With the All-Star Break and the middle of the season coinciding this year, it’s a great time for mid-season awards. These, however, will not be the usual awards you see this time of year. For instance, I won’t be prematurely naming an MVP or Rookie of the Year. Instead, I’ll take a look at the first half of the season from a decidedly different point of view.
Most Exciting Team to Watch Award – Minnesota Timberwolves
In the span of thirty plus games, the biggest laughingstock in the NBA is suddenly the team you most want to watch on League Pass. Many people would choose the Clippers or Heat for this award because of the highlight dunks each of those teams puts up on a nightly basis. I am a sucker for passing though and nobody knows how to distribute the ball better than Ricky Rubio. He can find a player from any angle or position on the floor and his willingness to distribute has infected the entire team. If you want to see basketball played the right way watch this team. Rarely does an offensive possession go by without four or five players touching the ball. It is the main reason why they’re 10th in points despite lacking a true scoring threat outside of Kevin Love. If you haven’t been following this team in the first half you have 32 games left to enjoy an exciting brand of basketball.
Biggest Disparity Between Perception and Reality Award – New York Knicks
The Jeremy Lin phenomenon has completely clouded everyone’s judgment of this team. Even though they are 9-3 since Lin started getting big minutes at point guard their overall record still stands at a ho-hum 17-18. They’re currently 7th in the Eastern Conference with a brutal March schedule coming up that includes 10 games against teams with a winning record. If you listen to talk radio in New York or even across the country you would think the Knicks have the best record in the NBA. Fan after fan says the Knicks are back and how they are watching them play every game for the first time in a decade. I hope everyone enjoys watching him or her play now because despite the hype this team won’t make it out of the first round for a second straight year.
The Best Bad Team Award – Milwaukee Bucks
Even though the Bucks are 13-20 on the season, they are not a team you want on your schedule in the second half. Milwaukee has six wins against teams with a record of .500 or better including two against the Heat and one against the Spurs. They have a respectable -2.2 point differential and five of their 20 losses have been by three points or less. If there is a team in the Eastern Conference on the outside looking in to the playoffs that can break into the top eight it’s the Bucks.
Worst First Half By A Reality Star Award – Lamar Odom
Ok so there are only two options but when you get beat out by Kris Humphries you know you are having a bad season. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is on pace to average career lows in points per game, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, rebounds per game, … heck the only categories he is not on pace to set career lows in are turnovers and made threes per game. It’s hard to think that Odom has suddenly lost it at the age of 32 with less than 1,000 games played. He also is playing on a team with a better point guard and a better overall squad than the Lakers. The only two reasons I can think of as to why Odom has struggled is that he didn’t handle the lockout well or he is still stung by the sudden trade from a team he won two championships and spent seven seasons with. If the Mavs can get a better Lamar Odom in the second half it may be enough for them to make it out of a wide open Western Conference.
The Ageless Award – Steve Nash
There is no logical reason why Nash should still be good. He is 38 years and is in his 16th NBA season yet. His team stinks and he is playing the most grueling schedule the NBA has seen since the last lockout in 1999. Despite these obstacles, Nash is shooting a career high 54.2 percent from the field while averaging 14 points and 11 assists per game. His play has kept the Suns on the fringes of the playoff hunt despite having talent that only the Charlotte Bobcats would envy. The Mavericks decided not to resign Nash as a free agent after the 2003-04 season because they thought he would begin to decline in his 30s. We are still waiting for that decline to happen eight years later.
A Staff Writer for RotoExperts, Tamer Chamma is a two time top 50 Finalist in the WFAN Fantasy Phenom contest as well as a weekly guest on the SiriusXM "RotoExperts" morning show. Tamer is also a fill-in co-host for the show. You may contact Tamer @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @RotoExperts_TC