Inside the NBA Crew Hands Out Some HardwareThroughout TNT's Thursday doubleheader telecast--their final regular season games of the 2006-07 season--the Inside the NBA crew of Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and Kenny Smith announced their choices for various awards. Here are their picks, followed by brief comments (I gave some more in depth analysis here: ESPN's Shootaround Crew Selects the 2006-07 Awards Winners):
Rookie of the Year:
All three chose Brandon Roy of the Portland Trailblazers. He's my pick as well and should win the award quite easily.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Kenny Smith picked Tyson Chandler of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, noting that he not only blocks shots but that he also gets defensive rebounds, starting his team's fast break.
Reggie Miller chose Marcus Camby of the Denver Nuggets.
Charles Barkley, apparently not interested in researching the merits of particular players, selected the San Antonio Spurs team. Barkley explained that no individual defender has stood out this year but that the Spurs always play great defense.
My pick is Marcus Camby. When he is healthy, Camby is a tremendous defensive force and his play has sparked the Nuggets' recent winning streak. Ben Wallace and Tim Duncan also deserve consideration. Wallace supposedly had an off year but he is still in the top ten in rebounds, he blocked 100 shots, made 100 steals and the Bulls have a good shot at the number two seed. Meanwhile, his old team the Pistons are supposedly better on offense and no worse on defense without him but they've won significantly fewer games this year and don't play well against the Bulls. Wallace's impact will be even greater in the playoffs.
Sixth Man of the Year:
All three chose Leandro Barbosa of the Phoenix Suns. I agree.
Coach of the Year:
Smith chose Avery Johnson of the Dallas Mavericks, Miller went with Sam Mitchell of the Toronto Raptors and Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz (tie) and Barkley picked Mitchell. Doug Collins weighed in as well during the Lakers-Clippers game, taking Mitchell narrowly over Sloan. I would choose Johnson, with Mitchell second.
Most Improved Player:
Smith and Miller both chose Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors, while Barkley picked Tyson Chandler of the NO/OK Hornets. Those selections are not bad, but I would go with Kevin Martin of the Sacramento Kings.
Most Valuable Player:
Smith and Barkley went with Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, who I think will in fact win the award, while Miller chose Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns but said that he would not have a problem with Nowitzki getting the award (note: in an earlier version of this post I said that Miller chose Nowitzki). No doubt shocking my readers, I would pick Kobe Bryant. Barkley and Miller both acknowledged that Bryant is in fact the "best" player but Barkley said that the MVP award should reward winning.
There were also some "special" awards:
Kenny Smith gave the "Silence Your Critic Award" to Chris Webber of the Detroit Pistons. I would agree, so far, but let's see what the Pistons do in the playoffs.
Charles Barkley gave the "Hamburger Helper Award" to the New York Knicks for getting so bent out of shape when the Chicago Bulls kept trying to score at the end of a blowout so that fans could get a free hamburger. Scoring 100 points (the Bulls in fact ended up just short of that) is not running up the score, according to Sir Charles: any NBA team should be able to do that (the Knicks managed just 69 on the night in question).
Reggie Miller, who has his own film company, chose three awards based on TV shows: he gave the "Honeymooners" award to the Toronto Raptors, though the rationale behind this frankly did not make a lot of sense. Something about the team returning to the playoffs. Earlier in the show, Miller talked about a team getting a "steam of head," apparently meaning what most of us call "a head of steam." I don't plan on spending any more time trying to figure either of those things out. Moving on, he gave "The Closer" award to Kobe Bryant because of his ability to finish off games--the loss to the Clippers notwithstanding. Finally, Miller gave the "Happy Days" award to the Dallas Mavericks because everyone is smiling and happy down there after clinching home court advantage. I don't think that there will really be "Happy Days" in Dallas until the team wins a championship--and a series against the San Antonio Spurs promises to be another closely contested, classic battle, just like last year's series was.
posted by David Friedman @ 8:15 AM