the top of the West. It’s even more astonishing considering Duncan’s previous 2 seasons were far inferior to this campaign. I’d test Timmy for some cat piss.
Harkless edged out Glen Davis by one vote (3-2).
Big Baby. The 12-13 record looked so good. As soon as Davis got hurt the defense fell apart. He may not be the tallest and most athletic big man, but he uses his size well and his quick feet on rotations helped to cover for Nik Vucevic on most occasions.
Tough because not alot of defense was played all year, but I’ll say Moe Harkless because of the way he matched up against the big name guys this season and did very well on them.
Big Baby. Somehow, he was the catalyst for our defensive positives early in the year. Showed some post toughness, and helped get guys mentally and strategically in the right place (through goofy/crazy yelling, but still).
Maurice Harkless – Had some notable stopper moments against guys like LeBron and Carmelo. He, not Afflalo, should be Orlando’s ‘wing defender’. Maurice is lengthy and agile enough to guard numerous positions. He’ll be far and away Jacque’s defender once Maurice learns how to rotate properly.
Harkless seemingly enjoyed the challenge of guarding guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He improved throughout the season and has the potential to be an excellent NBA defender.
Yes, we want the pipe.
Honestly, this was a ridiculously hard award to figure out so we all took the easy way out and went with the former fan favorite.
J.J. Redick. Honestly, can we just give Redick honorary awards across the board? Have you ever seen a picture of his wife, Chelsea?
He was a close second in MVP for me for the Magic, and is just a hell of a positive for this team. Shooting struggled at time, but he was even more important than Jameer in running their offense.
Take a handful of talent and makes them major contenders, and a threat to win every game they play. I think any other coach could have easier underachieved with that team, but George makes it shine bright.
Anyone that finishes in the top 4 of the Western Conference with no superstar is a great choice in my eyes. That and George has had to do it with JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos as his go-to centers. It’s just a shame that Nuggets team has been crippled by injuries. They would have been fun to watch int he playoffs.
Matt Goukas. Crushed it on the airwaves once again.
I thought Jacque Vaughn did a nice job this year especially in the first two months of the season. Towards the end of the year he made some questionable decisions, but the season was over and we dont know exactly what he was trying to do in terms of the future. Since I have a fascination with Hedo, I’d like to give honorable mention for all the time he spent this year during timeouts watching the video board and telling jokes with the guys on the end of the bench. I love Turk.
Honorable mention-Doug Collins. His positive reinforcement and comments in mentoring Nik Vucevic and Moe Harkless throughout the year had a major impact in confidence. Great feedback on their development and weaknesses, and I think both of them played better knowing that they could depend on his support. My only criticism was that, unfortunately, the 76ers didn’t also trade Harris to us. Would have been great to hear what else Doug could have said to motivate someone on the Magic.
James Borrego . Leader of Orlando’s ‘Breakfast Club’ and a man who was immaculate in every interview he conducted this season, Borrego has the stoic nature of a Head Coach but still doesn’t have a large enough spotlight that would prevent him from showing off his fun interaction side. Borrego has played probably the most important role in the development of this young talent, something that will continue in Summer League.
You can follow Andrew on twitter here.