Despite just stepping into such a role this season, first-year D-League head coach Scott Morrison led the Maine Red Claws to a division-clinching 35 wins. Also good for first seed in the Eastern Conference, the team was tied with the Santa Cruz Warriors for the league's best record overall.
Such success should warrant Morrison instant consideration for Coach of the Year award alone, but there's no denying that having such a quality player like Tim Frazier help lead the way didn't hurt, either.
After spending training camp with the Boston Celtics and soaking in all he could from Rajon Rondo, Frazier assumed his role as floor general for the affiliated Red Claws, and didn't disappoint. Despite standing as a D-League rookie, Frazier quickly emerged as quite a leader, both on and off the court for Maine. This was not only evident simply in his individual play, but also his subsequent impact on the team's continued success.
Frazier is the type of quality player whose versatile capabilities cover plenty of bases. His playmaking abilities this season were top notch; his 9.5 assists per game second in the league to only Skyforce guard Larry Drew II (9.6). Frazier was not only able to bring out the best in his teammates on a nightly basis, but also knew when to turn up the heat and attack the basket himself as well. Someone who can drive to the hoop, knock down pull-up jumpers in transition, and/or beat his man off the dribble, the guard also logged 16.1 points on 46% from the field and 36% from deep. A pesky defender of sorts, Frazier grabbed 1.7 steals through 41 contests, too.
For all of his efforts over the course of this campaign (and relative impact on his team's strong season, of course), Frazier has been named RidiculousUpside.com's Most Valuable Player for the 2014-15 season.
Earlier this season, the Penn State product earned an NBA look from the 76ers, with whom he previously spent NBA Summer League. He averaged 5.6 points, 7.2 assists, and 1 steal through 6 contests. More recently, the guard just signed a multi-year contract with the Blazers. It'll be interesting to see if Maine can rise above and compete in the postseason without him. Should they struggle, it'll be even more indicative of Frazier's influence.
Runner-up for RU's M.V.P. award: BayHawks' guard Seth Curry (23.8 points on 48% from the field, 47% from deep, and 93% from the charity stripe. Also averaged 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals through 43 contests).
Last season's winner: Mad Ants' guard Ron Howard