The J Notes’ NBA Year-End Awards for the 2015-16 Season

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Karl-Anthony Towns Flips Saunders Minnesota Timberwolves Power Rankings
Jun 26, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders and number one overall draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns pose with his new jersey at Mayo Clinic Square. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

Rookie of the Year: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

As with the voting for MVP, the Rookie of the Year race became a one-man show pretty quickly this season. In his first year as a pro, Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns already has the look of the next, great big man in the league.

For the year, he averaged 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He also shot 54 percent from the field, 81 percent from the line and 34 percent from three-point range as a seven-foot center.

Jared Barker on Towns as ROY: “Towns may be the most complete offensive and defensive big man since Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon. Fans in Minnesota should be ecstatic.” Yes they should. Meanwhile, Jazz fans will bemoan the fact that we’ll have to contend with the guy for the next decade-plus.

Voting Results:

  1. Karl-Anthony Towns: 10 Pts. (5)
  2. Kristaps Porzingis : 3 Pts.
  3. Myles Turner: 1 Pt.
Jamal Crawford Los Angeles Clippers Joe Ingles Utah Jazz Alec Burks
9Jan 28, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (left) talks with Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (2) prior to their NBA game at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports /

Sixth Man Award: Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers

So, if you’ve followed my rantings over the years, you probably know that my level of affection for Jamal Crawford as both a basketball player and a person borders on….well, let’s preserve my dignity, quote Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and just say I think “he’s a righteous dude.”

Having said that, this one hurts a bit. Crawford’s ability to take a game over was on full display just a few, short weeks ago when he and the Clippers’ C-Team were responsible for the most embarrassing Jazz loss in recent years. In many ways, it felt like the game that closed the casket on Utah’s playoff hopes.

In case you’ve forgotten (or are a glutton for punishment)–

Still, I’ve got to give it up to my man J-Craw for an incredible season.

Voting Results:

  1. Jamal Crawford: 7 Pts. (3)
  2. Andre Iguodala: 4 Pts. (2)
  3. Will Barton: 2 Pts.
  4. Allen Crabbe: 1 Pt.
C.J. McCollum Portland Trail Blazers
Apr 17, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) drives against Los Angeles Clippers forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) during the first half in game one of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /

Most Improved Player: C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

Just before the 2013 NBA Draft, former Jazz assistant coach Gordon Chiesa said that C.J. McCollum had the potential to be a star on local radio. However, injuries and inconsistent minutes kept McCollum from hitting the ground running in his first years as a pro.

This season, that star-in-the-making finally showed up. With Wes Matthews heading to Dallas, McCollum became the starting two-guard in PDX and elevated his scoring by more than 14 points per contest to 20.8 PPG, while doubling his rebounding output and quadrupling his assist average.

Karthik Narayanan on McCollum taking the prize–

"When Portland never made an offer to their free agent, Wesley Mathews, most people thought they were tanking. However, GM Neil Olshey and coach Terry Stotts saw something in CJ McCollum that others did not. While his numbers per 36 minutes haven’t improved significantly over than last season’s, his 2014-15 output came primarily against bench players. In 2015-16, opponents went into games knowing that they needed to shut down Damian Lillard and McCollum. There was no LaMarcus Aldridge to command double teams. Nonetheless, McCollum shot over 41 percent from three-point land to keep the Blazers a deadly offensive team and help their march into playoffs. He had eight 30-plus point games this year. Before this season, his career high was 29. He will have his work cut out for him in the coming season, as teams scout him further and try to expose him on the defensive end. For this season, though, McCollum has been a pleasant surprise and the league’s most improved player."

Voting Results:

  1. C.J. McCollum: 8 Pts. (4)
  2. Rodney Hood: 2 Pts. (1)
  3. Stephen Curry: 1 Pt.
  4. Kemba Walker: 1 Pt.
  5. Jae Crowder: 1 Pt.
  6. Hassan Whiteside: 1 Pt.

Next: Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year