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NBA V-Awards: Duncan deserves MVP


April 20
I'm a fan who follows the NBA. I check the box scores, watch as many games as possible, listen to the experts like David Aldridge and Peter Vecsey. As a fan, I love basketball on all levels.

I have opinions on this year's NBA awards. Here's my look at the star of stars, my V-Awards ... V for victory, baby! These guys performed exceptionally well.

Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is a slam dunk as Dickie V's MVP.
MVP -- Tim Duncan, Spurs
You can make a case for a number of guys for the MVP award.

There have been some super performances from Chris Webber of Sacramento, Shaquille O'Neal of the Lakers (where would they be without his play in the post?), great individual efforts by Kevin Garnett of the Timberwolves, Tracy McGrady of the Magic, Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks and Kobe Bryant of the Lakers.

To me the MVP comes down to two men -- Jason Kidd of the Nets and Duncan. Look at how far the Nets have come with Kidd's leadership and play in the backcourt.

Day in and day out, Duncan has been Mr. Consistency. You could count on him on both sides of the floor, knowing he'd give you a double-double just about every night.

My pick is Duncan. He's one of my favorites, and he has had such a phenomenal year. Duncan has joined the club of those have reached 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in one season.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR -- Pau Gasol, Grizzlies
You think about a lot of the young kids, like Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler, who have taken a lot of time to progress.

Jamaal Tinsley was brilliant at times for the Pacers. The former Iowa State guard has been an important contributor for Isiah Thomas' team. He was a starter for a team battling down the stretch for a playoff berth, so there was also that added pressure.

Richard Jefferson has helped off the Nets bench this season. Shane Battier has shown his maturity as a rookie for the Grizzlies. Tony Parker of San Antonio also had a solid rookie season.

My choice for Rookie of the Year is Gasol, Battier's Memphis teammate. The 7-footer came over from Spain and made noise, averaging over 17 points a game. He's very active and multidimensional.

Gasol and Battier were two quality draft picks made by Dick Versace and the Grizzlies.

Look at the turnaround enjoyed by the Pistons this season. Rick Carlisle has done a great job, getting great offensive play from Jerry Stackhouse and efficient play on the defensive end.

If you want to talk about a player making noise, what about the job done by Wallace? He came in unheralded out of Virginia Union, the same school that produced Charles Oakley.

Wallace has been an outstanding rebounder. He had 28 off the glass on the defensive board. Wallace can guard, be physical and aggressive, and has a mind-set a little reminiscent of another former Piston, Dennis Rodman.

Wallace gets my vote in this category.

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR -- Corliss Williamson, Pistons
I'm staying in with the Pistons. Williamson has given instant relief with his great play off the bench. The former Arkansas Razorback has been outstanding. He has great post-up ability, and his productivity off the bench has been a factor in Detroit's division championship.

COACH OF THE YEAR -- Byron Scott, Nets
There are a number of legitimate candidates. Rick Adelman has done an outstanding job leading the Kings to the Western Conference regular-season championship. Adelman has blended Chris Webber and a talented nucleus into a solid unit. Don Nelson has molded the Mavericks into a contender. Carlisle has done a great job in his first season. Detroit has played unselfishly, and the results are evident.

My pick is Scott. To win over 50 games is impressive, as is blending the personalities and egos involved, having Kerry Kittles and Keith Van Horn contributing, and getting a solid year out of Kenyon Martin, even though he has to control his emotions. The former Lakers guard has this team playing hard and winning.

Thorn made the move to send Stephon Marbury to Phoenix for Kidd. He also picked up Todd MacCulloch from Philadelphia, and the big man has made a difference for the Nets. He has given some solid minutes in the post.

New Jersey also acquired Richard Jefferson on draft day, and he has contributed off the bench. Thorn is a quality guy who understands life in the NBA.

There you have it, just having a little fun, giving my picks. I can't wait for the NBA to be on ESPN and ABC next season, baby!

It will be nice to know the networks I work at will have the best athletes in the world competing. You can talk about other sports all you want, but when you talk about agility, mobility, quickness and overall athleticism, it has to be the players wearing the NBA uniform.

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