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updated: 4/12/2014 5:25 PM

And the NBA postseason award winners are...

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  • The Bulls' Taj Gibson, left, should capture the NBA's sixth man award and Joakim Noah defensive player of the year honors, according to Mike McGraw.

      The Bulls' Taj Gibson, left, should capture the NBA's sixth man award and Joakim Noah defensive player of the year honors, according to Mike McGraw.
    Associated Press

 
 

The NBA season is about to end. Getting to the Finals is a longshot for the still Derrick-Rose-less Bulls, but they do have a good chance at a couple of postseason awards. Here's the breakdown:

Most valuable player

No doubt, this is Kevin Durant's year. He jumped into the lead when the Thunder played so well without Russell Westbrook, then his 25-point streak -- which ended at 41 games Tuesday against Sacramento -- sealed the outcome. LeBron James is the obvious No. 2.

It will be interesting to see if Joakim Noah cracks the top five. I'd say third and fourth place should go to San Antonio's Tony Parker, whose stats never match his value; and the Clippers' Blake Griffin, who took a nice step forward this season.

So maybe Noah is fifth in the MVP voting, but strong arguments could be made for Houston's James Harden, Indiana's Paul George and Portland's Damien Lillard or LaMarcus Aldridge. All those players led teams that will finish with a better record than the Bulls.

1. Durant, 2. James, 3. Parker, 4. Griffin, 5. Harden

Defensive player of the year

Unless we're missing something, Noah is a lock for this award. He has the reputation, the team success and always looks good in the pick-and-roll defensive analytics.

Going by the stats, a strong argument could still be made for Indiana center Roy Hibbert, but there's no way he'll win the way his rebounding numbers rolled off the table.

1. Noah, 2. Andre Iguodala, Warriors; 3. Hibbert

Coach of the year

Tom Thibodeau did a nice job, obviously, but this should be a race between the two biggest overachievers -- Toronto's Dwane Casey and Phoenix's Jeff Hornacek. Casey's been around for a while, which might bring him more votes, and he deserves the award.

1. Casey, 2. Hornacek, 3. Terry Stotts, Blazers

Rookie of the year

His team is horrible, but Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams leads all rookies in points (16.7), rebounds (6.1), assists (6.3) and steals (1.9), so it's tough to imagine what possible argument could be made for not giving him this award. Orlando's Victor Oladipo gave it a shot, but will finish second.

1. Carter-Williams, 2. Oladipo, 3. Trey Burke, Jazz

Sixth man award

Taj Gibson (12.5 points, 6.6 rebounds as a sub) might be using a strong finish to pull ahead in this category. Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (17.6 points), Phoenix forward Markieff Morris (13.6 points, 6.0 rebounds) or San Antonio's Manu Ginóbili (12.4 points) are the other contenders. Crawford is one of the Clippers' best scorers in the fourth quarter, but has missed 13 games due to injury since March 1.

1. Gibson, 2. Crawford, 3. Morris

Most improved

Bulls fans still remember Goran Dragic as the guy who was posterized by Derrick Rose a long time ago. As far as players who showed vast improvement and carried a team to better success, the Phoenix point guard is the guy this season. He's scoring average has risen from 11.7 to 14.7 to 20.5 in the past three years and he's shooting better than 50 percent from the field. Dragic's teammate, forward Gerald Green, is another strong candidate.

1. Dragic, 2. Isaiah Thomas, Kings; 3. Lance Stephenson, Pacers

Executive of the year

Not sure if Toronto's surprising rise was by genius or accident. Either way, first-year general manager Masai Ujiri didn't draft the guys most responsible for the turnaround. Phoenix's Ryan McDonough is a first-year GM who did improve with some smart trades and good coaching hire. Portland's Neil Olshey went from LaMarcus Aldridge begging for a trade at the end of last season to challenging for a top four playoff seed.

1. McDonough, 2. Olshey, 3. Rich Cho, Charlotte.

All-NBA

Are we allowed to call LeBron James a guard? The most appropriate all-NBA team would include James, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Joakim Noah edging out Dwight Howard at the center spot.

The second team has Howard, Minnesota's Kevin Love (his stats overwhelm winning percentage), Indiana's Paul George, Golden State's Steph Curry and San Antonio's Tony Parker.

Third team is Houston's James Harden, Portland's Damien Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, Toronto's DeMar DeRozan and Charlotte's Al Jefferson.

Biggest disappointment

1. Everything Cleveland: Kyrie Irving is an all-star starter, but hasn't figured out how to lead a successful team. The Cavs didn't get worse after adding Luol Deng from the Bulls, but didn't do much better either. Those dreams of LeBron James coming back home sank deep into Lake Erie.

2. New Orleans' premature rebuild: Anthony Davis is the game's brightest new star, but there's no telling when the Pelicans will be a respectable team after surrounding him with the overpaid guard crew of Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon.

3. Josh Smith and Andrea Bargnani: It's not so much the failure of these two acquisitions, but that anyone from the Pistons or Knicks actually thought it was a good idea.

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