We are a little over a quarter of the way through the NBA season so naturally, I decided that it is time to do some predictions way too early. It’s win-win for me really. If I get them wrong, I can say “well it was way too early” and if I get them right, I look like a genius. So let’s get down to it!
Most Valuable Player – Kevin Durant (GSW)
I can already hear people calling me a moron or a bandwagon fan right now but let me stop you there. I HATED Durant going to Golden State. Anyone that knows me knows that I hate super teams in general. But it can’t be denied that Durant has elevated the Warriors to an even higher level, despite not being on a record-setting pace like last season. He is averaging career highs in FG%, Rebounds, steals and blocks while also averaging a career low in turnovers. He is also doing that in less minutes than any season other than his injury-plagued 14-15 campaign. So, why Durant over Westbrook? What Westbrook is doing is mighty impressive. It’s actually crazy. But with the way Russ plays, he is gonna tire out as the season goes on and this is a prediction as to who I think will win at seasons end, not who I pick right now. For the record, I think Russ will come up short on averaging a triple double as well.
Honourable mentions – Russell Westbrook (OKC), James Harden (HOU)
Sixth Man – Lou Williams (LAL)
Surprisingly, the Lakers currently have the top bench in the NBA although it has dropped off a little due to injuries to starters D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young, meaning Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram have been moved to the starting lineup. However, someone who is still leading this bench is 2014-15 6th man Lou Williams. Williams is top-40 in the league in scoring, averaging a career high 18.4 points per game. Williams is also averaging career highs in 3P% and steals while shooting efficiently from the floor.
Honourable mentions – Wilson Chandler (DEN), Sean Kilpatrick (BKN)
Most improved – Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
Before the season started, Bucks coach Jason Kidd announced that Giannis Antetokounmpo would be the Bucks starting point guard, a decision that was met with much trepidation from fans and experts alike. Giannis currently leads the Bucks in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game with averages of 22 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 6.1 apg, 2.2 bpg and 2.1 spg. Oh, and he just celebrated his 22nd birthday.
Honourable mentions – Jabari Parker (MIL), Mike Conley (MEM)
Defensive Player of the year – Draymond Green (GSW)
Yes, he flails his leg out dangerously and unnecessarily. Yes, he complains to the refs after blatantly doing it. I know, I know. But, Draymond will still be the Defensive player of the year. He defends positions 1-5 and not only that he holds his opponents to an average of 5.7% below their usual FG% (advanced stats for the win.) That is good for 6th best in the NBA amongst players who have played in at least 17 games and the fact Draymond does it while defending every position including centers who generally shoot a high percentage from the field. He is also 2nd in steals per game and 18th in blocks per game.
Honourable mentions – Anthony Davis (NOP), Paul Millsap (ATL)
Rookie of the year – Joel Embiid (PHI)
Joel Embiid may technically have a couple years experience on the other rookies but he is still a rookie, even if he is playing like a grown-ass man! He currently leads all rookies in points, boards, blocks and 3P% while coming 3rd in FG% and he is even top 20 amongst all rookies in assists and steals (18th and 17th respectively.) Trusting the Process is paying off!
Honourable mentions – Dario Saric (PHI), Jamal Murray (DEN)
Coach of the year – Gregg Popovich (SAS)
Most people would pick the 19-3 Warriors here but would it surprise you to hear that the Spurs are only 1 game back at 18-4? People are saying the Spurs are struggling yet they’re only one game back of one of the best offensive teams of all time? That comes down to great coaching. Tony Parker, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili have all missed multiple games due to injuries and the Spurs keep on rolling while playing guys like Nicolas Laprovittola, Davis Bertans and Dejounte Murray. Pop is one of the greatest to ever do it.
Honourable mentions – Luke Walton (LAL), Steve Kerr (GSW)
What do you think? Let me know if you think I’m right (probably not) or if I’m an idiot (highly possible.)
If Giannis doesn’t get most improved it will take a massive effort from someone else to beat him…