The question at the beginning of every NBA season, despite who will the Championship, is who will win MVP and the other various postseason awards. Well, that date is soon approaching! On June 24th at 8 p.m. on TNT, the results of the awards will be revealed. Awards such as Most Improved Player, Rookie Of The Year, Defensive Player Of The Year, Coach Of The Year, 6th Man and of course MVP. But since we have some time to kill before June 24th lets make some predictions on who will win these awards.
NBA Coach of the Year
Finalist: Mike Budenholzer Milwaukee Bucks, Mike Malone Denver Nuggets, Doc Rivers Los Angles Clippers
All three candidates are all well deserving of the award. Both Budenholzer and Malone took their teams from bottom playoff teams or just missing the playoff to becoming top playoff teams in just one year. Where Doc Rivers was able to do a lot with a team that did not have any All-Stars on their team, not even a former All-Star on the team. He did a terrific job of making this Clippers team a competitive playoff team. But at the end of the day, I believe that this award will go to Mike Budenholzer. The main reason is that this is his first season as the Head Coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was able to take this team from the last playoff spot the previous year to the number one seed in this season in the east. But also the best record in the NBA.
Winner: Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks
Second: Doc Rivers, Los Angles Clippers
Third: Mike Malone, Denver Nuggets
Most Improved Player
Finalist: De’Aaron Fox Sacramento Kings, D’Angelo Russell Brooklyn Nets, Pascal Siakam Toronto Raptors
Probably one of the more harder awards to predict who will win. All three have drastically improved this past season. Fox was able to learn from a so-so rookie year to a breakout sophomore year where he averaged 17.3 ppg, 3.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists. When Fox improved so did the Kings, as for most of the season the Kings competed for a playoff spot and were the last team not to make the playoffs out west. He really grasped this past season what it takes to be a successful point guard in the NBA.
From a so-called bust to All-Star point guard. The former Laker outcast had his career written off, for not being able to produce at a high level, struggle with shot selection and did not seem to be mature enough to handle NBA life. D’Angelo Russell proved all the haters wrong since being traded to Brooklyn and has been one of the leaders of the young locker room. He helped the Nets become one of the most surprising teams in the NBA and making them a playoff team. Russell’s drastic improvement as a player and a leader have teams remembering why he was a top prospect. As he will be one of the most sought out free agents in the NBA, teams start to see the lead guard that everyone wants.
Siakam might have benefitted the most from the change at Head Coach for the Toronto Raptors. As Nick Nurse trusted him more so that Dwayne Casey ever did and gave him significantly more playing time than Casey did. Siakam received almost 12 more minutes under Nurse and started 74 more games than he did the year before. The former New Mexico State Aggie took full advantage of the bigger role becoming one of the top guns on a deep Toronto Raptors team. He improved in every category which is the reason he will win this award
Winner: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Second: D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets
Third: De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
Defensive Player Of The Year
Finalist: Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks, Paul George Oklahoma City Thunder, Rudy Gobert Utah Jazz
These players make it difficult for any offensive player to score on them anytime they step on the court. All affect the defensive end of the floor differently. George is more of your lockdown perimeter defender, but a guy who can guard 1 to 4. A huge part of OKC success is not only the offense that George was able to provide but his ability to lock the opponents best player as well. George averaged a career-high 2.2 steals per game and showed that he is a menace on the ball and in the passing lanes.
Giannis, on the other hand, can do a little bit of everything on the defensive end of the floor. he is quick enough to guard perimeter plays and big enough to guard bigs and protect the rim. He averaged almost 2 blocks and 2 steals a game, there is a reason why both he and George are a finalist for the MVP. Antetokounmpo did everything for the Bucks and led the way for them on the defensive end and did a great job of setting the tone.
But I believe the winner will be Rudy Gobert, due to the fact that this is the reason why he is on the court. Gobert defensive presence is unmatched and is one of the best rim protectors in NBA history. He averaged a little bit over 2 blocks a game but his presence is the main reason why he wins this award. Teams play differently when they face the Jazz because of Gobert. They don’t drive as much and force perimeter shots instead of going inside and trying to finish over the Frenchmen. The defensive end is where Gobert makes his money and boy does he deserve that money.
