There have been 672 NBA games played so far this season, which means we’re just south of 55 percent of the way through the year. That makes this as good a time as any to check in on the annual awards races — but with a twist.
Rather than Most Valuable Player and Coach of the Year, we’re making up our own awards and handing them out to the best and brightest from the first half(-ish) of the season.
After defeating the Chicago Bulls in their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day game and then dropping a road game against the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night, the Memphis Grizzlies are 31-16, good for the third-best record in both the Western Conference and the NBA. Their chances of making the playoffs are greater than 99 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR-based predictions model, which has them finishing the regular season at 52-30. They sport a 3 percent chance of winning the title and have far outpaced preseason expectations.