As the NBA Awards approach us the Miami Heat have several candidates who could hold a trophy by the end of the month.
First, James Johnson, a candidate for Sixth Man of the year. When you have James Johnson up for the Sixth Man award against Eric Gordon and Andre Iguodala, it would be tough to plead a case in JJ’s name. The three point champ, Eric Gordon, averaged 16 points, but also averaged a career low in assists. Gordon 16 points per game is average compared to his previous numbers. Iggy, on the other hand, averaged a close second to his career low in points and neared career lows in assists and rebounds. James Johnson averaged a career high 13 points, four assists and five rebounds in less time per game than Gordon and barely a minute more than Iggy.
Coach of the Year candidates Greg Popovich, Erik Spolestra, Mike D’antoni, and Brad Stevens all compare very well. Coach Pop and the Spurs show up every single year as contenders and are one of few teams that give the Warriors trouble every time the face. D’antoni led a shallow Rockets team to be a top three seed in the West. Brad Stevens headed a Celtics team, who really doesn’t look that great on paper, to be the beast of the East, the East’s number on seed. The reason Coach Spo should hold up that Coach of the Year trophy is because the defensive side of the game and the work he did with what he had.
The Heat were the best defensive team in the East. They held their opponent to a conference leading 102 points per game and were the fifth most efficient defense in basketball. Led by Hassan Whiteside on defense, who averaged 10 defensive rebounds per game and two blocks per game, Coach Spo and his staff helped the players guard the wings leading to the Heat letting up the least three-pointers made this season.
After starting 11-30, finishing the second half of the year at 30-11, concluding the grand finale, Miami finished at 41-41. The Heat’s roster on paper isn’t very strong and was plagued with injuries to key reserves and starters as well. Without Justice Winslow and Josh Richardson for the majority of the year and injuries holding Dion Waiters out 36 games, working to find a guy to play that shooting guard and small forward spot was tough, but thats where Tyler Johnson and James Johnson made there name known.
Although Miami got to hit the golf course early, adding some silverware to the trophy case could be ideal considering the lack of luck they got this season.