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Baseline Awards 2013 Final Edition Part III: ROY, Sixth Man and more

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

For Part One on the MVP race, click here. For Part Two on DPOY, click here.

The rest of our awards:

Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

There's a good argument to be made for Anthony Davis. From a metrics standpoint, you walk away feeling that Davis is the better player. And you certainly feel that he has more upside and a brighter future, based on what he and Lillard do.

But while Lillard's accomplishment is based mostly on minutes and usage, it also has to do with role. The Blazers pretty much set out from Day 1 to depend on Lillard, and he was good enough to get them within distance of the playoffs. He was more of a focal point and most obviously involved than Davis was. He deserves this and has for some time.

Runners up:

2. Anthony Davis, Hornets

3. Andre Drummond, Pistons

4. Bradley Beal, Wizards

5. Dion Waiters, Cavaliers

Picks from the rest of the EOB Crew:

From Zach Harper:

1. Damian Lillard -- I do think Anthony Davis has been the better player this season over Lillard, but the Blazers' rook has played more than 1,300 more minutes and will probably finish with a full season.

2. Anthony Davis

3. Andre Drummond

4. Bradley Beal

5. Harrison Barnes

From Royce Young:

1. Damian Lillard -- Maybe the only thing more of a sure thing than LeBron winning another MVP.

2. Anthony Davis

3. Andre Drummond

4. Bradley Beal

5. Chris Copeland

6th Man of the Year: Jarrett Jack, Warriors

J.R. Smith is going to win this award, because he's had a phenomenal month. Starting with the game in Utah, Smith has driven to the lane, drawn fouls, played hard and sometimes smart.

There were also four other months of the season.

Jack has gotten a lot of heat lately for his decision-making. This, in a year where the other leading candidates are Jamal Crawford and J.R. Smith. To talk about Jack's decision-making with a 29.9 assist rate is a little nuts. He's the crunch time leader for the Warriors and overall has been very good. He plays within the role of the offense but is willing to be aggressive without taking contested, step-back, fadeaway, falling-out-of-bounds shots.

Smith's going to win the award, and he has plenty of support as the No. 2 scorer behind Melo (which considering the team is built to entirely support Melo is not insanely difficult) and for his big shots (if you ignore all the rest of them). And he'll be an acceptable choice, as long as we only consider the last month of the season. Otherwise, it's Jack, largely because of the dropoff from Jamal Crawford, and the fact that Crawford's defense isn't able to keep him ahead of Smith.

The rest of the list:

2. J.R. Smith, Knicks

3. Jamal Crawford, Clippers

4. Corey Brewer, Nuggets

5. Ray Allen, Heat

Picks from the rest of the EOB Crew:

From Zach Harper:

1. Jamal Crawford -- Did Crawford take a dip in his production this season? Yes. But so did J.R. and Jack, so I'm not going to penalize just Jamal.

2. J.R. Smith

3. Jarrett Jack

4. Corey Brewer

5. Ryan Anderson

From Royce Young:

1. Jamal Crawford -- He has been the embodiment of the sixth man for awhile now, but his ability to consistently impact games off the bench has made him a major weapon for the Clippers.

2. Jarrett Jack

3. J.R. Smith

4. Kevin Martin

5. Ray Allen

Most Improved Player: Jrue Holiday, 76ers

Paul George is likely to take this one, with the argument being: "He wasn't an All-Star before and I hadn't heard of him, so now he's most improved." Which of course disregards the fact that George was this same player last season, just not as good. The key there is that other players made major transformations into their identities as players, and George merely trickled up his production for several months after he'd made the real tranformation last season. Is he better? Yes. He's improved in substantial ways across the board, but not enough.

Holiday, on the other hand, was not this good last year. He was tentative at the worst times, efficient on some levels but not as primary creator for the offense. And while I tend to look at a point guard's miserable offense around him and assign blame, there's none to be had here. Holiday was the only good thing about the Sixers this year, outside of Thaddeus Young and the night Dr. J showed up.

