Depending on your perspective, the first half of the 2021-22 NBA season has either gone very quickly or very slowly, much like the last two years for most of us. COVID protocols and the omicron variant have caused a nightly game of roster roulette that has sometimes left fans wondering who's even on the court for their favorite team.
This has made the yearly awards races both more complex and simpler at the same time. On one hand, it's slightly harder to gauge player performance when teammates -- and sometimes the players themselves -- have been unable to get into rhythm due to all the absences. On the other hand, we don't really have to worry about penalizing players for a lack of games played, since pretty much all of them have missed a handful of contests during this strange season.
As a result, the midseason MVP picks among our CBS Sports NBA experts varied greatly, with four different players receiving votes: Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMar DeRozan. It speaks to the vacillating nature of the race that two of our experts (who will remain nameless) understandably changed their MVP votes at the last second. With the new tally, Jokic rightfully ended up as our midseason pick, as he's been perhaps the most consistent superstar in the NBA, leading the league in basically every meaningful efficiency metric while carrying the short-handed Nuggets to an above-.500 record.
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The Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year races weren't nearly as close, with Cleveland Cavaliers phenom Evan Mobley unanimously chosen by our experts and Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro garnering all but one vote for Sixth Man amid a breakout season. Golden State Warriors vet Draymond Green was also one vote away from sweeping the DPOY category, with three-time winner Rudy Gobert his lone opposition.
The Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year votes were so close they ended in ties. Desmond Bane, Darius Garland and Miles Bridges each received two votes for MIP, while Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan and Cleveland Cavaliers head man J.B. Bickerstaff tied for Coach of the Year with three votes apiece after leading their teams to resurgent seasons.
Keep in mind that these awards look back on the first half of the season, and are not projections of who the winner will be when all is said and done. Plenty can change from now until mid-April, and we know better than to assume anything will go to plan in this wild NBA season.
|Expert||Coach of the Year||Executive of the Year|