NBA Award Predictions

People like to predict who will win awards. So here goes:

MVP:

Steph Curry is my pick for MVP. Leads the league in made three pointers and has the best record in the NBA.

1)      Steph Curry – Easily on the best team in the league. Has a chance to win 67 games this season. Averaging only 32 mpg and has sat out multiple 4th quarters but still broke his three pointers made record of 272. He’s now at 281 on the season.

2)      James Harden – Played the majority of the season without Dwight Howard. Led the Rockets to 54 wins. They can still finish with the 2nd seed in the West. Harden has improved his defense this season while doing everything for them on the offensive end. He’s averaging 27.5 ppg, 6.9 apg and 5.6 rpg which are all career highs.

3)      LeBron James – He played subpar in the beginning of the season. However since returning from his rest the Cavs are 32-9. They were under .500 and now sit in the 2nd spot in the East. Compared to his other MVP years his numbers are down. When he doesn’t play the Cavaliers are pretty bad.

4)      Chris Paul – Quietly having another great season while leading the Clippers to 54 wins. He’s on pace to play in every game for the first time in his career. Kept the Clippers afloat without Blake Griffin. Leads the league in total assists and assists per game while having fewer than 200 turnovers. His shooting has improved across the board.

5)      Anthony Davis – Leads the league in blocks and blocks per game. One of three players averaging 20 and 10. Have the Pelicans with 43 wins after only winning 34 last season. Currently the 8th seed in the West.

Winner: Steph Curry

Rookie of the Year:

Leads all players in total minutes played.

To me there are only three real candidates for this award.

1)      Elfrid Payton – He was benched earlier this season. Really struggled scoring the ball. From October-December he had a total of 8 games where he scored in double digits. In January alone he had 8 double digit games. His assists per game have increased each month.

2)      Nikola Mirotic – He struggled to find playing time early. When he got time early on he had some good games. Finally in March he averaged 30 mpg and averaged 20 ppg that month. He hasn’t been consistent enough.

3)      Andrew Wiggins – The favorite to win the award and rightfully so. He leads the entire NBA in minutes played. He plays 36.1 mpg. In his first month he shot 39% and scored 12 ppg. Since then he’s been over 40% and 14 ppg each month. He’s a great defender already. He’s averaging 24.7 ppg this month. He’s had 10+ points in 27 straight games.

Winner: Andrew Wiggins

Coach of the Year:

1)      Steve Kerr – Most wins by first year head coach. Currently 37-2 at home. Took a team that won 51 games last season and has them at 65 wins with a +10 point differential.

2)      Mike Budenholzer – Hawks were 8th seed last season with a 38-44 record. They have 60 wins this season and are the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with the same team.

3)      Gregg Popovich – The best coach in the league. People questioned if the Spurs were falling off and then they go on a run and are sitting in the two spot in the West. Spurs are on an 11 game winning streak, playing their best basketball at the right time.

4)      Brad Stevens – The Boston Celtics won 25 games last season. They trade away their two best players in Jeff Green and Rajon Rondo but somehow got better. They are better across the board in terms of offensive and defensive rating. He has them with 38 wins and currently 7th in the East.

Winner: Steve Kerr

Sixth Man of the Year:

1)      Jamal Crawford – Still averaging 16 ppg. His numbers are slightly down because he has been banged up. He missed some time and that will hurt him. He won the award last season so voters might be looking at another candidate.

2)      Isaiah Thomas – Was not a great fit with the Suns. He’s averaging 19 ppg with the Celtics. He has also missed time this season.

3)      Lou Williams – He’s been consistent all year for the Raptors. His shooting numbers are low because he is forced to take shots when the shot clock is low. Averaging a career high 15 ppg for a Raptors team that has been banged up this season.

Winner: Lou Williams

Most Improved:

Jimmy Butler has been the Bulls best player while averaging a career high 20 ppg. 

I don’t even know the criteria for this award. Does it go to the non-All-Star that plays at an All-Star level or makes an All-Star team?

1)      Hassan Whiteside – The guy was out of the league for two years. He’s found a place with the Heat and is averaging 11 ppg, 10 rpg and 2.5 blkpg and has a PER of 26.12. He’s only played in 47 games this season.

2)      Jimmy Butler – He has been the Bulls best player this season. He’s their best perimeter defender and still leads the league in minutes per game (38.7). His scoring and shooting percentages have gone up across the board. He’s averaging 20 ppg on 45% shooting after only scoring 13 ppg on 39% shooting last season. He’s up to 36% from the three point line and he was an All-Star this season.

3)      Rudy Gobert – It is only his second season. He played in 45 games last season for a total 434 minutes. This season he’s played in 80 games and is averaging 8.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg and 2.3 blkpg. He’s second in total blocks this season. He leads the league in opponent FG% at the rim.

Winner: Jimmy Butler

Defensive Player of the Year:

Kawhi Leonard might be the best defender in the league but has he missed too much time to win Defensive Player of the Year?

1)      Tim Duncan – He’s 3rd in defensive rating and 4th in defensive win shares. At age 38 he still averages 2.0 blkpg and 9 rpg.

2)      Draymond Green – He can guard 1-5. He’s 4th in defensive rating and 2nd in defensive win shares.

3)      DeAndre Jordan – Leads the league in defensive rebounds per game (10) and rebounds per game (14.9). 1st in defensive win shares. Only 7th in defensive rating. However he’s 5th in win shares.

4)      Kawhi Leonard – Has only played in 63 games. However he is still top 5 in total steals. Leads the league in steals per game and defensive rating. He’s 5th in defensive win shares

5)      Andrew Bogut – Played in only 65 games. He’s 2nd in defensive rating. In limited mins he still gets 8 rpg and 1blkpg.

Winner: DeAndre Jordan