2016–17 Award Picks
The smartest people in the NBA don’t make predictions (IM LOOKING AT YOU @WINDHORSTESPN AND @RACHEL_NICHOLS. I’m not smart so I make lots of predictions, many of them wrong, let’s stroll back down memory lane and see how wrong I am consistently
- I was ready to put Greg Oden in the hall of fame without seeing him play one NBA regular season game. I didn’t understand the fuss about this skinny kid called Kevin Durant. Yeah, that wasn’t smart.
- I’m that crazy guy holding signs saying that the spurs are too old and are doomed since 2006. Screw you Gregg Popovich
- I thought that Nash and Dwight signing to the Lakers would usher in a return to Laker dominating the NBA. Thanks, D’antoni.
However an amazing thing happened last year. I don’t lie to brag (proceeds to brag) but I was surprisingly accurate with my predictions last year. I predicted correctly the MVP, ROY, and DPOY AND MIP. So like any addict, I will continue to mask predictions, let’s see if I can continue this amazing streak (unlikely). No seriously, I put my rent money on this.
Most valuable player
The betting markets love uncertainty. It’s how they make their money, if there is a clear favourite then they lose money. The MVP race is as messy as I can remember as no clear favourite has emerged. So I’ll put forth the case for;
1. Lebron James (odds 11/2)
A four time MVP becoming a five time MVP? Possibly, but this is a more mature and aware of his mortality Lebron James. The tear that we saw him go on during the finals where he averaged 29.7 pts, 11.3rbs, 9 assists is saved for the finals. He will coast every year, put the same stat line every year. Despite these very valid points, he several things going on for him
- Curry/KD will haemorrhage each other’s production, so their volumes and stats won’t be as high as last year. Factor, in the Durant backlash at leaving Oklahoma for the Warriors will work in Lebron’s favour.
- Lebron winning the 2016 finals- it felt like we moved on to fast from LBJ last year and promptly declared it was Steph’s world and he reminded us that it still is his league. The media will feel that he needs to be rewarded for this. Narrative means a lot in winning the MVP, there is no argument that derrick rose was the 2011 MVP, but LBJ had joined the heat and the narrative was that he was “Evil” so they gave to a young fresh faced kid from Chicago.
- Record- his main challengers harden and Westbrook won’t have records good enough to win the MVP. Despite their individual prowess, the cavaliers will cruise to a top seed in the east and win 50+ games easily.
With all these factors working in conjunction, it will be Lebron James, tying “the ghost who once played in Chicago” in MVP’s
Rookie of the year
Let’s be clear, there is isn’t much competition for this, as soon as Ben Simmons went down (what the hell are they doing in Philadelphia, did they build on a Native American burial site?), so really by default, the Rookie of the year
- Joel Embiid (3/1)
Mr Process AKA Mr Shirley Temples AKA Rihanna’s Biggest Stalker AKA the man who will define Sam Hinke’s Legacy. Joel has finally arrived, he was drafted in 2014 and sat out two full years to fully heal. And now he is ready.
The case for him, predominately is due to the anaemic competition he faces. Number one pick Ben Simmons will sit out for an extended period of time due to a jones fracture, number 2 pick Brandon Ingram looks like human rake and will come off the bench. Number 3 pick Jaylen brown looks like the second coming off Jeff Green. Finally, Thibs will not start and give significant minutes to a rookie so Kris Dunn can wait
Embiid is a legit 7 footers with strength and size that is physically punishing to other bigs. He cans witch out and defend guards, he has a nice jumper and can make the 3. His footwork for a man that size is scary. With extended minutes this season. We can finally see the transcendent ability Joel Embiid has.
Defensive player of the year
- Rudy Gobert
With the trade of the defensive juggernaut that was Enes Kanter, the stifle tower aka Rudy Gobert flourished in enlarged 13.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks after the trade compared to 7.3 and 2.2 before the trade. As a centre he has an advantage as the voter’s preferably want to give it to centres as they will average the most rebounds and blocks, two parameters which holds a lot of weight when voting for defensive player of the year. With blocks like these, no wonder he is a favourite.
After the all-star break, the Utah jazz gave up 94.8 points per 100 possessions, this was by far the best defensive rating in the league. If the Utah jazz do as well as expected, part of the success will be due to their defence and you can expect Rudy Gobert to play a vital role.
Coach of the year
Out of all the awards, this was the most difficult to predict, this is due to the fact that Steve Kerr will receive little to no credit for the warriors this season due to the addition of Kevin Durant. Everyone thinks that Lebron James is the real coach of the Cleveland cavaliers. Gregg Popovich’s team won’t be very good next year so that disqualifies him.
- Tom Thibodeau
So enter, a man who has bided his tram after he was unceremoniously fired from the Chicago bulls and waited for the right team. He was tempted by the Lakers and the Knicks, but he saw that boy, Karl-Anthony towns and he was fixated. The Minnesota Timberwolves ranked 27th in defensive rating, best believe Tom Thibodeau wont allow that to continue, he will coach them up to play hard night in and night out and I expect a drastic change from 29 wins last year.
Most improve player of the year
The most improved player of the year always seems to go the candidate who had limited minutes the year before and due to a trade/injury got loads of minutes and everyone suddenly realises “this guy can ball”. Lots of potential for this candidate
- Dennis Schroeder
He has the best opportunity for improvement as he is now the point Guard off the Atlanta hawks, in his limited minutes he averaged 11 points, almost 5 assists and 3 rebounds a game. He seemed to be a real spark plug in game 4 of the eastern conference semi-finals against the Cleveland cavaliers. He average 20 minute last year as backup so he will see his minutes skyrocket and with that his numbers will also increase.
Sixth man of the year
Jamal Crawford needs to get some royalties, this trophy should be called the Jamal Crawford trophy .he is a three time winner but I don’t see him going back to back, age and attrition will limit his role. I’m gong to go out on a limb here so I believe the sixth man of the year will be
- Allen Crabbe
Allen has a breakout season last year, he was the trailblazers go to scorer of the bench shooting 46% form he floor and 40% from the promised land. He is was most General Managers drool about a legit 3 and D player. With the focus on him, as he signed a four year 75 million contract. Expect him to live up to this and see a more improved role in the offense this year