Brooklyn Nets 2019-20 Team Awards
After one of the most successful offseasons to date, the Brooklyn Nets entered the season with sky-high expectations. Unfortunately, the lofty goals set did not come to fruition after the team was plagued by injuries, mediocre production, and lack of chemistry. These issues were encapsulated by longtime coach Kenny Atkinson's tenure finding an unseemly end a mere week before the season entered a hiatus. In the coming seasons, the Nets are expected to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, potentially the entire league. But now, we look back at the team awards for the past year.
Defensive Player of The Year: Jarrett Allen
Unbeknownst to many, the Nets played well on the defensive side of the bal this past year, ranking 8th even though the roster is not filled with defensive stalwarts, to say the least. Sure, they boast a few solid teams defenders such as Garrett Temple, Wilson Chandler, and DeAndre Jordan, but these veterans are well into the later ends of their careers, seeing as their defensive impacts have become proportionally smaller as their roles decrease. The Nets defensive scheme was centered around protecting the rim and fighting over screens to take away three pointers and layups. This style was dominated by Allen, who played in a lot of pick and roll drop coverage. He was an elite rim protector who can also provide a highlight rejection at the rim everyone once and awhile for his team.
Most Improved Player: N/A
Unfortunately, I don't believe that anyone on this Nets deserves this award. No one player showed significant improvement on the court, even though many were expected to. Caris LeVert was able to elevate his play late in the year, he once again missed major time with an injury. Taurean Prince was a pre-season candidate for the award, but his lack of defensive awareness and offensive decision making made him all but obsolete on both ends of the floor this year. Jarrett Allen did technically improve, but in no significant manner. As for Spencer Dinwiddie, he had a career year numbers-wise, but I believe that came only with larger opportunity, and not necessarily an improvement in skill. However, that does lead me to...
Most Valuable Player: Spencer Dinwiddie.
However childish some might find his off antics on Twitter, he certainly backs up his wild proposals with solid play on the court. This year, he was thrusted into a starting job with Kyrie Irving playing a mere 20 games, and an even larger role when LeVert went down, missing serious time as well. He was able to post averages of 21 points and 7 assists, keeping the Nets ship afloat. At one point in the year, Dinwiddie seemed poised to be in serious contention for an All-Star spot, even earning himself Player of the Week honors in the Eastern Conference.
Rookie Of The Year: Nicolas Claxton
Almost automatically, this year's winner is Nicolas Claxton. He is one of only two rookies who saw the floor this year, and the other - Jeremiah Martin - only entered the games in garbage time. Claxton projects well for the future as a combo big man who can handle the ball some and is crafty down low. In small bursts, we've seen solid defense in the paint protecting the rim and on the perimeter keeping up with faster guards. If his jump shot from long range can develop, he will become a valuable weapon on a winning team.
Sixth Man of the Year: DeAndre Jordan
In a year where practically every player saw both starter minutes and was tried in a bench role, DeAndre Jordan shined backing up the center position. Although some may describe him as a shell of who he once was on the "Lob City" Clippers, his stifling defensive presence and ability to roll hard to the rim to finish off alley-oops proved useful. Once coach Vaughn was given the reigns to the rotation, he found himself in a starting position, which is not unfamiliar territory. Oftentimes he was trusted upon to finish out games late in the fourth quarter, using his veteran savvy to award Brooklyn another win.