Who will win the awards besides the MVP? Let's take a look:
Rookie of the Year
Contenders: Kevin Durant, Seattle; Al Horford, Atlanta; Yi Jianlian, Milwaukee; Juan Carlos Navarro, Memphis; Luis Scola, Houston
And the winner will be...Durant. KD will get as many shots as he likes in Seattle. He is currently averaging about 20 ppg, but shooting less than 40% from the field. He still will win the award, although Horford, a threat to average a double-double, will give him a challenge.
Defensive Player of the Year
Contenders: Josh Smith, Atlanta; Kevin Garnett, Boston; Tim Duncan, San Antonio; Bruce Bowen, San Antonio; Marcus Camby, Denver; Andrei Kirilenko, Utah; Dwight Howard, Orlando; Gerald Wallace, Charlotte; Ron Artest, Sacramento
And the winner will be...Smith. While I have not seen enough of Smith to know if he is a good one-on-one defender, he runs all over the place to swat shots. The total of blocks and steals he amasses this season may be too much to overlook. If someone else wins the award, I would pick Kirilenko or Bowen. Bruce never winning this award seems about as wrong as Jerry Sloan never being voted Coach of the Year. Believe it or not, The only previous winners on this list are Camby and Artest-not Duncan, Bowen or Kirilenko.
Sixth Man of the Year
Contenders: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio; Leandro Barbosa, Phoenix; Jason Terry, Dallas
And the winner will be...Ginobili. The other contenders are great, but in the early part of this season, Manu has been phenomenal. He has even inspired copycats around the league as Dallas has brought one of its big three, Terry, off the bench many times, and even perennial All-Star Vince Carter has played the sixth man role for New Jersey in some games. Still, Ginobili's biggest opposition for the award may be the threat of Coach Pop returning the Argentine to the starting lineup.
Most Improved Player
Contenders: Kelenna Azubuike, Golden State; Ronnie Brewer, Utah; LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland
And the winner will be...Brewer. The son of former NBA player Ron Brewer, Jr.'s big preseason performance helped him gain a spot in the Jazz's starting lineup. The increase in playing time will also mean an increase in other stats.
Coach of the Year
Contenders: Stan Van Gundy, Orlando; Gregg Popovich, San Antonio; Jerry Sloan, Utah; Phil Jackson, LA Lakers; Mike Woodson, Atlanta; Doc Rivers, Boston; Jim O'Brien, Indiana; Byron Scott, New Orleans
And the winner will be...Van Gundy. This award is based on overachieving, which will make it difficult for Popovich, Sloan and coaches of other elite teams with high expectations, such as the Suns' Mike D'Antoni, to win COY. In the early going, the Magic have been the best of the overachieving teams. Boston will have the biggest improvement in wins from last year, but the additions of KG and Ray-Ray will have more to do with that. Just ask Boston sports nut/columnist Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) what he thinks of Rivers. Jackson and and Scott have a chance if their teams win about 50 games; O'Brien and Woodson will be contenders if their teams sneak into the playoffs.