NBA Award Predictions
So basketball season has officially started and its time to see to the many questions we have to be answered. Questions like who will be the best rookie out of this loaded draft class? Who will win MVP? Does Manu Ginobili actually age or just gets balder? Now we can find out! I do have some educated guesses and added a couple of new awards that makes too much sense.
Rookie of the Year
Growing up in the City of Angels I’m naturally a fan of any player in the purple and gold armor so it pains me to say that the rookie of the year will not be the eldest of the fabled Ball Brothers. While Lonzo will be a stud at the one guard spot he will not win the award due to the bevy of young talent and maybe a better scorer in rookie gem Kyle Kuzma. He just won’t get the stats to back up his game. This past year’s draft has gave us a lot more gifted players as well but there will be one that stands out this upcoming year and he is Dennis Smith Jr. In college the crazy athletic point guard averaged 18ppg, 6apg, and 2spg. He is well experienced with the pick and roll being the majority of the offense he ran in North Carolina which is convenient. He will be able to run it with the rim running Nerlens Noel and the living legend, Dirk Never Quitski. With the ball being in his hands for the majority of the time and Rick Carlisle in his corner Dennis Smith Jr will be the standout rookie this season
Most Improved Player
To see the desolated town of Milwaukee this ecstatic about an upcoming NBA season we would have to go back to 1971 when the great Oscar Robertson and Al Sender, now Kareem Abdul-Jabar, spearheaded a lone victory after beating the Baltimore Bullets. The Bucks have great young talent and a position-less game style that is effective on both sides of the court. Obviously the Greek Freak is the best player on the team and potentially the best in the league but we will talk about him later. The Most Improved Player of the Year will be Khris Middleton. Last year his stats dipped a bit coming back from injury but being young and a whole season away from the bench he should be back to normal or better. Jabari Parker is out with yet another ACL tear so with him gone and probably won’t be the same in his return Middleton will have to take some of the offensive load for Milwaukee to keep trending upwards. Last year he shot 43% from the three point line which is great but look for him putting the ball on the floor and making plays for others more often. An 18–19 ppg season and maybe a few assists he should for sure be a frontrunner for the award.
Sixth Man of the Year
The Miami Heat might be a surprise team this upcoming year with many B caliber players built around Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic running the show. Everyone on the perimeter can switch up defensive assignments, move the ball, and hit the open shot. Coach Erik Spoelstra last year had this team running like a well-oiled machine leading to a top three record post all-star break last season. With all these positives their biggest weapon is their depth and the future Sixth Man of the Year who will be Tyler Johnson. Last year he had the most amount of 4th quarter minutes in the Heat not named Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic. He can score, pass, and defend. Basically anything coach needs him to do and last year he average a shade under 14ppg, 3apg, and 4rpg. With Miami making more noise in the lowly Eastern Conference and his numbers slightly rising he will be a more recognized bench presence.
Defensive Player of the Year
If you are the Utah Jazz you can look this past offseason as either half empty or half full. The half empty perspective is that you lost the ever progressing all-star, Gordon Hayward, in free agency this past offseason. The half full perspective is that you can now tap into the high potential of Rudy Gobert. Last year the Stifle Tower averaged 14ppg, 12.8rpg, and 2.6bpg. Without Hayward and the addition of Ricky Rubio, the center can expect far more touches on the low block. The Jazz maybe desperate to find offense and Gobert is the answer. The reason that all this offense talk is relevant is when an already defensive stalwart gets touches on the other side of the hardwood they get more engaged in the defense. With the Jazz being a full on Rudy Gobert show he will continue to put fear into any player thinking about attacking the rim. He will take is personally and swat the rock to France
Coach of the Year
Last year Mike D’antoni won this award when everyone who isn’t a Houston fan predicted others to win like Popovich, Kerr, or maybe Carlisle. I for sure did not expect him to win it or Rockets to be “launching” threes in this high paced offense but they did and we were wrong. So I will learn from my mistakes and pick someone with low expectations and hope he climbs over the hump. Denver’s Head Coach Michael Malone will lead this talented squad into the playoffs with a solid seed. Last year they were 2nd in assists, 3rd in points, and 6th in field goal percentage. The Nikola Jokic lead offense is no way a problem with them being able to score with their up tempo playing style and especially playing in the Mile High City. Their issue was on the defensive side of the ball where they were 4th lowest in opponents points per game and 2nd lowest in field goal percentage only better than the young Laker squad. If Malone is to win the award and fulfill Denver’s potential he will need to climb the hump that is the defense. I believe he will.
Newest Box Office Player of the Year
This award goes to the new guy on the block that fills seats and is a must watch on the television.
1. With Bledsoe and rookie Josh Jackson guarding the two best players on the opposing teams he can put more effort on offense
2. He scored 70 points at the age of 20 years old
3. That is all
Glue Guy of the Year
This award goes to the player that does all of the dirty work for the team and their stars but does not get the recognition that they deserve
This league is full of many glue guys some more infamous than others such as Draymond Green but that is not why they do this. They are the unsung heroes of champion contenders and young up and coming teams alike. Last Year the Minnesota Timberwolves were highly expected to make a deep run in the playoffs due to their young core of Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins and the addition of Tom Thibodeau as their head coach. Obviously it didn’t pan out the way they expected so they made some movse to hopefully contend. The most notable is the trade for Jimmy Butler which gives them a star player and a veteran presence who plays hard on both sides of the ball. The real winner of this award will be a fellow Chicago Alum, Taj Gibson. The issues for Minnesota was on defense and doing the little things like boxing out and calling defensive rotations. Taj will help being astute in Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. He also doesn’t mind taking on the difficult interior defensive assignments and will hustle for loose balls and box outs. Hopefully that mentality rubs off on the rest of the team.
Most Valuable Player of the Year
This is hands down the most difficult award to predict due to the great amount superstar talent in the NBA both young and old, Rookie and Veteran, Championship hungry or Championship hardened. Every year there is a great possibility for history to be rewritten over and over again. Last year we were privileged to see greatness with the modern day Mr. Triple Double literally willing his team to victories. Now with the theme of the offseason being New places and Same Faces the stats may be influx for many of the usually suspects. Players who are in “superteams” won’t win it because there is only one ball so their numbers won’t tell the whole tale. Players such as Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard won’t win it due to being in small market teams being in the West the wins won’t be there. The popular pick at this point would be Lebron James but with the East being awful and have a far deeper team than year’s past we may see the King sit more games than usual to rest him for the postseason. He is already suffering with an ankle injury. So that leaves my pick for the Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association which will be the Greek Freak himself, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Yes I did have to look up how to spell his name every time I typed it down. First of all GIANNIS LED IN EVERY STATISICAL CATEGORY FOR THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS LAST YEAR!!! Is that not the craziest thing you have ever heard? 23ppg, 5.5 apg, 9rpg, 2bpg, 1.5spg. He is the only player to ever put those kind of numbers up in NBA history. The point forward now has a solid team around him in last year’s rookie of the year award winner Malcolm Brogdon, Thon Maker, Khris Middleton, and more top notch rotational players. The only thing missing is a solid jump shot which he seems to have figured out in the preseason. He is only 22 years old. He will only get better. He will lead