• Mamadou Tall

Early 2019-2020 Award Predcitions

We are two months into the 2019-2020 NBA season slowly approaching the third and through the 30 or so games played by each team I have already picked my favorites for this season's awards. 

 

Predicting the winner of each award this early season is tough, but some players have managed to separate themselves from their peers and seem to be running away with the awards. Others are slightly tougher to decide but a choice must be made.

So here we go.


MVP

(Original Photo Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

This season’s MVP race serves us with a few similar faces from the previous season’s race. Among the familiar faces, there have also been a couple of pleasant surprises that might just shake things up a bit.


My top five for MVP :

1. Giannis Antetokoumnpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

2. Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)

3. James Harden (Houston Rockets)

4. LeBron James (LA Lakers)

5. Anthony Davis and Jimmy Butler (LA Lakers & Miami Heat)


Giannis Antetokoumnpo is the obvious choice for frontrunner in the current MVP ladder. He has somehow someway managed to come into season a better player than he was last year. He currently averages 30 points, 5.6 assists, 12.8 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks. That stat line is enough to let you know he is getting done on both ends on the floor while leading his team to a league-best 32-6 record. On top of this, he has managed to improve his shooting from beyond the arc and is shooting 32.6 percent on 5 attempts a game. The thing that ultimately gives Giannis the edge over Doncic and Harden is the fact that he gets it done on the offensive and defensive ends. 


Rookie of the Year

This season’s rookie class is a pretty formidable class with tons of sleepers and players with great potential. The main attraction of this year’s draft class, Zion Willamson, has yet to play a minute making the chase for this award slightly more interesting. 


My Top 5 for Rookie of the Year:

1. Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)

2. Kendrick Nunn (Miami Heat)

3. Tyler Herro (Miami Heat)

4. Brandon Clarke (Memphis Grizzlies)

5. Mathias Thybule (Philadelphia 76ers)


It’s safe to say that Ja Morant is running away with this year’s Rookie of the Year. He’s been serving us highlights the whole season so far and is giving Grizzlies fans a lot to look forward to in years to come. He is averaging 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, and 3 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 46.6 percent from the field. He has already put a couple of centers in body bags and with his latest attempt on Kevin Love, it’s clear he won't be slowing down anytime soon.


Sixth Man of the Year

(Original Photo Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press)

In the past years, we have been blessed with some sensational sixth man ranging from James Harden, Jamal Crawford, and Lou Williams. Well, another season and another year with Lou Williams in sixth man of the year award race but this time he isn’t running away with it like in years past. This year’s race is quite tough to decide. 


My Top 5 for Sixth Man of the Year:

1. Montrezl Harrell (LA Clippers)

2. Lou Williams (LA Clippers)

3. Devonte’ Graham (Charlotte Hornets)

4. Goran Dragic (Miami Heat)

5. Dennis Schroder (OKC Thunder)


The Los Angeles Clippers are the most complete team in the league right now. Having Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams coming off of the bench at the same time is a scary sight for any opponent. Both of them are averaging about 19 points a game on a team with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Harrell gets a slight edge over Williams for me because of his motor on the boards and defensive end. Harrell is averaging 19.4 points, 2 assists, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks while shooting 57.5 percent from the field. What makes this better is the fact that he is managing to get his buckets without stepping on anyone else's toes. 


Most Improved Player

(Original Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

This is probably the most hotly contested award of this season. With numerous amounts of young stars stepping up their game and letting it known that they have arrived. This year’s crop of talent in the race for Most Improved Player are all young stars on up and coming teams it seems like and on my list, we have a return appearance from last year's winner, Pascal Siakam. 


My Top 5 for Most Improved Player:

1. Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)

2. Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)

3. Devonte' Graham (Charlotte Hornets)

4. Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans)

We have all heard the old saying that “defense wins championships,” and some of this year’s frontrunners for Defensive of Player of the Year are actually the main contributors to playoff and championship contenders. We have seen this award be dominated by big men and this


This was the toughest one to choose from because all of these players have made strong cases for themselves but at the end of the day only one can win. Pascal Siakam was the winner of the award last year and I have him as the repeat winner again which is unprecedented. He managed to improve again within a span of a couple of months after winning a championship last season. His new role as go-to scorer for the Toronto Raptors has seen him go for from averaging about 17 points last season to 25 points a game this season. Along with his scoring, his rebounding (8 rebounds) and assists (3.6 assists) have also increased. His dominant play has led the Raptors to a 24-12 record. 


This is still one of those awards that can go either way and the chances of Siakam winning the award two times in a row are unlikely. If that’s the case then the award goes to Bam Adebayo. He is averaging a great stat line of 15.6 points, 4.6 assists, 10.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks. He has evolved his game from just to a rim protector and rim runner to a complete all-around player. He is slowly becoming one of the best passing big men in the league and his contributions have the Heat with a 26-10 record. He has seen improvement all across the board and pretty much embodies what the award represents… but that’s if voters fatigue plays a role in this year’s race. 


Defensive Player of the Year

Anthony Davis is the runaway candidate for Defensive Player of the Year (Original Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj)

We have all heard the old saying that “defense wins championships,” and some of this year’s frontrunners for Defensive of Player of the Year are actually the main contributors to playoff and championship contenders. We have seen this award be dominated by big men and this

year hasn’t changed a bit.


My Top 5 for Defensive Player of the Year:

Anthony Davis (LA Lakers)

Jonathan Isaac (Orlando Magic)

Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)

Giannis Antetokoumnpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

Patrick Beverly (LA Clippers)


Before this season started, Anthony Davis let it be known that he was going after the Defensive Player of the Year award. So far in the season, it is safe to say that he is a man of his word. He has brought another level of intensity on the defensive end. His intensity on the defensive side of the ball has become contagious for his whole team as they have become a top-two defense in the league. 


Davis is averaging an impressive 1.5 steals along with 2.6 blocks per game. Davis’ impact on the court goes beyond just the box score as his presence in the paint makes it difficult for opponents to get to the rim. 


One of the most promising defensive players on my list is Jonathan Isaac who is averaging 1.6 steals and 2.4 blocks all at the young age of 22. His impact on the defensive end this early in his career is very promising, but a knee contusion will force him to out for at least two months.


Coach of the Year

(Original Photo Credit: Joel Auerbach/Associated Press)

The Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks are all teams that have come hot and surprising NBA fans and spectators. These teams' early success in this season is a result of many of these coaches game planning and systems. 


My Top 5 for Coach of the Year:

1. Erick Spoelstra (Miami Heat)

2. Mike Budenhozer (Milwaukee Bucks)

3. Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics)

4. Nick Nurse (Toronto Raptors)

5. Rick Carlisle (Dallas Mavericks)


In my eyes, this award should go to no one other than Erick Spoelstra of the Miami Heat. He has managed to do a lot with a roster that consists of a lot of young players. He has helped lead his team to an excellent 26-10 record and 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. Coming into this season my expectations for the Miami Heat wasn’t high. Spoelstra has the Heat playing an exciting brand of basketball where every player that touches court plays their role to a key. 


These are my early predictions for this NBA season’s awards. It is still really early to be picking winners prematurely but I’m confident this is how things will work out. Let’s see how much I get right and how much I get wrong. If you guys have any disagreements with my choices let me hear them. 

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