With the NBA season coming into the homestretch and the regular season coming to a close, lets start talking about awards. Every team has an MVP, but who are the players that don’t get as much attention and are just as important? So over a series of 6 articles, I’m going to give you my thoughts on who is my choice on each team by division. In this edition will be about the Southwest Division. (Stats of of April 1st, 2019)
- Dallas Mavericks- Jalen Brunson
In October, Brunson was considered as the fourth point guard on a roster that included Dennis Smith Jr, J.J Barea and Devin Harris. Now 5 months later, Brunson not only has moved up the depth chart but he’s starting and averaging close to double-digits per game. In March, Jalen averaged 15.1 points and 4.3 assists per game as he has more than made up for the absence of Smith Jr (traded) and Barea (season-ending injury). Since the all-star break, Jalen is hitting 52.7% of his shots from the field.
- Houston Rockets- P.J Tucker
If toughness was a trackable statistic, Tucker would be in the top 5 in the entire league. On a team that has the potential MVP (James Harden), a hall of fame point guard (Chris Paul), an underrated center (Clint Capella) and one of the best sixth-men in the league (Eric Gordon), what PJ does is overlooked. He guards the opposing teams best forwards and even some guards. When guarded by Tucker, players shoot 43.1% and they take over 11 attempts per game. On top of that, Tucker is the NBA’s leader in Corner 3-pointers made with 100.
- Memphis Grizzlies- Kyle Anderson
Kyle isn’t the flashest of players and doesn’t get as much attention from the casual NBA fan, but his impact this Memphis team is huge. Even though he was limited to 43 games this year, he filled the stat sheet on a nightly basis. 28 games of 5 or more rebounds, 27 games of at least a steal, 28 games with at least a block and the Grizzlies went 19-24 with him in the lineup. Sometimes, scoring points doesn’t truly show how much a player means to a team.
- New Orleans Pelicans- Julius Randle
It’s not every day a team that has a player who averages 21.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game become an unsung hero. But when his team has gone through what the New Orleans Pelicans have experienced in 2018-2019, it gets overlooked. Julius has done everything right in his first season in the big easy. He’s played both Power Forward and Center, he’s come off the bench when needed and excelled as a starter.
- San Antonio Spurs- Derrick White
In a season, where the Spurs lost their starting and 2nd team All-NBA Defensive Team point guard, their first round pick has only played in 12 games and their soon to be Hall of Fame leader, White has stepped in and been a rock at the lead guard spot. After missing the opening 9 games of the season and working his way back into the rotation, White has started 43 of 44 games since being named a starter in December and has held down the position. He’s shooting a solid 47.1% from the floor, averaging 4 assists a game and San Antonio is 31-19 when he starts.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPkc4sZtMkE