Lake Show Life: NBA Awards

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Other players receiving votes: Paul George (1), Nikola Vucevic (1), James Harden (1)

Mar 2, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders (8) during the game against the Toronto Raptors at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 122-114. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Fern Rea: Paul George

Paul George was already a young player on the rise last season with the Indiana Pacers. This season he was thrust into a much larger role with the injury to Danny Grnager. Paul took hold of the larger role and flourished, helping the Indiana Pacers to a 49-31 record and the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The league took notice early on by naming him an All-Star.

Caleb Cottrell: Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders (Otherwise known as LARRY SANDERS!) has shown so much improvement this season. From being able to barely get on the floor, Sanders has become one of the best defensive players in the game. With averages of 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks, Sanders has proven himself this season. This is a really close race with Jrue Holiday and Greivis Vasquez in the running. But I think that with the crazy offensive improvement Sanders has had, he deserves the Most Improved Player award.

Skyler Gilbert: Larry Sanders

If I asked you last summer to tell me something about Larry Sanders, you’d probably give me a blank face. No-one knew who he was, and for good reason. He played 12.4 minutes per game, scoring 3.6 points per game for a non-playoff team. Now? He contributed hugely to the Bucks push into the Eastern Conference playoffs to gain the right to get swept by the Miami Heat (sorry). On a serious note, Sanders is one of the league’s best shot blockers and now nearly averages a double-double. Many advanced defensive statistics suggest that he’s one of the best defenders in the game and the eye test says so as well. His rotations are so crisp and he’s strong enough to take on the most powerful of post-up offensive players. Improved? I’d say so.

Chris Shellcroft: James Harden

Like all players in pro hoop Harden won’t get any real respect until he wins a ring. Leaving OKC for 25-million more dollars but longer odds of winning said ring will be his cross to carry. Give him his due respect however. He’s transitioned from do-everything-guard at ASU to Sixth man for the Thunder then seamlessly morphing into upper echelon lead guard without missing a beat while improving every year.

Daniel Nicks: Nikola Vucevic

He should win this award hands down, but he won’t. Vucevic averaged 5.5 points on 45 percent shooting and 4.8 rebounds in 15 minutes a game for the Sixers last season. Following a trade to  the Magic  he saw those averages rise to the tune of 13 points on 52 percent shooting and 11.9rebounds  in 33 minutes a game. Award or not, he’s well on his way to becoming one of the league’s top-tier centers.

Be sure to sound off in the comments and let us know who YOU think should walk away with this year’s awards.