There were many surprises during this NBA season. Whether it was a player improving, or a team overachieving, the season kept us intrigued. Here are some awards that I would give out for this past year.
Most Surprising Teams
3. The Chicago Bulls signed Carlos Boozer in the off season, but he did not make a great impact on this team. Boozer and Noah were each injured for parts of the season, and yet the Bulls had the best record in the NBA. That’s a big improvement from being the 8th seed in the East the year before.
2. The Dallas Mavericks started off the season well, but struggled when Dirk and Caron Butler were injured. But the team got through the adversity and shocked most people by winning the NBA Championship.
1. The most surprising team of the season has to be the Memphis Grizzlies. Many predictions did not include them in the playoffs, but they proved the critics wrong. It appeared as though the Grizzlies lost their final games on purpose in order to play the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs, and that decision was very bold. The Grizzlies beat the Spurs though, so it makes them look smart. They are a young team, and they beat the Spurs without Rudy Gay. It is unusual to say, but the future looks bright for Memphis.
Most Surprising Players
3. It might be a biased decision, but Jrue Holiday did improve a lot this season. He was very consistent for the 76ers this season, and he helped them reach the playoffs. Jrue started all 82 games for the Sixers this year, and he is only 20 years old. He improved in his points, rebounds, assists, and turnovers this season, and Philly needs him to continue to improve in order to make the playoffs again next year.
2. Kevin Love was a monster this year. He recorded a streak of 53 consecutive games with a double-double. He also led the league in rebounding, and he was able to average over 20 points per game. He is a player who can struggle from the field, but Love will always be able to dominate the boards, and it will be interesting to see if Minnesota can try to build around him.
1. Once again Portland experienced injury problems, but this season Wesley Matthews took the place of Brandon Roy. Matthews has made a name for himself in the NBA, and it comes as a surprise. He was not even the leading scorer during his senior year at Marquette, yet he is averaging almost the same amount of points in the NBA as he did in college. He is not as good as Brandon Roy, but he is definitely a great role player that will provide bench points for Portland next season.
Most Disappointing Teams
3. The San Antonio Spurs do not deserve to be number 3 on this list. The Spurs had a fantastic season. But simply put, they did not perform in the playoffs, and in the eyes of their fans there season has to be a disappointment if they lose to the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
2. The Los Angeles Lakers never really looked like the team that we are accustomed to seeing in the playoffs. They struggled against a Hornets team that was missing David West, and then they were SWEPT by the Mavericks. The Mavericks did go on to win it all, but the defending champions, with Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson, were swept? That doesn’t sound right.
1. The Milwaukee Bucks were definitely the biggest disappointment of the season. They played great in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, and a lot of people picked them to be a sleeper pick coming into the season. They should have easily made the playoffs in the Eastern Conference with the talent that they have, but they just couldn’t put it all together this season. Brandon Jennings is the key player, and he needs to shoot better than 39% from the field and get more than 4.8 assists per game.
Most Disappointing Players
3. Mike Miller was considered to be a big free agent signing and the depth that the Heat needed to win the Championship. He was known as a great outside shooter, and he showed glimpses of that this season. Miller was injured before the season started though, and he never consistently played well. He shot less than 30% from 3 point range during the playoffs, and he did not contribute much at all for Miami.
2. Carlos Boozer was going to be the big man that would provide scoring for the Bulls this season. The Bulls figured that Noah would make up for Boozer’s lack of defense, but Boozer struggled shooting. He was often replaced by Taj Gibson at the end of games because of Gibson’s superior defensive skills. Boozer shot decently in the Conference Finals, but Chris Bosh outscored him in every game. Bosh averaged 23.2 points per game in that series. Boozer needs to play defense if he wants to keep his job in the starting lineup.
1. Pau Gasol was invisible in the postseason. I remember reading an article about a month into the NBA Season that stated Pau Gasol was the MVP of the league thus far. I actually agree with that article. Gasol was playing at an MVP level, but it is amazing how things turned for the worse. Gasol didn’t need to put up those numbers for the rest of the season, or the playoffs, but he should have at least acted like he wanted to be on the court. Gasol has never averaged less than 48 % shooting and 17.6 points per game in his game in the regular season. With 10 years in the league those stats are impressive. But Gasol averaged about 13 ppg and he only shot 42% in this postseason. Unless he was injured, which is unlikely because nothing has been said about it, Gasol’s performance is a disgrace.