Community Shootaround: NBA Midseason Awards

Giannis Antetokounmpo came out on top in a matchup between the NBA’s two MVP frontrunners on Wednesday night, as his 27 points and career-best 21 rebounds helped the Bucks pick up a 116-109 road win in Houston. James Harden continued his recent hot streak for the Rockets by racking up 42 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists, but required 30 shots to get those 42 points, and turned the ball over nine times.

As Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com relays, Antetokounmpo dismissed talk after the game about him being the league’s best or most valuable player so far in 2018/19. At the season’s midway point though, Giannis, who has led Milwaukee to an NBA-best 29-11 record, has a strong case to at least be informally named the league’s first-half MVP.

Before last night’s Bucks/Rockets showdown, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News handed out his midseason awards and gave the edge to Harden over Antetokounmpo for MVP, with Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic, Paul George, and others also receiving some consideration. Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports made the same pick today, making his case for Harden as the first-half MVP.

Elsewhere on their midseason awards ballots, Deveney and Haberstroh mixed in some easy calls – they both had Mavericks youngster Luka Doncic for Rookie of the Year – with some tougher ones. For instance, Deveney named Mike Budenholzer (Bucks) his Coach of the Year in a crowded field of contenders, while Haberstroh picked Dave Joerger (Kings).

Deveney’s and Haberstorh’s other selections included Domantas Sabonis (Pacers) for Sixth Man of the Year and Paul George (Thunder) for Defensive Player of the Year. The duo diverged on Most Improved Player, with Deveney choosing Pascal Siakam (Raptors) while Haberstroh opted for De’Aaron Fox (Kings).

With the season essentially halfway done – teams have played between 39 and 43 games – we want to know how you’d fill out your hypothetical awards ballot for the first half. Do you agree with most of Deveney’s and/or Haberstroh’s picks or would you go in a different direction for some of them? Are you making any dark-horse picks for any of this season’s awards so far?

Weigh in below in the comment section with your midseason award selections!

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10 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: NBA Midseason Awards

  1. Charkip

    MVP – Giannis Antetokounmpo

    ROY – Luka Doncic

    Defensive POY – Paul George

    Sixth Man – Montrezl Harrell

    Most Improved Player – De’Aaron Fox

    Coach of the Year – Mike Malone

  2. Nebraska Tim

    MVP – James Harden (Antetokounmpo was is super close, but Harden has just been next level dominant so far).

    ROY – Luka Doncic (dominant and super fun to watch too!).

    Defensive POY – Rudy Gobert (considered Paul George long and hard for this one… could have gone either way).

    Sixth Man – Domantas Sabonis (nice to see a big man win!).

    Most Improved Player – Pascal Siakam (shooting percentages jump plus overall impact on the game has been substantial… I konw Fox has had a nice year, but I don’t see this as particularly close).

    Coach of the Year – Mike Budenholzer

    • x%sure

      Siakam might make the allstar team. He ranks 9th in fan balloting in the frontcourt as of Jan.10 and probably 7, maybe 8 will make the 12-man team.

      (Giannis, Leonard, Griffin, Butler, & Embiid are ahead, also Middleton is in the running. Also in the top ten, Vince Carter (7th!?) and Boston players Tatum, Haywood & Horford should eventually correct to match their mediocre seasons. There is no ‘center’ category, too bad for Vucevic.)

      For MVP, Jokic & Denver’s achievement is the greatest in half 1. Cmon Nebraska!

      Sabonis has only played 41 fewer minutes than Myles Turner, which does literally rank him 6th on the Pacers.

  3. C-Daddy

    I’m biased as a Raptors fan, but I don’t see how MIP can go to anyone other than Siakam. Fox has been great and has definitely improved, but he was also a top-5 pick so his rise was kind of expected. Siakam has really come out of nowhere.

  4. Rewane

    The third finalists for some of the awards are also very interesting.
    Fox and Siakam probably gonna be the finalists for MIP. I think Buddy Heild will be the third finalist.
    Third finalist for MVP is pretty tough, Leonard, LBJ, and AD all have a shot.
    Besides Doncic, I think Ayton is a lock as a runner up finalist for ROY. Trae Young has nice numbers, but his shooting percentage and JJJ’s two way ability makes me think he will beat Young for the third finalist.

  5. Danthemilwfan

    Giannis is mvp. Of course Harden is great but Giannis dominates the boards, is better defensively and while Giannis turns over the ball too much harden is next world bad on turnovers and doesn’t play defense. Giannis wins it for 3 reasons

    1. Plays both ends of the court
    2. Leading the best record in the league
    3 Harden shoots a pedestrian 43% from the floor and even with bad 3 point shooting Fisnnis shoots 58%. 15% difference. Giannis makes more shots per game and shoots 6 shots per game less. That means the only reason harden scores more is he jacks up 3s.

  6. I think there’s a lot of recency bias with Harden. He’s been otherworldly good lately, but it’s clear the Bucks are a better team and Giannis is the better overall player.

    MVP: Giannis
    DPOY: George
    Sixth Man: Dinwiddie
    Rookie: Doncic
    Most Improved: Siakam
    Coach: Bud

  7. Guest617

    drose not in the 6th man convo? i can’t stand him, but his games been on point this yr

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