My NBA Award Predictions

It’s that time of the year where we start giving our predictions to who we believe should win the NBA awards for the regular season. The NBA announced that the awards will be based on players’ performances through March 11, which was the day that the season was suspended. Media voting started on July 21 and ended on the 28th. We’ll hear the announcement of the awards at some point during the playoffs.

This is one of those topics where everybody will have their opinion and will disagree with your picks for these awards. I’m going to give my picks and argue why these people deserve to win these awards.

Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo

This award will hold the biggest debate between whether LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo should win the MVP. Giannis deserves to become a back-to-back MVP because of how dominant he’s been all season long. He’s led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the entire league and has put them in a position to be serious title contenders. He’s averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and a steal and a block while playing under 31 minutes a game.

This is no knock on LeBron, who’s also having one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen from a 35-year-old player. But this season isn’t anything new for LeBron. He’s dominant every single season and has posted around the same statistics for years. LeBron’s assists numbers have gone up, but other stats have gone down, including points, rebounds, and FG%. Granted, he’s playing alongside Anthony Davis, but he’s not even the leading scorer or rebounder on his own team.

If you take both Giannis and LeBron off their respective teams, neither would be the #1 seed in their conference. I’d make the argument that the Lakers would be a better team than the Bucks because they still have Anthony Davis. If you say otherwise, that shows what you truly think about Anthony Davis, who’s considered to be a top-5 player in the NBA. The Greek Freak deserves to win it this year, but LeBron still has the chance to win what’s most important: a championship.

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo has the opportunity to do something only Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon have done, and that’s winning both the MVP and DPOY in the same season. He’ll be going up against LeBron’s partner-in-crime Anthony Davis, but Giannis has a better case to be made as to why he deserves this award as well as the MVP.

Giannis leads the entire league in individual defensive rating (96.5), defensive field goal percentage (36.1), and defensive field goal percentage in the restricted area (51.7). Not only is he one of the best rim protectors in the league, but he’s also the only non-center in the NBA to be top-10 in both defensive and total rebound percentage.

Besides individual stats, the Milwaukee Bucks also have the best defensive rating (101.6), which is three points higher than the next best team. The Bucks hold their opponents to 41.2 percent shooting from the field, which is the lowest shooting percentage in the league. Mike Budenholzer’s defensive scheme is remarkable and has allowed the Bucks to not only be the best defensive team in the league but also help Giannis be recognized as one of the best defenders in the NBA.

Most Improved Player: Bam Adebayo

There will be a lot of candidates for this award, including Brandon Ingram, Devonte’ Graham, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, but this year the award should go to Bam Adebayo. Adebayo has emerged as one of the best young players in the league out of nowhere. Besides his FG%, all of his statistics increased by a large margin. The only reason his FG% went down (only be a percent) is that he’s shooting five more shots a game.

The first-time All-Star is averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and over a steal and a block per game while shooting nearly 57 percent from the field. Maybe some Heat fans saw this coming, but I know I didn’t see it coming. You should’ve expected Ingram, Tatum, and Brown to have great seasons. You can say the same about Graham, too, since the Hornets are one of the worst teams. He puts up big numbers because of it. Adebayo is on a contending team in the Eastern Conference and has shown how valuable he is to his team. He has a bright future ahead of him in Miami.

Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant

This vote should be a landslide. Anybody that argues Zion Williamson should win the Rookie of the Year award over Ja Morant is one of two things. You’re either a fanboy, caught up looking at stats for a guy that’s only played 19 career games, or both. Ja Morant is the clear runaway favorite to win this award. Not only has he put the league on notice, but he’s also put the Grizzlies in a playoff position.

In 59 games, Morant averaged 17.6 points, 6.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and just under a steal a game while shooting 49 percent from the field and nearly 37 percent from three. He’s ready to take the league by storm. I believe he’ll be a top-5 point guard by the end of next season. Ja’s potential is unlimited, and he can take Memphis far in the near future.

Sixth Man of the Year: Dennis Schroder

Dennis Schroder has solidified his role on the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s more than capable of being a starting point guard in the league. But, he makes the most of playing behind Chris Paul. Coming off the bench, Schroder averages 19 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 47 percent from the field and 38 percent from three. Schroder is an important reason why the OKC Thunder surprised a lot of people this year. He’s also a big reason why the Thunder currently sit as the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

You’ll have your arguments for both Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, which there should be. But it’s expected of them to put up the numbers that they do off the bench. Schroder has been floating between being a starter and a sixth man for a few years. Honestly, the Thunder owe a good amount of their success to Schroder.

Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan 

Billy Donovan deserves to be the Coach of the Year. Think of where the Thunder are now compared to where they were projected to be. Nick Nurse deserves a ton of credit for coaching the Raptors to the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Remember, this is after losing Kawhi Leonard. Still, Donovan brought the Thunder to the fifth seed. This was after being given a 0.2% chance to make the playoffs back in October.

CP3 also went from wanting a trade and potentially not playing for the Thunder to becoming an All-Star and, most likely, an All-NBA team member. Donovan made the best out of a terrible situation. Remember, both Russell Westbrook and Paul George were shipped out for CP3, a ton of draft picks, and young talent. The Thunder shocked everybody this season, and Billy Donovan deserves a lot of credit for that.

Those are my picks, and I want to hear what your choices are for the NBA awards. Everybody has their opinion and arguments, so I’m curious to listen to what your choices will be.

-Dante Turo (@DanteOnDeck)

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