I’ve already done a NBA Season Preview, which will headline some of the major story lines that are important to the NBA this season. But now it’s time to predict the major award winners across the NBA. The major awards that we’ll look at it are the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year. Without any further ado, let’s get started.
MVP- LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
This wasn’t so cut and dry as some would seem it to be. LeBron is the best player in the league, but he will have massive competition this year from Anthony Davis, who is a terror on both sides of the ball. But LeBron is even more of a terror and will not be denied this year after falling just short of the ultimate goal. The voters often look at the best player on the best team to be the MVP, i.e. Stephen Curry last year, but look at what happened to Miami and Cleveland last year after he changed teams. Cleveland went from selecting the first pick in the draft to going to the NBA Finals. The Heat however, failed to make the playoffs, albeit injuries played a large part in them not reaching the playoffs. But with LeBron’s pedigree and the leagues love affair with him, LeBron will certainly add another MVP award to his collection.
Runner Up: Anthony Davis
Defensive Player of the Year- Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Davis may not win the MVP this year but he’ll still bring home some hardware. Davis one of the best shot blockers in the league, as he averaged 2.9 blocks per game last season. He has length and athleticism that let him block an absurd amount of shots. But he’s not one dimensional on defense. Davis was once a 6’2 guard in high school before a massive growth spurt put him at 6’10, and he didn’t lose his foot speed during his growth, which allows him to defend on the perimeter against smaller players. He has quick hands that account for his 1.5 steals per game. He’s the best big man on ball defender in the game, by far. The scariest thing about The Brow though, might be that he’s only 22 and keeps getting better every year.
Runner Up: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Sixth Man of the Year- Lou Williams, Los Angeles Lakers
Logical and obvious choice here. Lou Will was the Sixth Man last year for the Toronto Raptors and there’s no reason that should change with the Lakers. He can take opponents off the bounce, get to the line and shoot it from three. Lou Will was so popular in Toronto that Drake mentioned him in one of his songs. With a young squad and an often injured Kobe Bryant, points will come easy for Lou Will.
Runner Up: Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics
Rookie of the Year- Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers
Jahlil Okafor is one of the best polished freshman to come into the NBA in quite some time. The 76ers drafted him 3rd overall and it seems as though he’ll start right away. Okafor has an advanced offensive game already and with the 76ers having no other reliable scoring options, Okafor will get plenty of touches. He’ll get some critiques on his skill and willingness to play defense, but star players at Duke never play defense, because Coach K wants them on the court and not in foul trouble. With all the touches Okafor should get, he might lead all rookies in scoring.
Runner Up: D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
Most Improved Player- Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
The first overall pick last year won the Rookie of the Year a year ago. Now he’s expected to step up and be a leader on a young Timberwolves squad, and he can certainly do it. He averaged a shade under 17 points last season and played some solid defense using his freakish athleticism. Wiggins ended last season on a hot streak as over the last 14 games he average 22.5 points per game. To take the next step, Wiggins will need to improve his outside shooting and overall shooting touch to be a constant threat in the NBA.
Runner Up: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Coach of the Year- Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder
Billy Donvan is in the best situation a new head coach could ask for. He inherits an extremely talented roster from Scott Brooks, who was wrongfully fired in my book. He leaves a bad University of Florida situation where he won multiple national championships and made the Gainesville a top destination for top recruits. He now gets to deal with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, that lead a deep and talented roster. His mission is not to get this team to a playoff berth, but to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy to Oklahoma City.
Runner Up: Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics