The first half of the season blew by and we’d like to share OG’s NBA Midseason Awards, which include the league’s main awards like MVP and Coach of the Year, plus several categories we made up on our own, like Most Overrated Player, Biggest Locker Room Rift, Worst Coach, and Fantasy Stud.
In the main categories, we love Ja Morant for MVP, Evan Mobley for Rookie of the Year, Taylor Jenkins from the Memphis Grizzlies as Coach of the Year, Tyler Herro for the Sixth Man Award, Desmond Bane for Most Improved Player, and Draymond Green for Defensive Player of the Year.
But, we also have a few fun categories of our own, like Steph Curry as the People’s Champion, Nikola Jokic for Fantasy Stud, Ben Simmons for Least Favorite, John Wall for Biggest Dud, Kristaps “Unicorn” Porzingis as the MOP (aka, the Most Overrated Player), and Zion Williamson for the Paper Mache Injured Man of the Year.
MVP: Ja Morant
The bookies have Steph Curry (+150 odds) as the consensus favorite to win MVP. Kevin Durant (+330) also has a lot of public money backing him. Curry is bogged down in a shooting slump after breaking Ray Allen’s record for most 3-pointers. Durant is out for at least a month with a sprained knee.
Heading into the halfway point of the season, Ja Morant from the Memphis Grizzlies is the best player on the hottest team in the league. They recently snapped off an 11-game winning streak. Morant has been bringing the heat on both ends of the court. He flew through the air like a Marvel superhero and blocked a shot against the LA Lakers last weekend, which everyone is still talking about. Morant is fifth on the board at DraftKings at +1400 odds, but he’s number one in our hearts.
Rookie of the Year: Evan Mobley
The Cleveland Cavaliers look good this season because all of those high, first-round draft picks they got over the last few horrible seasons are paying off dividends. Evan Mobley missed a couple of weeks of action with a sprained elbow, but he’s still the top rookie. He’s the consensus favorite to win ROY and you can back him at -140 odds at DraftKings.
Most Improved Player: Desmond Bane
It’s okay if you’re not familiar with Desmond Bane. Very few people outside of Memphis, or non-fantasy NBA owners, are aware of him. Bane averages 17.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Memphis Grizzlies. He also shoots 42% from 3-point range. Last year, he averaged 9.2 ppg in his rookie season, and showed flashes of brilliance for his sniping abilities. At 43% from downtown, Bane posted the best 3-point shooting percentage for a rookie since Steph Curry’s first season.
Bane was a late first-round draft pick out of TCU, which isn’t exactly a powerhouse hoops school. He was a rare four-year player, so he entered the NBA with a little more maturity than the typical first-rounder. The Celtics traded him to the Griz, and they’re regretting that move.
Morant has the inside track to MIP and he’s -190 odds over at DraftKings. We hate to double up on awards, which is why we’d like to recognize his backcourt partner in Bane.
Sixth Man: Tyler Herro
Herro made a name for himself during his rookie season with the Miami Heat during the 2020 NBA Playoffs inside the bubble in Orlando. Jimmy Butler took the rube under his wing and they went all the way to the NBA Finals before losing to LeBron James and the LA Lakers.
Herro suffered a sophomore slump last season because everyone was gunning for him. Now in his third season, Herro looks sharp coming off the bench for the Heat, averaging 20.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. He’s the team’s second-best scorer behind Butler. Herro is the consensus favorite to win the NBA’s Sixth Man. He’s -550 odds at DraftKings.
Coach of the Year: Taylor Jenkins
The Memphis Grizzlies moved into the #3 seed in the top-heavy Western Conference. Only the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors have better records. Jenkins is making the most out of a team that didn’t have any “stars,” aside from Morant. The Griz’s second-best scorer, Dillon Brooks, started the season three weeks late due to a broken hand. He has some veteran leadership with big man Steven Adams, but it’s mostly Jenkins putting his young guns in the best position to win games.
Jenkins has been preaching defense and the Grizzlies are loyal converts. They allow 108 ppg this season, which is 4.5 points fewer than last season.
Even with Morant out for a stretch, the Grizzlies are still a solid team. They set an NBA record with a 73-point margin of victory against the OKC Thunder, and achieved that feat without Morant in the lineup.
Jenkins is fifth on the betting board at DraftKings at +700 odds to win the 2022 NBA Coach of the Year. Monty Williams (+300) is a slight favorite over Billy Donovan (+400).
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green
Rudy Gobert or Draymond Green? It’s a tough choice. Both are betting favorites, with Green listed at -110 at DraftKings. Green went out for a few games with a calf/back injury and the Golden State Warriors shat the bed. They’re just not the same team without him on the court as a truely imposing physical and mental presence.
Fantasy Stud: Nikola Jokic
Jokic dropped a back-to-back triple-double over the weekend for the Denver Nuggets. The reigning MVP is the best passing big man in the NBA while averaging 7.4 assists per game. Overall, he posted 25.3 points and 13.9 rebounds per game. His PER rating of 32.71 is tops in the NBA. Jokic is the #1 points generator in NBA fantasy leagues and he’s the nerd MVP, or OG’s Midseason Fantasy Stud.
People’s Champion: Steph Curry
Who doesn’t love Curry? That’s why he’s OG’s People’s Champion. When Curry broke the NBA 3-point record at Madison Square Garden, the first thing he did was hug his mother. Curry is the NBA’s best shooter, even if he’s in a slump. He still has five or more seasons left in him, so he’ll probably set a new 3-point shooting record that might never get broken.
