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With the end of the NBA season this week’s roster of writers have decided to talk about their choices for MVP, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player and the Dunker of the Year. Also joining the discussion is Justin Poulin from Celtics17 ( and Chris Clarke from End of the Bench (

Do you agree with what we had to say? Hate what we had to say? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment on this article.

Ryan McNeill’s Picks MVP: A lot has been made about Kobe Bryant’s offensive explosion this year but I’m just not a fan of Mamba’s selfish style of play. Bryant chucks up over 30 shot attempts a game to score his 35 per game so it can’t be argued that he’s an ‘effective” shooter. What happens is that his teammates get caught standing around all game and it prevents them from getting into a groove. With that in mind my pick for the MVP goes the Chauncey “Big Shot” Billups. Billups is the quarterback that keeps the Pistons running on all cylinders this season that helped Detroit set a franchise record for wins in a season.

Coach of the Year: This wasn’t the hardest choice to make. You had Flip Saunders who stepped in and helped the Pistons set a franchise record for most wins in a season, you have Avery Johnson getting his players to finally play some defense and you had Gregg Popovich turn out yet another 60 win season for San Antonio. I gotta’ switch stuff up and hand the award to Byron Scott. Despite the Hornets bouncing around between three cities, Scott had a ragtag group of group of players that writers predicted would win less than 20 games battle until the final week for a playoff spot.

Rookie of the Year: Chris Paul... is there even anyone else close? I'd like to vote for my boy Charlie Villanueva here but Paul's runaway winner of this award.

Most Improved Player: I’ve had a love-hate relationship watching Mike James play all year but you can’t deny that he had a breakout season. After floating around five NBA franchises James has set himself up for a huge pay day this summer.

Dunker of the Year: I gotta’ go with my boy Dwight Howard here.

Jeff Wong's Picks MVP: I agree that Kobe Bryant carried the Lakers into the playoffs but, like Ryan, I prefer a player who involves his teammates more regularly. That's why I pick Steve Nash. While I like Chauncey "The Chauncellor" Billups, Nash had to deal with major roster changes, yet managed to raise his points per game AND lead the league in both assists and free-throw percentage. []

Coach of the Year: It's a toss up between Byron Scott and Avery Johnson only because my three-year-old loves Dirk Nowitzki. [1]

Rookie of the Year: Chris Paul, the Mini-Kidd. Thank you, Chris. Without your two triple-doubles, I wouldn't have reached 51,173rd place in the Salary Cap Challenge. [2]

Most Improved Player: Being a Raptors fan [3], I can see that Mike James had a breakout season, but I choose to deny him. Instead, I give the Mippy to Chris Kaman. See, kids? Saying your prayers and taking your vitamins really do work. []

Dunker of the Year: D-Wade is D man. He's fifth best in dunks made, yet he's the shortest one of the top 50! [4] Plus, he's a guard, so he's had to travel the farthest, on average, to get to the rim. []

William Thomas Tran’s Picks MVP: Once again, another tough call. Steve Nash clearly deserves the award because I have not seen any other team collapse so completely than a team without Nash. Fans saw this last year when Nash missed five games, resulting in the Suns experiencing a losing streak. This season, a possible postseason preview between the Spurs and the Suns was spoiled by Nash’s ankle sprain that kept him from participating and the Spurs would blowout the Suns without any problems.

Coach of the Year: This award is a hard one because there are many deserving coaches. However, I believe D’Antoni deserves the honor because he did not change his system. Even without Stoudemire, D’Antoni retained the relentless up-and-down style that made the Suns successful last season. The result is a Phoenix team that will run away with the Pacific Division and is leading the league in scoring.

Rookie of the Year: Often compared to Jason Kidd when he entered the draft, Chris Paul has lived up to the hype. Paul is averaging fantastic numbers for a rookie with 16.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 7.9 assists this season. Though a rookie, he has stepped into the leadership role easily, replacing former Hornets point guard Baron Davis. His leadership has revived the franchise that won just 18 games last season and the Hornets have a strong chance of making the playoffs with one month left in the season due to his impressive play. In February he competed in the Skills Challenge and a few weeks ago he was one of the twenty-three players chosen to represent the USA Olympic team. He is clearly the Rookie of the Year but a player that hasn’t played like a rookie all season.

Most Improved Player: The forward from the Phoenix Suns, Boris Diaw was a mere throw-in in the Atlanta-Phoenix trade last summer. Upon coming to Phoenix he quickly adapted to the up-tempo style of the Phoenix Suns and eventually earned the starting center spot. Despite the two triple-doubles he had this season I think his breakout game was the one in which he started as center against the Houston Rockets. He harassed Yao Ming all game by getting into the passing lanes, battling for position, and disrupting his shot. When I saw that game I knew Diaw was for real. Diaw’s averages have doubled and tripled this season and he clearly deserves the award.

Dunk of the Year: I have to go with Igoudala. He got robbed during the All-Star Game. I don't care if Nate is 5'8. IGOUDALA GOT ROBBED!

