BLOGGERS' BALLOTS: Most Improved, Coach of the Year, and MVP

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 10, 2019 06:52 AM
BLOGGERS' BALLOTS: Most Improved, CotY, and MVP
NBAE via Getty Images

Here are the NBA PH bloggers' picks for the Most Improved Player of the Year award, Coach of the Year award, and of course, the MVP award.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Anton Roxas: D'Angelo Russell (Brooklyn Nets)

He went from being a snitch to a castaway. And then, he transformed himself from an injury-prone, questionable starter to an All-Star point guard. D’Angelo Russell has finally put his past behind him and could potentially be Brooklyn’s franchise player.

Migs Bustos: D'Angelo Russell (Brooklyn Nets)

D’Angelo has loaded all his ammo in becoming a potential franchise player. In just his second year with the team, he has manged to raise up his averages to 21 points, almost four rebounds and seven assists per game. Nobody thought the Nets would make it to the playoffs because of its mediocre (on paper) line-up, but Russell always stepped up to the occasion. He is the man, the one you turn to when they need a go-ahead bucket. He is the one carrying the Nets.

Enzo Flojo: Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)

A number of players have made big leaps this season, from the Cavs' Cedi Osman (3.9 to 13.0ppg), the Kings' De'Aaron Fox (11.6 to 17.5ppg), and even superstar Paul George (21.9 to 28.2ppg), but for me this award is really a toss-up between just 2 guys -- Toronto's Pascal Siakam and Brooklyn's D'Angelo Russell. Siakam's numbers have jumped from 7.3ppg, 4.5rpg, and 2.0apg last season to an eye-popping 16.8ppg, 6.9rpg, and 3.1apg this season. Russell, meanwhile, has made Lakers fans grind their teeth after setting jumps in scoring, assists, steals, and 3-point shooting. Overall, Siakam should take this, though, owing to his production's much bigger impact on Toronto's sucess.

Marco Benitez: Derrick Rose (Minnesota Timberwolves)

I know that officially he’s not really eligible to win the award being a former MVP, but hey, I’m going with the emotional pick for this one, and for good reason. We all had probably left Derrick Rose’s career as lost after multiple injuries and going from Chicago to New York to Cleveland, and then to Minnesota. But hands down, he has been the NBA’s biggest comeback story of probably the last decade; from averaging just 8.4ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.5apg in 25 games combined with the Cavs and the TWolves last season, Rose put up 18ppg, 2.1rpg and 2.7apg while shooting 37% from three over the course of 51 games before being shut down due to elbow soreness.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Anton Roxas: Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks)

He brought an unheralded Atlanta Hawks team all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 and was named NBA Coach of the Year. This season, he coached the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the league and will have home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Give him another trophy.

Migs Bustos: Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks)

I’d have to go with numbers on this one: The Bucks are ranked first in defense (104.5 defensive rating), third in offense (113.6 offensive rating), and have a net rating of 8.8, tops in the league. Budenholzer’s holistic approach translates to numbers, which made them consistent in holding down the number one spot.

Enzo Flojo: Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks)

It's Mike vs Mike. Budz is my pick, but he got a heck of a challenge from Denver's Michael Malone, who really did a number on the West, steering the Nuggets to (as of this writing) the 2nd best record in the conference. Still, Budz was able to one-up that as the Bucks made franchise history by being the only NBA team to get 60 wins this season, clinch homecourt advantage throughout the entire Playoffs, and earn their best win-loss record since the 1972-1973 season when Lew Alcindor (a.k.a. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) was still the team's best player.

Marco Benitez: Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks)

There was no question about the talent of the Milwaukee Bucks during the Jason Kidd era; but it was only when Budenholzer came in that they were able to develop a winning culture and fully unleash their offensive and defensive system, and the force that is Giannis Antetokounmpo. This season they were the 3rd most improved team on offense (4.7 points per 100 possessions) and most improved on defense (4.5 points per 100) according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com. Antetokounmpo is a legitimate MVP contender and possibly next most unstoppable force in the league after Lebron James. While their talent made them a playoff team in the East last year, Budenholzer has transformed them into a legitimate title contender this season.

MVP

Anton Roxas: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

Hands down, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak is the best player on the team with the best record in the league while averaging monster numbers (27.7 PPG 12.5 RPG 5.9 APG).

Migs Bustos: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

I’ll keep it simple. Number one player for the number one team. Giannis and the Bucks. Usually, the main metric in selecting MVPs is scoring, but sometimes we forget the real meaning and essence of this award. The word VALUABLE is more than just the stats, it is the VALUE the player gives and contributes to his team. Intangibles come in to play – leadership, impact, end-game heroics. Giannis has been consistent in almost all factors. Combine production and intangibles, and this is his award.

Enzo Flojo: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

Best player on the best team. Best player this season. Great storyline from underestimated 15th pick to Most Improved Player to MVP. As of this writing, the Greek Freak is averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game while shooting close to 58% from the field, so come on. This is an easy pick for me despite viable arguments for other superstars like James Harden or Russell Westbrook.

Marco Benitez: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

The Bucks sit atop the Eastern Conference, and while the new system of Mike Budenholzer deserves much of the credit, it’s still Giannis’ ability to control the game on both ends that has made them such a force in the East. All this while shooting only 25% from 3-pt range. And while James Harden and Russ still arguably lead in terms of pure stats, the Greek Freak is such a game-changing force that his rising to his full potential not coincidentally catapulted his team to the top of the league.

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