With the end of the 2011-2012 NBA Regular Season, and the beginning of the postseason, the individual awards are beginning to trickle out.
Spurs head coach Greg Popovich has been named Coach of the Year. He led the Spurs to a 50-16 record, giving them the number one overall seed in the Western Conference and tying them for the best record in the entire league.
Now, reports say Tyson Chandler will be named Defensive Player of the Year. In Chandler's first year with the Knicks, he completely changed the way the team played on the defensive end. Last season, New York was 22nd in defensive efficiency. This year, they came in at 5th in that department.
A few awards have still yet to be announced, and there are multiple contenders for each one. Here are some predictions for the remaining awards for the 2011-2012 NBA Season:
MVP: LeBron James
The media may not be happy about giving the award to James, but he's the only logical choice. James had an amazing season, averaging 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. The most impressive part of James' season was his efficiency. He shot 53.1 percent from the field, an incredible number for a perimeter player who takes almost 20 shots a game. Yes, James has very talented players around him, but he helped the Heat go 13-1 in Dwyane Wade's absence. Chris Paul and Kevin Durant will get some votes, but James will win the award for the third time in four years.
Rookie of the Year: Kyrie Irving
The number one overall pick in last year's draft was everything as advertised and more. He led the Cavs in points per game at 18.5, and threw in 5.4 assists and 3.7 boards per contest. Cleveland was the worst team in the NBA a year ago, and Irving helped them compete for a playoff spot for most of this season. He missed some games down the stretch due to injury, but his impact in the games he did play was enough to earn him the award. Ricky Rubio was giving Irving a run for his money, but his season-ending injury halted any chance of him winning the award.
Sixth Man of the Year: James Harden
Harden's emergence off the bench this year finally gave the Thunder a third scoring option to compliment Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Averaging 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, Harden played the Manu Ginobili role for Oklahoma City. He started only two games, but made big plays when it mattered. Lou Williams was great for the 76ers off the bench as well, but Philadelphia's struggles down the stretch make this an easy decision.
Most Improved Player: Ryan Anderson
Anderson showed flashes of brilliance last year, but played extremely well for Orlando for all of this season. Averaging 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, Anderson was the Magic's best player other than Dwight Howard. Anderson scored almost six more points and grabbed two more rebounds per contest than he did last year. He did it in a season in which Orlando was surrounded by controversy, and Howard missed 12 of the team's final 14 games. Jeremy Lin could be a sentimental pick, but he didn't play enough games. Andrew Bynum will get some votes. He's always been good, but hasn't been able to stay healthy. Anderson should win a tight race.