Here’s a look at one person’s ballot for the NBA’s annual regular-season awards:
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City: Even LeBron James now admits it, delivering what amounted to a concession speech last week to the NBA’s leading scorer who never faltered a bit this season. His streak of consecutive 25-point games ended Tuesday at 41 games, third longest in league history.
Best of the rest: James; Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers; Joakim, Noah, Chicago; Goran Dragic, Phoenix; Kevin Love, Timberwolves; Paul George, Indiana.
Coach of the Year
Gregg Popovich, San Antonio: Stunningly, he has won the award only twice in his Hall of Fame-worthy career. Let’s make it two times in three years for a guy who manages his aging stars and just keeps making the pieces fit around his best three players, all the way to a franchise-record 18-game winning streak, the NBA’s best record and possibly a franchise record for victories.
Best of the rest: Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix; Tom Thibodeau, Chicago; Steve Clifford, Charlotte; Dwyane Casey, Toronto; Terry Stotts, Portland.
Rookie of the Year
Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia: A dashing talent on a truly lousy team, he has shown there was good reason to worry about his shooting, but his combination of size and athleticism has been a revelation in what became pretty much a runaway race.
Best of the rest: Victor Oladipo, Orlando; Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn; Tim Hardaway Jr., New York; Nick Calathes, Memphis; Trey Burke, Utah.
Most Improved Player
Goran Dragic, Phoenix: So much depends on your definition of this award, but this guy transformed from an excellent player to an All-Star this season (even if he wasn’t invited to New Orleans) and could carry his team unexpectedly all the way to the playoffs as well.
Best of the rest: Anthony Davis, New Orleans; Lance Stephenson, Indiana; DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio; Markieff Morris, Phoenix; Gerald Green, Phoenix.
Sixth Man of the Year