NBA Award Preview


This past NBA offseason has been spectacular (thank you Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard), but the regular season is right around the corner. Which means it’s time to buckle down and start speculating on what will and won’t be happening this season. There’s no better way to start that conversation that with award predictions. Take a look at our picks for this year’s NBA Awards.

Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo



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When I started writing this, the name that I initially had in my head for MVP was LeBron James. The stars felt aligned with his move to LA and the entire league seemingly on his bandwagon, but then preseason basketball started and I can’t deny Giannis Antetokounmpo his proper due. With new head coach Mike Budenholzer in charge, we’ve gotten an early look at what we can expect from Giannis this season. A newfound willingness to shoot from deep (if he can knock that shot down consistently this pick will be a lot safer) should produce an uptick in scoring and it seems safe to be expect . The most salivating wrinkle to Giannis’ game has been his potential in the pick and roll. A Budenholzer staple, expect to see endless possibilities of Giannis on and off ball in the screen game. The move should lead The ‘Greak Freak’ to his first NBA MVP Award.


Honorable mentions: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, LeBron James

Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic



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Easily the pick I’m most confident about. If you’ve followed Luka Doncic’s career then you know he’s been the best player in Europe for the last 1.5 years and has serious championship pedigree (with Solvenia and Real Madrid). Simply put, the kid is ready for the NBA. Moving up in the draft to snag him, the Dallas Mavericks seem primed to give Doncic the keys to the Franchise. Having a bit of talent around him (Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr., Dirk Nowitzki) will ensure his best attribute (passing) flourishes, which will open up the floor and allow Donic to get to his spots easier.


Honorable mentions: Marvin Bagley III, DeAndre Ayton

Sixth Man Award: Will Barton



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Since his days in Portland, Will ‘The Thrill’ Barton has been known as an energy guy, providing his team with a boost in morale thanks to the all-out effort he puts forth when on the court. Entering his eighth NBA Season, Barton has figure out how to turn energy into production. Just last season, Barton was top 5 in scoring (15.6 ppg) and top 10 in assists (4.1 apg) amongst sixth men. With Lou Williams looking at a reduced role and Eric Gordon moving to the starting lineup, look for Barton to bring home the Sixth Man Award.


Honorable mentions: Lou Williams, J.J. Redick

Defensive Player of the Year: Klay Thompson



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Admittedly, I’m not particularly confident in this pick, but I’ll also never deny myself the opportunity to talk how much I love Klay Thompson. A few weeks back Klay started the conversation about his defensive prowess when he openly questioned his omission from the All-Defensive team last year (I agree it was a travesty). Because of that Klay will be on the minds of voters all season long (I see you Klay, out here playing 4D chess). While he doesn’t stuff the statsheet, he is tasked with guarding the opposition’s best perimeter player on a nightly basis. Klay’s ability to slow those players down is an intricate part of the Warriors defensive scheme and allows them true flexibility. Voters should recognize this and give the man Defensive Player of the Year.


Honorable mentions: Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Rudy Gobert


Most Improved Player: D’Angelo Russell



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A week ago, the pick for the Most Improved Player award would’ve been Dejounte Murray. Unfortunately, he has since torn his right ACL and will miss a large portion of the season. Entering his fourth season, expectations are high for Russell. A former second overall pick, the Nets are hoping that Russell can make a serious jump in production and enter the All-Star conversation. Still just 22 years old, Russell has plenty of time to carve out his niche in the NBA. Look for him to do so this upcoming season and take home the Most Improved Player Award.


Honorable mentions: Jamal Murray, Brandon Ingram

Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens



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The Coach of the Year award has seen a litany of winners in the last 20 years (17 unique winners). Because of that the award is always a preseason toss-up. The time seems right though for Brad Stevens. Long-heralded as one of the league’s best minds and armed with the best roster in the Eastern conference, the path for NBA Coach of the Year is the easiest for Stevens.


Honorable mentions: Quinn Snyder, Mike Budenholzer, Nick Nurse


The NBA season kicks off this October 16th, be sure sure to follow along all season long to check out the validity of our predictions.