Chris Clarke’s Picks MVP: Time to muse about the options… I’ll start with my choice: I’m going with Steve Nash, the “safe” choice. When you look at what he’s done with what he’s been given, he’s an MVP. It’s him, Shawn Marion, and a bunch of bench players. Seriously: Raja Bell, James Jones, Eddie House, Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa, and then Kurt Thomas and Tim Thomas for a stretch each. He carried his team to a plus-50 win season after losing three starters: Amare Stoudemire to injury, Joe Johnson to free agency, and Quentin Richardson to free agency. He makes his teammates better, as evidenced by them all having career years. Nash made it all happen. This is a 30 win team without him. Also, did I mention I’m Canadian? To make an argument for LeBron, you’d have to explain the Cavs getting better in the offseason while only winning 50 games (they should have won more), while a team like the Suns got much, much worse in terms of talent and still won their division. Nash took lemons and made lemonade, while LeBron took lemonade and, well, made lemonade. As for Kobe, the Lakers are probably a 20 win team without him. And that’s a maybe because they could be worse than that. Still, I don’t give him the MVP. He doesn’t make his teammates better - he makes them wish they were playing for Phoenix! Chauncey Billups plays on a great team. If you were to play former Pistons PG Carlos Arroyo instead, there wouldn’t be a Nash-like drop-off in wins and losses.

Biggest turnaround: NOOCH! They had to deal with being one of the worst teams last season AND a natural/national disaster, and STILL almost made the playoffs in large part thanks to…

Rookie of the Year: Chris Paul. Easiest choice since Tim Duncan back in 1997-98! He’s like Isiah Thomas, only he won’t take over as GM and ruin your team by trading for bad contracts.

Comeback Player of the Year: Ron Artest – seriously. I don’t appreciate his antics, but he had been out the NBA for almost 2 years before suiting up in Sacramento and leading them to the playoffs. He’s proven himself to be a man and ready to lead a team (until the next outburst.)

Best dunker: Vince Carter, still the most electrifying dunker in the NBA at the ripe old age of 29!

Worst dunker: I would like to direct your attention to the dunk contest and force you to relive about 14 attempts at one dunk by super midget, Nate Robinson. Yes, he finally made an incredible dunk, but it was only after a series of emotions felt for him: humor, embarrassment, extreme embarrassment, personal shame, then family-wide shame, and finally, relief.

Coach of the Year: Possibly Mike Dunleavy for finally turning the Clippers around. It’s more than a one-year thing like Byron Scott. This is a decade in the making: Clippers in the playoffs. It’s a wonder that it didn’t all fall apart.

Most Improved Player: I had a few candidates: one was Boris Diaw, but you have to consider Steve Nash as a factor in that. I was going to say David West, although he had the Chris Paul thing working for him, too, which is similar to the Nash thing that Diaw had going. So I’m going with Kobe, since he improved his scoring average by over 7 points and his teams’ win total by more than 10. I think it’s a great choice, don’t you? Besides, if he doesn’t win MVP, imagine how happy he’ll be to receive his first major individual award! Least Improved Player: Jiri Welsch, a perennial winner (or loser, depending on how you look at it).

Best shooter over 7 feet tall: Dirk Nowitzki, barely edging out Steven Hunter and Robert “Big Rob” Swift

Player I Would Most Like to See Danny Fortson Pick A Fight With: this could go two ways: one would be short, like Earl Boykins, just for sheer entertainment of watching Fortson get his knees punched; the other would be awkward white guy, like Mark Madsen, who would just turtle and try to work things out with words, not fists.

Most Clutch: ‘Melo, thanks to for pointing this out. Champs in 2006: Detroit Pistons in 6 games over San Antonio. Someone will blame it on Eva Longoria and she’ll be tossed out of Texas in a hurry, leaving Tony to pursue his career as T-Pizzle and dominate the rap charts. Word.

Justin Poulin’s Picks ( MVP: Lebron James. Despite Yaysports laughing at Paul Pierce as a legitimate MVP selection (he is legit BTW, but the team underachieved with many young players and so most people toss him out, but his stats are close to all the other MVP candidates and he sacrificed a lot this year for the development of the younger players, you'd have to watch every game to know that) I will give my vote to Lebron. He only hit his first game winning shot of his career in the second half of this past season, which is surprising, but I guess you have to be in games to win them and the Cavs finally are. Without Lebron they simply aren't. Steve Nash deserves consideration for what he has pulled off without Amare, but after further reflection I am giving more credit than I have in the past to the Suns coach Mike D'Antoni. Which brings me to the next award...

Coach Of The Year: Mike D'Antoni. Nash may be the perfect fit for Mike's offensive game plan and you could credit mostly Nash for the success of Boris Diaw, but D'Antoni is the head master of the school of fast break and coming away with the third best record in the Western Conference should be attributed to the coach who made his name overseas. Remember, it wasn't until Nash joined up with D'Antoni that he was considered a legitimate MVP candidate. The NBA should look to bring in more coaches with a European pedigree.

ROY: It's silly to even cast a vote; this is a no brainer. I advocated a Paul Pierce trade to the Blazers last offseason in exchange for the #3 overall pick and Van Exel. That's when Pierce had a bad attitude and fans were running him out of town. Pierce has had his best season as a pro and is no longer the disgruntled employee who was once portrayed to be, but even with the benefit of hind's sight I'd advocate that trade. Point Guards like Chris Paul are a commodity in this league.

Most Improved Player: Boris Diaw. I like what Mike James has done and Josh Howard could have taken this award had he not been injured for much of the season, but Diaw simply came from out of nowhere.

Best Dunker: Here comes the homer pick. Gerald Green. He caught everyone's attention for teabagging 6-11 Clippers forward Mark Bortz on his way to the hoop before dunking on the overmatched summer league invitee big man. Then Green disappeared until late in the season. After two trips to the NBADL to get his confidence up he arrived in Boston one fateful night in Toronto when he received an alley-oop off the back board from Tony Allen. He then went on a string of sportscenter top-ten highlights and has shown off his G-Force defying dunks.


Thu 04/20/06, 8:22 pm EST

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