Zgoda's NBA Insider: Handing out the regular-season awards

  • Updated: April 13, 2013 - 6:55 PM

A look at one man’s picks for the NBA’s annual regular-season awards:

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Miami Heat's LeBron James

MVP: LeBron James, Miami

A three-time winner already, he’s such a predictable pick…and such a right one again this season. He’s part point guard, part shooting guard/small forward, part big man, not to mention a versatile defender whose work gets overlooked in that department and a stunningly efficient 56-percent shooter from the field.

Contenders: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City; Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers; Carmelo Anthony, New York; James Harden, Houston.

Top sixth man: Jarrett Jack, Golden State

J.R. Smith probably is the favorite for his late-season surge and Jamal Crawford gets a lot of pub, but let’s go with an underrated, multi-dimensional pick. Steph Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson get all the credit, but the Warriors wouldn’t be where they are — the playoffs — without this guy off the bench.

Contenders: Smith, New York; Crawford, L.A. Lakers; Ryan Anderson, New Orleans; Manu Ginobili, San Antonio.

Most improved: Paul George, Indiana

Sorry, Wolves fans, I gotta do it. The guy the Wolves would have been in position to pick if they were willing to trade Jonny Flynn for the 2010 draft’s 10th pick has blossomed into a bona-fide star. He’ll play shooting guard at 6-10 and is turning into a hellacious defender as well.

Contenders: Larry Sanders, Milwaukee; Nikola Vukevic, Orlando; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia; Greivis Vasquez, New Orleans.

Top rookie: Damian Lillard, Portland

This contest was over almost before it started, due to Anthony Davis’ season-starting injuries. Lillard was near unstoppable in games against the Wolves, and against just about everybody else. Even Kobe Bryant gushed last week over a guy who sure looks like your classic scoring point guard.

Contenders: Bradley Beal, Washington; Davis, New Orleans.

Top defender: Tony Allen, Memphis

So many shot blockers get consideration (see the list of contenders below), but let’s go off the board for a shooting guard, underrated even after all these years. He’s a tenacious perimeter defender in a perimeter-oriented league.

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Houston 12:05 PM
Miami
Philadelphia 12:05 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 12:05 PM
Detroit
Baltimore 12:05 PM
NY Yankees
Boston 12:05 PM
Tampa Bay
Toronto 12:05 PM
Pittsburgh
Atlanta 12:07 PM
Toronto
Washington 12:10 PM
NY Mets
Chicago Cubs 3:05 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 3:05 PM
Texas
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Seattle
Colorado 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Cleveland 3:05 PM
Milwaukee
Oakland 3:05 PM
Chicago WSox
Los Angeles 3:10 PM
LA Angels
Kansas City 3:10 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 6:00 PM
Charlotte
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
Golden State 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:00 PM
Portland
Nashville 11:30 AM
Washington
Arizona 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
San Jose 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Anaheim 12:00 PM
NY Islanders
NY Rangers 12:00 PM
Boston
Tampa Bay 1:00 PM
Detroit
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Carolina
Florida 6:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Toronto
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Columbus 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Colorado
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 5:09 PM
Wisconsin
Canisius 6:30 PM
NJIT
Notre Dame 7:49 PM
Kentucky
San Jose 2:00 PM
New England
Orlando City 3:00 PM
Montreal
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
D.C.
Sporting Kansas City 6:00 PM
New York City
Red Bull New York 6:30 PM
Columbus
Portland 7:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Colorado 7:30 PM
Houston
Seattle 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Texas 12 1st Half 11:23
(1) Connecticut 21
Dayton 1:30 PM
(8) Louisville
(16) Duke 3:30 PM
(4) Maryland
Gonzaga 6:00 PM
(6) Tennessee

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