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April 18, 2003

Garnett's the MVP
By Dan Patrick

It was quite an interesting season for NBA basketball. There were great individual performances (Kobe Bryant's incredible 40-point streak), team performances (Minnesota's winning streak at home) and general craziness (Ron Artest and Pat Riley). Now it's time to vote on the individual achievements of the players.

Kevin Garnett
Garnett has been dominant all season long.
A strong case for MVP could be made for Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Tim Duncan or Shaquille O'Neal, they've all done a great job this season. But Kevin Garnett has been phenomenal. I talked to Charles Barkley earlier this season about the possibility of Garnett leading his team in every category this season and Charles said "That's because the rest of his teammates suck." While I'm not as bold (or big) as Charles, I will say that every other MVP candidate has a player or two on his team that he can count on. KG's guy, Wally Sczerbiak, missed 30 games this season and is just starting to find his on-court rhythm. Garnett averaged 23 points per game with 13.4 rebounds and six assists this season. He led the league with six triple doubles and double-doubles with an amazing 68. He was the MVP of the All-Star game and is my MVP of the 2003 season. It's time we stopped calling Garnett "Da Kid" and start calling him THE MAN.

Defensive Player of the Year
Ben Wallace is 7-0 with his Afro and 6-8 without it. He led the league in blocks and rebounding for the second consecutive season and is an intimidating defensive force in every game. Without his presence it'd be difficult for the Pistons to make the playoffs much less be the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference

Rookie of the Year
This is the first season in quite sometime where the rookie wall did not play a role in the voting for rookie of the year. Yao Ming and Amare Stoudamire get the press but former UCONN swingman Caron Butler is my rookie of the year. I'm voting for Butler for the same reason that I voted for Garnett for MVP. Butler does not have another player to handle the load when he's having an off night. If Yao Ming is having a bad game he has Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley and Glen Rice to defer to. If Amare Stoudamire is not playing well, Stephon Marbury and Shawn Marion can take over. Butler has nobody. He's already the best player on his team and Pat Riley has a cornerstone player to build around.

6th Man of the Year
Corliss Williamson is the Pistons fourth-leading scorer for the Pistons with 12 points per game. Williamson has been a great sparkplug for the Pistons and his energy and smart, veteran play helped the Pistons finish first in the Eastern Conference

Coach of the Year
The first son of a former coach to coach in the league, Eric Musselman has taken a lethargic Golden State franchise and breathed life into them. He has the team playing an ABA style brand of basketball that is fun to watch and he's won 17 more games this season than last.

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