Holiday became a leader at both ends, and while his clutch-time stuff still needs some work, he blew me away with how he took over as "the guy" on a team. That's way bigger than just an All-Star berth.

Holiday has earned it.

Greivis Vasquez should win "most improvement with the least resources."

The rest of the list:

2. Larry Sanders, Bucks

3. Greivis Vasquez, Hornets

4. Lance Stephenson, Pacers

5. Paul George, Pacers

Picks from the rest of the EOB Crew:

From Zach Harper:

1. Larry Sanders -- Larry Sanders has gone from a guy who might be playing his way out of the league to someone who is going to end up with an eight-figure-per-season salary.

2. Lance Stephenson

3. Paul George

4. Jrue Holiday

5. Greivis Vasquez

From Royce Young:

1. Paul George -- Because of Danny Granger's absence, George has blossomed into the Pacers' star, and the best player on a top three Eastern team.

2. Jrue Holiday

3. Greivis Vasquez

4. Larry Sanders

5. Stephen Curry

Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra, Heat

This award is impossible. I can name 10 guys who legitimately deserve it. Lionel Hollins for bringing together a team short on talent and making them so much more than the sum of their parts. George Karl for navigating the NBA's toughest schedule (they played half their road games before Thanksgiving! Half!) and having a team full of youngsters win 56 games (at least). Gregg Popovich for having the best overall approach to coaching in every phase of the game from start to finish.

But I keep coming back to this: We saw a team loaded with superstars crash and burn in L.A. this season. We saw a star-studded team in New York do well but still finish second. We saw lots of teams with lots of talent not do well, just as we saw the Miami Heat struggle in 2011.

But this year? Erik Spoelstra managed the play and the minutes of the most talented team in basketball to a second-longest-in-NBA-history 27-game winning streak, 65 wins (at least), the best record in the Eastern Conference, and homecourt throughout the playoffs.

Yes, he has LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and a host of other great players. But Spoelstra also made that team work together, and he brought the absolute most he could out of it. A phenomenal year, and sometimes coaching talent is the hardest thing of all.

The rest:

2. George Karl, Nuggets

3. Gregg Popovich, Spurs

4. Mike Woodson, Knicks

4a. Mark Jackson, Warriors

4b. Lionel Hollins, Grizzlies

4c. Scott Brooks, Thunder

5. Frank Vogel, Pacers

Picks from the rest of the EOB Crew:

From Zach Harper:

COY:

1. Erik Spoelstra -- At some point, we need to recognize that while it might be easier to have a good record with this trio of stars, it still takes incredible coaching execution to get this team where it is.

2. George Karl

3. Mike Woodson

4. Gregg Popovich

5. Kevin McHale

From Royce Young:

1. George Karl -- He stuck to his "teamball" plan and not only has he proven naysayers wrong, he's built some kind of scary postseason team.

2. Erik Spoelstra

3. Mike Woodson

4. Tom Thibodeau

5. Gregg Popovich

Executive of the Year: Glen Grunwald, Knicks

They got J.R. Smith for a bargain. They landed Raymond Felton, who runs the pick and roll well. Jason Kidd has been sensational. Pablo Prigioni was a great pickup. Chris Copeland no one talks about, but he's been fantastic. They even hit on Kenyon Martin.

The Knicks win this award with smart spending, which is rare for that club. They didn't just throw money at problems, they made the right moves and landed themselves the second-best team in the league. That deserves credit.

The rest:

2. Masai Ujiri, Nuggets

3. Daryl Morey, Rockets

4. Bob Myers, Warriors

5. Rob Hennigan, Magic

Picks from the rest of the EOB Crew:

From Zach Harper:

1. Masai Ujiri -- The off-season moves of Ujiri set them up to be a regular season terror, even when players are going down with injuries.

2. Glen Grunwald

3. Daryl Morey

4. Sam Presti

5. Danny Ferry

From Royce Young:

1. Masai Ujiri -- It's about time he's gets the recognition deserved for not only rebuilding the team after trading Carmelo Anthony, but improving it greatly.

2. Pat Riley

3. Sam Presti

4. Glen Grunwald

5. Daryl Morey

 
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