The NBA All-Star break is finally here.
Let's look into a few major awards.
I've been really impressed with Carmelo Anthony this season, and he has really taken his game to the next level in terms of being a team leader. Despite his great regular season, I have to take LeBron James here.
The fact that he's attempting 18 shots a game and is averaging 56 percent from the field is unbelievable.
They are historic numbers, and he's become a better three-point shooter at 42 percent. He continues to evolve his game, from hitting the mid-range jump shot consistently last year to hitting three pointers consistently this year
Rookie of the Year
Damian Lillard (Runner-up: Bradley Beal)
There shouldn't be any debate here.
Lillard has developed into a star for Portland, and he's brought optimism to the Rose City, something that the franchise has lacked for a few years. It always expected for him to contribute to Portland, since he was always slated to a starter, but he has exceeded expectations so far, averaging 18 points per game.
Many rookies have had their moments this year, but nobody else has stand out. I'm leaning towards Beal as the runner up, since he's started to play well after a slow start.
Defensive Player of the Year
Joakim Noah (Runner-up: Serge Ibaka)
Noah has always been a workhorse, but he's stepped up this year when Chicago needed his defensive presence the most.
Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls knew that they were going to have to win games by playing elite defense. They are fourth in the league in defensive efficiency.
Noah is leading the way.
He averages 11 rebounds, two blocks and a steal per game.
Ibaka has become an enforcer with his three blocks per game, and Oklahoma City is one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Coach of the Year
Mike Woodson (Runner-up: Gregg Popovich)
I've always felt that Mike Woodson was an underachiever in Atlanta with a talented roster. Those teams never did anything notable in the playoffs.
But now he's doing a fantastic job in New York with an old roster, along with getting big years out of Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler.
I'm not sure if anyone had the Knicks as the second seed going into the All-Star break, which makes this even more special.
As for Popovich, the fact that the Spurs are 42-12 going into the all-star break with an old team is remarkable. I've been waiting for the past three years for the Spurs to decline, yet they are consistently in the top 3 in the Western Conferences year in and year out.
Most Improved Player
Paul George (Runner-up: O.J. Mayo)
Indiana has lost their franchise player Danny Granger to injury, yet they are still 32-21 and hold the third see in the East.
The improvement of Paul George has kept them afloat, and he's given Indiana a true number two option. He's taken the role of Danny Granger for the past few months, being an all-around playmaker.
Mayo has been an underachiever so far in his career, but going to Dallas was a good move. He is averaging a career high in field goal percentage, three-point percentage and assists, while proving Mark Cuban smart for taking a chance on him.
First Team All-NBA
G- Chris Paul
G- Kobe Bryant
F- LeBron James
F- Kevin Durant
C- Brook Lopez
While hard to keep Carmelo Anthony off the first team, Kevin Durant and LeBron James are having better seasons.
Brook Lopez is a surprise, not only for staying healthy, but also for finally having a high-production season.
No center has been as good as him this year.
The guard positions aren't debatable and have been the best at their respective positions.
Second Team All-NBA
G Kyrie Irving
G James Harden
F Carmelo Anthony
F Blake Griffin
C Al Horford
Like Carmelo Anthony, it was really hard to keep Tony Parker off the second team.
James Harden has made Houston into a possible playoff team, while becoming an all-around leader, making more of an impact more than Tony Parker.
The rest of the choices were easy, although Horford may surprise some. He's almost averaging a double-double and has been very efficient this season.
Third Team All-NBA
G- Russell Westbrook
G- Tony Parker
F- Paul Pierce
F- David Lee
C- Tyson Chandler
Tim Duncan has missed too many games to be on the list, which makes David Lee the next viable pick. Lee has been his consistent self this season, combined with the Warriors being in the playoff race, he is a logical choice.
I refuse to take Dwight Howard over someone like Tyson Chandler.
Chandler has been a workhorse this season and has been more involved offensively, while Howard has been a disappointment and needs to make a change, even if it's to take the rest of the season off due to injury issues.
G Damian Lillard
G Bradley Beal
G Dion Waiters
F Anthony Davis
C Andre Drummond
Usually this team is tough to pick, but there hasn't been much competition this year.
Lillard, Beal and Drummond were locks to make the team. Davis has been playing better and looking more like a No. 1 pick after having some injury issues earlier in the season.
Dion Waiters has averaged 14 points per game, while giving much needed support to Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.
I'm not expecting much to change with the awards come April. Josh Smith could join the Nets. I predicted that in my column on Tuesday. I'm confident he will be moved before the trade deadline.
Allen Strk is a columnist on Bleacher Report. You can read more of my work at TJRSports.com covering the NFL, NBA and MMA. You can follow me at @Allen_Strk on Twitter or e-mail, questions/comments at AStrk19@gmail.com.
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