kevin durant lebron james thunder heat 2014

The 2013-14 NBA regular season has come to an end with the playoffs now in full swing today. However, we will be seeing players getting awarded for their efforts this year as these days and weeks go by.

Will Kevin Durant win MVP this year, or will LeBron get receive his fifth career one? Did Roy Hibbert do enough to win Defensive Player of the Year? Was Michael Carter-Williams the best rookie this season?

All of this and more in my 2013-14 NBA awards predictions.

Executive of the Year: Ryan McDonough, Phoenix Suns

ryan mcdonough april 2014McDonough did a solid job assembling this Suns team together before the season began. Many people saw this squad tanking for Andrew Wiggins, but instead they were legit playoff contenders which were knocked out within the final days of the regular season. No one saw this Suns team coming.

McDonough created a team that overly exceeded expectations, acquiring two Most Improved Player candidates in Gerald Green and Miles Plumles during a trade with the Indiana Pacers. This also helped get rid of Luis Scola. Of course, McDonough also got Eric Bledsoe and the rest was history.

This Suns ended up getting a winning record that would've been good enough for a fourth or fifth seed had they been in the Eastern Confernece. Though they didn't make the playoffs, it still doesn't take away anything from what McDonough did to create this solid, young Suns squad.

Other candidates: Masai Ujiri (Toronto Raptors)

Coach of the Year: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs

spurs-popovichI would have given this award to another Suns guy in head coach Jeff Hornacek, but I don't think the voters will give it to him because of Phoenix not making the playoffs.

Therefore, Gregg Popovich gets the 2014 Coach of the year award. And who could blame him? Pop could be the Coach of the Year every single year if it were allowed. He's just that damn good.

Popovich led a very efficient Spurs squad to the No. 1 seed in the West and the best record in the NBA once again. People aren't even doubting them to make it to the Western Conference Finals.

What's really special about this season is how he handled the minutes of his players. For the past few years, we've seen Popovich manage how to use Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobil as they get older. This year was great for that.

The starting five of the Spurs ranked very low, which is amazing. Parker had the most minutes per game for the Spurs at 29.6, which is still low. The fact that the Spurs could do this and still be where there at just shows how great of a coach Pop truly is.

Other candidates: Jeff Hornacek (Phoenix Suns), Dwayne Casey (Toronto Raptors)

Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams

michael carter williams april 2014Despite being on the worst team in the NBA this season, Michael Carter-Williams showed that he was the bright light and the future of this team.

Carter-Williams was very impressive with a very depleted Sixers team, averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game.

Those are some very solid numbers, especially for a point guard having that many rebounds per game. It also shows how underrated he was coming into the 2013 NBA Draft as the Syracuse alum was the 11th overall pick.

MCW is the clear-cut winner for this award.

Other candidates: Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic)

Most Improved Player: Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers

lance stephenson april 2014There is a lot of talk for who should be the Most Improved Player.

Some say Anthony Davis, even though it was expected he was going to make an improvement.

Others have said Goran Dragic, but he basically did all the similar things this season in the previous year. In fact, other Suns' Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green make a more convincing case.

For me, it's Lance Stephenson. Stephenson, who was dubbed "Born Ready" coming out of high school, definitely wasn't living up to that name coming into the NBA nor this season.

So what did Stephenson do this year? Not only did he average about 14 points, seven rebounds and five rebounds per game, but he did it for the No. 1 seed of the Eastern Conference. In addition, he showed flashes of being the best player on the team whenever Indiana needed a boost or were struggling.

Plus, he led the league in triple doubles with five. That right there is something!

Other candidates: Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee (Phoenix Suns), DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)

Sixth Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford

jamal crawford april 2014Like the Most Improved award, much discussion has been made over who should be the Sixth Man of the Year.

Taj Gibson makes a great case, being a solid force off the bench for the Chicago Bulls. In fact, he started to get more minutes than starter Carlos Boozer at the power forward position.

In addition to Gibson, one could also argue Manu Ginobili, who makes the case for the Sixth Man of the Year almost every season.

I picked the guy who does that as well in Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford. Crawford, 34, was very impressive this season.

He had averages of 18.6 points per game, one of the tops on the team and in the league overall. In addition, he turned his game up big during the fourth quarter and crunch time, being in the rankings of the likes of the NBA's elite players for average points scored in the final quarter.

This was good enough to help the Clippers become the No. 3 seed in the West.

Other candidates: Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls), Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)

Defensive Player of the Year: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

joakim noah march 2014With Derrick Rose out, Joakim Noah became the offensive playmaker for the Bulls. Even being a center, Noah was stellar this season. He even had four triple-doubles this year, good enough for second in the NBA behind Lance Stephenson.

Aside from Noah's unexpected feats on offense, his defensive game never left him. The Florida alum still got things done on the defensive side.

His hustle on defense was spectacular. He allowed the lowest percentage of shots made on him in the league under the rim, even better than Roy Hibbert, who is regarded as one of the league's best rim-protectors.

Noah definitely deserves this award for his amazing effort this year.

Other candidates: Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers), Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets)

Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

kevin durant april 2014Come on, you knew this was coming. In his seventh season, it was definitely KD's best. If he wins, he joins Michael Jordan and LeBron James as players who won their first MVP award in their seventh NBA season.

For Durant, it couldn't come in any better fashion. He led the league in scoring once again, having a career-high 32 points per game. Durant also added in over seven rebounds per game and 5.5 assists per game.

However, the race for MVP was closer than you think. LeBron James definitely made the case. You could mention Durant's streak of 25 or more points in a game, but James had a 61-point game alone.

Once could look to Durant leading the Thunder to the second seed in the West, but LeBron did the same in the East. In fact, one could say James means more to his team than Durant does to OKC, but that's definitely debatable.

However, the league would then be voting James as the MVP for the fifth time in the last six years. That feels redundant, and you know how the league is about that (see Jordan winning his MVPs in the 1990s. He could have won them every year).

With that, Durant gets his first MVP award.

Other candidates: LeBron James (Miami Heat), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)


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