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Postseason awards ballot: Durant for MVP

At this point, I think most writers make their postseason award votes known publicly anyway. But this year, in the name of transparency, ballots will be released. Here's mine. After last night's season finale had wrapped up, I double-checked my first awards ballot and sent it in. Already, I'm wrestling with some of the decisions. I don't doubt you'll disagree with some, too.

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MVP

1. Kevin Durant

2. LeBron James

3. Joakim Noah

4. Blake Griffin

5. Al Jefferson

This is KD's year. He's played without Russell Westbrook for long stretches of the season. His numbers are better (32 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 5.5 apt to James' 27.1, 6.9, 6.4. And OKC finished with five more wins than Miami.

Most Improved

1. Gerald Green, Phoenix Suns

2. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

3. Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers

I could have gone with a bunch of people here. It felt like most of Phoenix's roster was deserving. So was OKC's Reggie Jackson. Am I missing anyone else? Just everyone? OK. Goran Dragic will probably be the winner, and no doubt he made a leap this year. But for me, Dragic had shown he could play at a high level and Green's jump was too large to ignore.

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Joakim Noah

2. Roy Hibbert

3. Andre Iguodala

Each of the league's top three defenses is represented here. Ultimately, I settled on Noah because of his ability to do it all and because he did it even after losing a solid wing defender in Luol Deng.

Sixth Man

1. Jamal Crawford

2. Taj Gibson

3. Manu Ginobili

Gibson has been key in Chicago's success, and probably earned a starting role over Carlos Boozer. And Ginobili could have this award named after him. But Crawford's scoring (18.6 ppg) for the 57-win Clippers is huge.

Rookie of the Year

1. Michael Carter-Williams

2. Trey Burke

3. Victor Oladipo

Carter-Williams' numbers might be inflated because he's on an awful team, but they're still pretty impressive. And, for this award, I don't think being on an awful team is a deal breaker. However, wins and losses did play a part in my choice of Burke over Oladipo. Maybe this is simply the bias of having seen Burke all season. But while Oladipo's numbers (scoring, shooting percentage and rebounds) are better, Burke has meant too much to this Jazz team.

Coach of the Year

1. Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs

2. Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns

3. Steve Clifford, Charlotte Bobcats

If the Suns had made the playoffs maybe I reconsider this. Maybe. But what the Spurs do each year is just unbelievable. Sixty-two wins? A 19-game winning streak? And doing it while resting an aging lineup? This one belongs to Pop.

All-Rookie First Team

Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia

Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic

Trey Burke, Utah Jazz

Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets

Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks

All-Rookie Second Team

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Nate Wolters, Milwaukee Bucks

Pero Antic, Atlanta Hawks

Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics

Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder

All-Defensive First Team

Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Patrick Beverly, Houston Rockets

Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors

All-Defensive Second Team

Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder

Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies

All-NBA First Team

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

LeBron James, Miami Heat

Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

James Harden, Houston Rockets

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

All-NBA Second Team

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors

All-NBA Third Team

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Feel free to let me know where I screwed up.

— Aaron Falk



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