(Photo via Getty Images)
The NBA is just one day out from the All-Star break and as we hit the halfway point of the season some players have really stood out. There have been the usual superstars shining, but some other players are breaking out and making their case for some awards.
As basketball head here at The intermission here are my mid-season awards for this NBA season.
Most Valuable Player: Nikola Jokic
(Photo via USA Today)
This might be a bit of an unpopular opinion, but personally, I believe the best player in the NBA this season has been Nikola Jokic. Jokic is the best centre in the NBA and he has led the Denver Nuggets to a 20-15 record.
His stats are crazy, he is nearly averaging a triple-double which is absurd from a centre. He averages 27.3 PPG, 11 RPG and 8.6 APG; while putting up 65 per cent true shooting and 42 per cent from three.
Hopefully, the Nuggets can perform slightly better as a team as well because unfortunately, we all know voters focus on team records way too much. However, if Jokic continues putting up these numbers and if he can possibly push those assists into double digits I think he without a doubt wins MVP. We are witnessing a once in a generation type talent with The Joker.
Most Improved Player: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
(Photo via Bleacher Report)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who very well may be the best Canadian player in the NBA is my easy-pick for the Most Improved Player. SGA is leading a not-so-great Oklahoma City Thunder team and doing it with numbers that make no sense.
His usage is through the roof and he is the number-one option and ball-handler, but yet he is still shooting 51 per cent from the field, 41 per cent from three and 63 per cent true shooting. He is forced to take so many shots, but his shot creation has allowed him to still be so efficient and fun to watch.
This season he averages 23.2 PPG, 6.3 APG and 5.3 RPG; this is four more points than last year and three more assists. I know people may say this is not a big improvement, but it is the fact that he is getting this boost while now being a number one option.
Last year he had Chris Paul as a teammate, but now this year the opposing team’s best defender will have their focus on him. SGA is a young superstar on the rise and this MIP award will be the first step to an MVP award in the future.
Rookie of the Year: LaMelo Ball
(Photo via Forbes)
LaMelo Ball has surprised me so much throughout this whole season because I was not sold on him at all pre-draft. I was expecting him to be a Trae Young type player, who I think is extremely overrated.
However, Melo has forced me to eat my words and just watch him amaze me every time he steps foot on the court with the Charlotte Hornets. The 19-year-old has made his way into the Hornets’ starting-five after beginning the season as sixth-man and he has really begun to hit his stride.
Melo is currently averaging 15.7 PPG, 6.4 APG and 6 RPG, these are the best numbers out of all rookies in the league. He does need to improve things like his efficiency and his defence, but he is so young and is showing improvement every game.
Melo is clearly the best brother of the Ball family, and he could single-handedly put Big Baller Brand back on the map. If he keeps up this level of play and the Hornets can hold their playoff spot, Ball is the unanimous Rookie of the Year.
Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Clarkson
(Photo via Bleacher Report)
Since joining the Utah Jazz Jordan Clarkson has really rejuvenated his career and has been able to show the world his true skill-level. For a long-time, he was lost in the shuffle of a lot of bad Los Angeles Lakers teams, but when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers a change was seen.
It was in 2018 his numbers started to jump and then halfway through the 2019-2020 season he was shipped off to the Jazz. On the Jazz, he immediately jumped into the sixth-man role and has been thriving ever since.
This season he is averaging 18.2 PPG, 2.3 APG and 4 RPG; this is the highest-scoring year of his career. Putting up almost 20 PPG in only 26 minutes a night is a sign of his scoring ability, some may say he is having a Lou Williams-type year.
Clarkson has been a key contributor for the Jazz who currently sit atop the league with a 27-8 record. With the type of season he is having and his team’s success, he is definitely Sixth-Man of the Year.
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Turner
(Photo via IndyStar)
The Indiana Pacers have been very disappointing this season, but one of the bright spots on this team is Myles Turner. Turner is a defensive anchor at the big-man position for the Pacers and he has amazed me every game with his ability to shut down other big men.
To look at his defensive averages he currently leads the league in blocks with 3.4 a game and he is also grabbing 1.1 SPG. He also currently has a defensive field goal percentage of 41.8 per cent and his defensive field goal percentage from within six-feet is 47 per cent which is very impressive.
One other very impressive part of Turner’s defence is that in switches he has shown a great capability to even stop smaller guards since he is very quick for a near seven-footer. Turner has been the best defender in the NBA this season and the clear front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year.
Coach of the Year: Quin Snyder
(Photo via Bleacher Report)
Quin Snyder is the coach of the first-place team in the league, the Utah Jazz, nobody saw them having this much success and it has been incredible to see. The Jazz are 27-8 and have looked practically unstoppable all year with players like Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gobert.
Snyder deserves a lot of credit because there were a lot of questions surrounding this team due to wondering if Mitchell and Gobert could co-exist. However, Snyder has found a way to create a great offence and a powerful defence around Gobert.
They have been able to overcome powerhouse teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets in the standings. The team has also had an 11-game win streak as well as an eight-game win streak.
The Jazz currently are the hottest team in the league and Quin Snyder deserves a lot of praise. If they can keep up this surprising season Snyder deserves that Coach of the Year award.