NBA Awards Predictions
With the NBA tipping off tomorrow, it is time for my final predictions for the 2017–2018 season and awards. I will make this short and sweet.
View my earlier predictions on The Smoking Cuban’s NBA Roundtables
Most Valuable Player: Kawhi Leonard, SAS
After coming in third place in the MVP voting last year, this will be the year that The Claw proves himself to be the most valuable player in the NBA. With the addition of Chris Paul, James Harden will have to adopt a new style of basketball that will not equal an MVP season. As for Russell Westbrook, it will be interesting to see how he plays with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony but he won’t be putting up the same numbers. Whether it is for better or worse, it is doubtful that the impact and the number will be as strong. In conclusion, Kawhi Leonard wins the Most Valuable Player Award and Shea Serrano loses his mind.
Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL
While it is hard not to put Giannis over Kawhi in the MVP race, I believe that this year Giannis will have to settle for Defensive Player of the Year. With the return of Jabari Parker and the ever growing experience of this Bucks team, I see Giannis taking a much more defensive role on the team, while still making show stopping plays on the offensive end. If the Bucks offense to find a groove and Giannis is able to primarily focus on defense, he might not get a single point scored on him for the duration of the season.
Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams, LAC
Originally, I had an extremely hot take and thought that Derrick Rose would be the Sixth Man of the Year. However, with the addition of Dwyane Wade and prolonged absence of Isaiah Thomas, I don’t see it happening. Instead, I really like Lou Williams situation in Los Angeles and I see him going back to the type of numbers he put up in his Toronto days.
Rookie of the Year: Dennis Smith Jr., DAL
Being from Dallas, this might be a major homer prediction. But, I am absolutely not the only one who thinks DSJ has the skill set to take the league by storm. Earlier in the off-season, I picked Lonzo Ball to win the award, but I think that Lonzo is going to have his hands full in Los Angeles while Dennis Smith Jr. will find a lot of success playing around Nowitzki, Barnes, Noel, and Matthews. Furthermore, the absence of Seth Curry will lead to a lot more responsibilities on Smith Jr.’s shoulders, which I think he can handle.
Most Improved Player: Clint Capela, HOU
While I don’t see Capela every leading the league in blocks or rebounds, I believe Capela is going to be become an elite big man, with the help of Chris Paul. We have all seen the efficiency numbers from the years of Paul and Jordan, and Clint Capela is just as capable of running the pick-n-roll with Paul down in Houston. I can easily see Capela averaging a high double-double on the season and becoming a big part of the Rockets game plan.
Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau, MIN
Now, I am not trying to say that Thibodeau is going to lead the Timberwolves to a championship, or the finals, or even the conference finals. But, I do see Thibodeau and the Wolves taking a big leap forward this season. It has been 12 seasons since the Timberwolves have finished above .500 and this year, I can see them finishing with upwards of 50 wins and a nice spot in the final conference standings.
Executive of the Year: Sam Presti, OKC
In my opinion, this one seems like a no-brainer. It is no small feat to get Paul George and Carmelo Anthony on your roster over one off-season, especially when the Knicks were receiving offers from teams with just as much to offer. Furthermore, I believe that the Thunder will be possible title contenders with their new assets and talent.
NBA Finals: Golden State over Cleveland in 7
In my original predictions, I had Golden State over Cleveland in six games. Now, with the addition of Dwyane Wade…I will make it seven games just for no particular reason. It doesn’t really matter how many games because the end result is going to be the same. The Golden State Warriors will win the championship in three of the next five seasons, including the 2017–2018 season.