Winner: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Second: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Third: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
Finalist: Domantas Sabonis Indiana Pacers, Montrez Harrell Los Angles Clippers, Lou Williams Los Angles Clippers
This award should be named the Lou Williams award. He dominated this year off the bench again and was the lead guy on a surprising Clippers team. He and Montrez Harrell showed that their bench was better than there starters and played outstanding together this past season. Both are worthy of the award but it’s hard to go against Lou Williams, a guy who Drake made a song about him being the sixth man. Like come on if you see Lou Williams on the ballot for Sixth Man there’s a great chance that you have no shot at winning that year. Tough year for Harrell and Sabonis to have productive years off the bench. Williams this year averaged 20 ppg and a little over 5 assists a game. Williams won the award last year and will win it again this year making a total of three Sixth Man awards which would tie Jamal Crawford for the most All-Time.
Winner: Lou Williams, Los Angles Clippers
Second: Montrez Harrell, Los Angles Clippers
Third: Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Rookie Of The Year
Finalist: Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks, Trae Young Atlanta Hawks, Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns
These three rookies had very impressive seasons as all showcased why they were high selections and showed why they could be the future of the league. Doncic was dynamite for the get-go. People wondered how he would transfer over from playing overseas, despite the fact that he won MVP in the toughest league in Europe at 19, but Doncic was able to wow NBA fans with his skills. He is an outstanding passer, can create his own shot and seems like he can score the ball whenever he wants too. Doncic was the most consistent throughout the whole season and was very close from becoming an All-Star in his first season.
Ayton was the number one pick and was the favorite after the draft to win Rookie of the Year. He had a really good year and had some big performances throughout the year. He averaged a double-double this past season with 16 ppg, 10 rebounds a game and shot 58.5% which is really impressive. The only other rookie big man to put up those numbers are an average that field goal percentage where Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Akeem Olajuwon. Ayton had the highest field goal percentage out of the group. The problem Ayton is going to have to compete with Young and Doncic for this award is that those two guys are the main guys are their teams. Ayton is not, the main guy in Phoenix is Devin Booker.
Trae Young had a slow start to his rookie year, but the man did he end with a bang. In the last 10 games of the season, Young averaged 24.3 ppg and 10.2 assists. He had some big scoring games and shows to promising future that looks to take shape in Atlanta for years to come. Everyone knew that Young can shoot from anywhere on the court but what surprised people this year is his vision and his ability to lead his team. He hit a few game-winning buckets for the Hawks and will hit more in the future. I think something strange will happen this year. I think for the first time since 1994-1995 and the 1999-2000 season we will see co-Rookie of the Year winners.
Winners: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks/ Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks
Second: Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns
Most Valuable Player
Finalist: Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks, James Harden Houston Rockets, Paul George Oklahoma City Thunder
No offense to Paul Geoge, but this has been a two-man race for pretty much the whole season. Paul George had an outstanding year and had a stretch where people believed that maybe he could steal the award but Harden and Antetokounmpo were able to separate themselves.
It’s had to believe but Harden was able to out due to himself form last years MVP year. He had that unreal stretch during January and February where it seemed like he was going to score 50 almost every night. Harden finished this year averaging 36.1 ppg, 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists a game. He was a triple-double machine and what most people think is one of the most unguardable players in NBA history. From his ability to get to the free throw line, run the pick and roll and having a deadly step back. Harden put up the numbers that should make him the MVP but I don’t think that’s the case this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was unreal this season. He did everything the Bucks needed and was their best player on both ends of the floor. You will never see the Greek Freak ever take a play off and will do anything to win every game. If he was not on the Bucks I believe that this team would be heading for the lottery, he was everything for Milwaukee. The Bucks had the best record in the NBA and it was because of Giannis. The numbers he put up were terrific averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assist, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals a game. Not only is he a finalist for MVP but also for DPOTY. He will almost win DPOTY but won’t lose MVP.
Winner: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Second: James Harden, Houston Rockets
Third: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder