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The End of the Year Celtic Awards.

April 1, 2009

Here are my award winners for 2009– Scott’s will be coming later this week. Here is a brief description for each award:

  • MVP – the player you want and need on the court every night in order to secure a win
  • Most Improved – the player that has demonstrated the most growth from last season until now
  • Best Defender – the player who is a shut down defender and can turn around a game with his defense
  • 6th Man – the player that provides the best bench support
  • Loscy Award (Team Player) – the player that gives so much to help the Celts win but his impact can’t truly be measured in the box score
The Truth = MVP

The Truth = MVP

MVP: Paul Pierce
Pierce really has been the MVP for this team all year. Despite a recent shooting slump toward the end of March (3-16 v. Spurs, 2-6 v. Grizz, 3-7 v. Clips), Pierce has carried this team during its two huge win steaks and throughout the treacherous stretches of difficult losses. Pierce is averaging a solid 20 points per game at 45% from the field, and averaged 25 points in the month of February when KG was out. His long range shooting has dramatically improved this year, which makes him all the more deadly during his fourth quarter heroics that he has shown us all year. Oh yeah, before I forget: Pierce has played in all 75 games to date and started 74 of them. For a player that makes a living of taking it strong to the hoop, how does his body hold up? Remember in 2000 when Pierce was stabbed 11 times a couple of weeks before the season started? He was the only Celt that season that started all 82 games that season. Pierce has beautifully combined a great understanding for how the game should be played to win with his physical athletic prowess to make him this year’s (Celts) MVP.

Scary, huh?

Scary, huh?

Most Improved: Kendrick Perkins
Perk is my biased vote for Most Improved Player for the entire NBA. Long shot, I know. There is no reason why Kevin Durant shouldn’t get the MIP. Back to Perk, the animal. Perk has accepted his role on this phase of the Boston Celtics: Pierce/Allen/KG are first options on offense, run by Rondo, supported by Perk. It’s sort of the best supporting actor of the best supporting actor role. Get it? Perk’s numbers are strong this year: 8 points on 59% shooting, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. The biggest thing about Perk’s game that makes me happy is his growing intelligence on defense. Granted, the big guy has a long way to go, but he is quicker on transitions, committing less ticky-tack fouls, and strong enough to play the bigs from other teams. Perk’s ability to play bigger defenders allow KG to play his more natural position of PF and roam a bit more like a free safety in football if he is so inclined. Perk has greatly reduced the number of terrible shots in a game, hence why his shooting % is just a tad under 60%. Keep it up and he could be a 14-10 guy next season.

Come back soon, KG.

Come back soon, KG.

Best Defender: Kevin Garnett
Was there ever any doubt? Ugh– his absence from the team with this mysterious knee injury has put a spotlight into our front-court defense: it’s not the same without the floor general. I don’t have the space to get into his overall importance to this team, but his defensive ability is sorely needed if this team wants #18. Simply put, he quarterbacks the teams defense so well and can so quickly read what the offense is trying to do. KG is smart enough to play against bigger guys (Shaq) and athletic enough to stop faster guys (Bosh). It is reassuring to know that when he is on the floor, he can shut down another team’s front court.

Go Powe Go

Go Powe Go

6th Man: Leon Powe
This was tough. Big Baby Davis still doesn’t make me 100% comfortable and there is just something about his inconsistency that makes me wonder how much I can trust this guy in the closing minutes of a game. Big Baby was a deserving second place. But The Show Leon Powe is my man. This is the case where season stats don’t really give you the entire picture. Leon’s season line reads: 7 points on 52% shooting and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes. So for just more than 1/3 of the game, he puts up reasonable numbers. The thing stats can’t tell you is HOW he gets those points and WHEN he gets those points. Powe was initially seen as a big guy that just would take it strong, get fouled, and making living from the line. Once this became apparent, Powe began pulling away and adding more post moves to get him points. Most importantly, he started to finish on so many of his shots. How did that work for him? How about 20 points against the Cavs (3/6) on 82% from the field? Or 23 points against the Heat (3/11) on 50% shooting? Or how about a career high 30 points against the Grizzlies (3/13) on 72% shooting? Yes, I’d say it is working well, too. My suggestions for Leon’s new nicknames: Powe(r), Powe-it [sounds like “poet”], or POW [reference to Phil Jackasson from ’08 finals].

Mmmm Hmmmmm

Mmmm Hmmmmm

The Loscy Award: Rajon Rondo
The winner of the first annual Loscy Award has to go to Rajon Rondo. Rondo will be an anomaly because some of his statistics really do show the kind of contribution he is making this year (12 points, 9 assists, 2 steals, 50% FG), but so do all of the unmeasurables. Rondo is the point guard that starts every offense, runs every play, and has to figure out which future hall of famer’s hands will touch that ball (Ray, Pierce, KG). Rondo manages to do this without any in-fighting or bickering. Now onto his two tools that make him Loscy-worthy: speed and aggressiveness. His speed kills: players play off him and they’ll find a pick-n-roll that he has beautifully mastered. His jumper is much improved, making him tougher to guard. Players play on him and he turns it up a gear to take to the hoop. He has a great ability to finish and his calmness in the paint in the midst of intense traffic is wonderful. He has added that tear-drop/floater-like shot that has become a weapon in the paint. His biggest improvement, however, is his ability to just be aggressive for all 36 minutes and in his attitude throughout the game. He attacks so well on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense– how many players have you seen in the past almost let plays happen so that he can break it up? Think about how many times he gets a steal when he is behind or to the side of a player? Think about how many times he steps away only to step back into a lane to take the ball away. His speed and aggressiveness are the keys to his success and the Celtics– both unmeasurable by statistics.

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