With the NBA season under one week away (get excited), it’s time to start predicting what’s to come for this upcoming season. Between which teams will have the best records, to who will win each NBA award, everybody has their predictions. Sometimes they’re right on the nose, and sometimes they couldn’t be more wrong. Let’s hope by the end of the season that my predictions won’t be too far off and just straight up laughable.
This season, there are a handful of names that can make a run at winning the MVP award. Between LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and even Kawhi Leonard, all these guys, and more can put up an MVP campaign season.
My prediction to win will have to be LeBron James. LeBron will obviously be running the Lakers, but will also make his very young teammates better and bring Los Angeles back to the playoffs. I can’t see the Lakers racking up too many wins or even be a top seed in the Western Conference, but LeBron bringing the Lakers from where they were back to the playoffs will be impressive. His numbers are going to do nothing but add to his case.
6th Man of the Year:
If we’ll be completely honest, the 6th man award is Lou Williams’ to lose. He’s a top scorer in the NBA while coming off the Clippers’ bench. Unless Doc Rivers gives him the nod to start, there’s no reason why the two-time Sixth Man of the Year shouldn’t win this award once again.
BUT, if I’m going to give my personal opinion of who can give Lou a run for his money, I’d choose Terry Rozier. The basketball world witnessed the third year guard from Louisville breakout in the playoffs, helping lead the Celtics to game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron and the Cavs. Terry will come into this season with the belief that he’s arguably one of the best bench players in the NBA, and that he could be a starting point guard in this league. Plus it’s his contract year, so I expect him to have a great year.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Like the MVP award, there are a handful of guys that can make a solid argument to win this award. Between guys like Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert, Joel Embiid, and Kawhi Leonard, each one of these players brings something to the table that makes them the best defensive players in the NBA.
My choose may shock a few, but I believe Kawhi Leonard will win this award for the third time. Listen, I know Kawhi’s coming into Toronto with plenty of question marks surrounding him. Will he go back to the way he was before his injury? Will he fit in in Toronto? Will Kawhi commit to the team and not start looking at leaving when the year ends? The answer is yes. He’ll go back to being a top MVP and DPOY candidate. When he’s healthy, he’s a top-5, and arguably a top-3 player in the NBA. I expect him to bounce back just fine.
Coach of the Year:
Okay, I know I’m a Celtics’ fan and this may sound biased as hell, but I think it’s about time Brad Stevens wins this award. Since he’s entered the league, he’s exceeded expectations and has improved the Celtics every single season. He’s brought teams to the playoffs that shouldn’t have even sniffed a playoff atmosphere. His genius basketball mind has attracted superstars to come to Boston. I’m so happy he finally has a team with multiple healthy superstars so he can show just how great of a coach he is. If the Celtics meet their expectations this season, Stevens should be the clear winner of this award.
Rookie of the Year:
This award will be the toughest to decide who’ll win after the season ends. There are so many players that could break out and make a solid case to win the award. Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton, Collin Sexton, Marvin Bagley III, Miles Bridges, Trae Young, etc. are all players that could easily win this award. The situation means everything, too. This award doesn’t focus more on wins but the stats these rookies put up. All these guys can go off and seem to become the next superstars of the NBA.
My choice will be Luka Doncic. I think this kid will be an absolute superstar in the NBA and be the face of the Mavericks franchise for the foreseeable future. He’s played with professional basketball players since he was a teenager and looks to be the most NBA ready rookie coming into this season.
Most Improved Player:
The three names that come to mind when I think of players that will come back this upcoming season get people talking are Markelle Fultz, Kawhi Leonard, and D’Angelo Russell. Yes, I know Kawhi may not exactly “improve” in the case that people will now know who he is, because we all know who Kawhi Leonard is. But I feel people actually forgot just how good Kawhi Leonard was before last year’s fiasco in San Antonio. He’s was a top-3 player in the NBA two season ago, and that wasn’t arguable. Kahwi has a lot to prove this season, and a lot of people to prove wrong. Going into his contract year as well, he’ll become that player once again.
BUT, although Kawhi will be a top candidate to win this award, I believe this award will be given to Markelle Fultz. Listen, I may talk a little trash about the 76ers in all fun, but I love Markelle Fultz. I’ve always loved him, and I won’t even lie, I wanted him when the Celtics got the number one pick in last year’s draft. I believe he has the potential to be a top player in the NBA, and next season will start getting people to talk about just that.
As far as the top teams in each conference, I got the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors to top their respective conferences. I also expect this to be the matchup we will be seeing in the NBA Finals this year.
The NBA season is less than a week away and I couldn’t be more excited. Between the incredible rookie class, to old players in new places, and everything in between, this season will be a fun one to follow along with.
Let me know your predictions for this upcoming season, and check out Tyler and I’s newest podcast “Benchwarmers Radio” and our first episode where we discuss and predict what will happen next season!