The NBA season is underway and it’s likely to be more exciting and storied than last year. Nearly every star is healthy and all teams seem eager to step foot on the hardwood. Although the season just started, it’s never too early to start predicting things, especially season awards.
Here’s how I see this year’s NBA season award predictions:
NBA MVP: LeBron James
In how many languages can you say LeBron James? Coming off one of the most memorable playoff performances ever, the King is looking to continue his outstanding play in his 12th season. Even though James wants to lead the team and not carry it, that doesn’t subtract anything from the nightly production James is going to have for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Once his running mates Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are healthy, the team should make a run for the best record in the NBA. The best player on the best team usually equals MVP. It’s obvious who the best player in the world is and it’s highly possible for them to be the most dominant squad.
Most Improved Player: Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal, who has mainly been haunted by injuries, is fully healthy and ready to take his game to the next level. After losing in the second round of the playoffs for the second consecutive time, Beal is looking to get over that hump. But before the Wizards can truly show that they’re the team everyone thinks they can be, Beal will need to elevate his play. This season expect a much-improved Beal. The fourth-year shooting guard showed flashes of brilliance in last year’s post season averaging 23 points a game. He’s expected to extend that hot streak, especially since he’s playing for the max contract he desires.
Rookie Of The Year: Jahlil Okafor
Hailing from Chicago, a low post threat with a plethora of skills: Jahlil Okafor. The young big man will be asked to do nearly everything this season. Given his polished skillset, he’s almost guaranteed a double double at some point and not to mention he’s already the best player on the league’s worst team, the Philadelphia 76ers. While he won’t help them win much, he will at least have more people turning the television to Sixers games to see him do damage in his rookie year. 16 points and 9 rebounds sound like realistic stats. Can he have the award now?
Sixth Man of the Year: Isaiah Thomas
He may be small but he can damn sure fill it up. Isaiah Thomas in his second year with the Boston Celtics will provide a spark like no other sixth man can. He’s had his share of trouble fitting in with teams thus far but the Celtics seem to be the perfect fit, especially since they don’t have any natural scorers anywhere on the roster. If he had begun last season in Boston, he probably would have won the award. There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the team in green and he’s one of them.
Defensive Player of the Year: DeAndre Johnson
DeAndre Jordan is the anchor to the Los Angeles Clippers defense. He communicates on defense, he plays phenomenal help D, guards the post with excellence and averaged 2.2 blocks a game – It’s difficult to top that. Many thought the award was his to grab last season but it was given to Kawhi Leonard whom didn’t play the full season like DJ. Not many players are equipped with the athleticism and defensive IQ that the Clippers’ center possesses. This season, after a wild free agency, he’s back with the Clippers and ready to help them win big. In order to do so, DJ will have to play the Bill Russell-esque defense he displayed last season.
Coach of the Year: Doc Rivers
The Clippers had one of the most interesting off seasons with all the new additions. While some may believe this season may be a debacle, coach Doc Rivers will seemingly detangle and orchestrate this new and improved Clippers squad. He won Coach of the Year in 2008 with the Boston Celtics and there’s no reason he can’t win it again. He’s made all the right moves and is one of the few coaches with a winning mentality. Last season seemed like the year for the Clippers but this year’s opportunity can’t get any better. While it’ll be difficult managing all the interchangeable players and dealing with the different personalities, if Doc Rivers can pull this off, it’ll be one of the most impressive things he’s done in his coaching career.