Least Favorite: Ben Simmons
Simmons wanted the Philadelphia 76ers to trade him, but he wouldn’t play ball while waiting for the right time. Literally. He made up some bullcrap excuse that he’s having mental health issues, which is why he has yet to suit up for the team this season. He signed a max contract and should honor his end of the deal, but emo Simmons thought he could circumvent the system. What he didn’t realize is that his way made him even tougher to trade because other teams don’t want to overpay for a head case. He reminds me of that one erratic and emotionally unstable friend who deletes and starts up a new social media account every few months. Everyone in Philly loathed Simmons last year, and he’s now become the Least Favorite Player in the NBA.
MOP (Most-Overrated Player): Kristaps Porzingis
The Unicorn had potential, but he’s been a “flat soda” with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 20.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Porzingis hasn’t demonstrated All-Star ability or anything close to his earliest days with the New York Knicks, and he hasn’t been the same since his first major knee injury. He also doesn’t mesh well with teammate Luka Doncic. Doncic knows if he passes to the Unicorn, the ball isn’t coming back. Congrats on winning the first-ever MOP in the OG’s NBA Midseason Awards!
Favorite Head Coach: James Borrego
Borrego, the Charlotte Hornets head coach is a dead ringer for Kendall on HBO’s “Succession.” If you’re a fan of the show, then you know that Kendall Roy is an emotional mess. Borrego is actually the opposite. He’s been cool and calm while guiding a young team for a miserly owner who also happens to be the greatest basketball player of all time. It’s not easy to get bossed around by Michael Jordan. Heck, Scottie Pippen wrote a book about it. Steve Kerr got punched in the face by Jordan in practice once. Luc Longley, the easy-going Aussie, got snubbed from Jordan’s documentary series. But Borrego has to deal with a tough boss while guiding a young team that’s making waves with players like LaMelo Ball, PJ Washington, and Miles Bridges.
Biggest Dud: John Wall
Wall hasn’t played a single game this season for the Houston Rockets, yet they’re on the hook for a max contract. He’s getting paid to just work out with the team while waiting for the front office to trade him. I mean, the Rockets are one of the worst teams in the NBA, so I don’t blame Wall. Then again, how much better would they be with him in the lineup? However, it’s been difficult to find someone who wants to take on an expensive contract for an injury-prone ball hog.
Snake Oil Salesman of the Year: Kyrie Irving
Kudos to Kyrie Irving for figuring out that he’d get paid for playing only road games this season with the Brooklyn Nets. Now that the Nets lost Kevin Durant for four to six weeks with a knee injury, Irving’s road performances are even more vital to keep the Nets at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Best Dynamic Duo: DDR and Zach LaVine
The Chicago Bulls are the best team in the Eastern Conference thanks to DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. DeRozan (25.7 ppg) and LaVine (24.9 ppg) are two high-volume scorers, but they still manage to share to rock with teammates. DeRozan and LaVine sounds like the name of a detective agency in Hollywood, but they’re OG’s Best Dynamic Duo.
Biggest Rift: Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert
Sometimes players don’t hit it off like LaVine and DeRozan do. We know that LeBron James is regretting asking the Lakers to trade half the team to the Washington Wizards for Russell Westbrook since they just don’t gel on the court. Word on the street is that there’s a frosty scene inside the Utah Jazz locker room between Rudy Gobert and the rest of the team, especially Donovan “Spida” Mitchell. The two were on shaky ground before the pandemic hit. Gobert became patient zero in the NBA and they shut down after he first tested positive for COVID-19. He infected Mitchell, who had a rough bout of COVID. The two apparently patched things up last season, but Gobert is back to being an asshole again this season. And yes, Gobert tested positive for COVID for the second time a couple of weeks ago.
Worst Drop-Off: Julius Randle
Randle played out of his skull last season with the New York Knicks, which is the main reason they shocked the world and snagged the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Randle played like crap in the playoffs and the Knicks were flushed down the toilet by the Atlanta Hawks. Since then, Randle (19.1 ppg) has played awfully, and the Knicks followed suit this season. They’re on the verge of missing the playoffs. Randle’s average is five points less per game, and his 3-point shooting is dreadful (31.3% vs 41.1% last season)
Paper Mache Man of the Year: Zion Williamson
Williamson had a setback in rehabbing his foot injury and he’s yet to play a game with the New Orleans Pelicans this season. It’s unfortunate because the Pels can use him. Without the former #1 pick in the draft in the lineup, the Pelicans are among the bottom feeders in the Western Conference. At this point, Williamson has missed more career games than he’s played, which is why he’s a lock for OG’s Paper Mache Man of the Year. Be careful handling that trophy, it’s fragile!
Next Coach Fired: Mark Daigneault
Luke Walton was the first coach fired this season when the Sacramento Kings gave him a pink slip after 17 games and a 6-11 start. Oklahoma City head coach Mark Daigneault is most likely the next coach who could get fired before the season ends. Stephen Silas from the Houston Rockets is also on the hot seat for the last-place Rockets.
Worst Coach of the Year: Alvin Gentry
Can a team fire two coaches in the same season? We’ll find out if the Sacramento Kings actually pull off that double-whammy. They got rid of Walton at the start of the season when they should have ditched him in the offseason. They installed Alvin Gentry as the interim head coach, but the young Kings haven’t responded to his old-school ways. At least Walton, who is a former player and NBA champion, was more on their level. Plus, his father is a well-known, burned-out hippie and acid casualty, so Walton had a lot of patience with space cadets. Gentry has zero patience for a young squad. He got the boot in New Orleans with an inexperienced team, and he’s about to get the boot in Sacramento.