The NBA season will officially tip-off on October 22nd, 2019 and before the games count in the standings, it’s that time of year to find out who I think will win each of the awards in the NBA this season.
MVP- Giannis Antetokounmpo- Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis did win the MVP trophy last season as his Bucks won 60 games and got to the Eastern Finals. But this season is a little bit different for the “Greek Freak”. A lot of the available candidates to challenge him for the award have decided to join forces and could cancel themselves out of the race.
- James Harden’s Houston Rockets added all-star point guard Russell Westbrook.
- Paul George and Kwahi Leonard became members of the Los Angeles Clippers
- Anthony Davis and LeBron James are both wearing Laker colors this season
Other candidates like Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Miami’s Jimmy Butler could make things interesting. But the trophy for the second year in a row will stay in the state of Wisconsin.
Rookie Of The Year- R.J Barrett- New York Knicks
With all of the attention being paid to his college teammate in New Orleans, most NBA observers will forget how good that he is. He’s argubly the best scorer in his entire class and can score from almost anywhere on the court. On a team in the Big Apple that is one of the league’s youngest, the now 20-year-old shooting guard will be the focal point of the team in the upcoming season.
He can score the basketball from almost anywhere on the court, create his own shot and get to the free throw line. Now R.J has to put it all together for a full season. On top of the scoring touch, he is a very rebounder and an underrated passer from the shooting guard spot. With the Knicks not being anywhere close to being a playoff team in the upcoming season, R.J should have plenty of chances (or shots) to win the award from his former teammate in New Orleans.
Defensive Player Of The Year- Paul George- Los Angeles Clippers
For the first time in recent memory, one team could potentially have three players make all-NBA defensive first team. Los Angeles already had Patrick Beverly at point guard and now with the additions of Leonard and George on the wings, the Clippers opponents will have problems scoring all season long.
This plays perfectly with the NBA’s leader in steals last season. Paul had 29 games last season where he had three or more steals in a game. Now with Leonard on the same side as him, expect even when he returns from his shoulder injury sometime in late October.
Coach of the Year- Steve Kerr- Golden State Warriors
For the first time in a number of years, the Golden State Warriors are not favorites to win the NBA Championship. But this might be Kerr’s best chance win the league’s top coaching honor. Not having Kevin Durant, Andre Igoudala and Shaun Livingston on the roster and Klay Thompson being out for a least the first half of the season will put Golden State behind some of the other teams in the West. Even with all-star guards Stephen Curry and D’Angelo Russell on the roster, most people have the Warriors in the second tier of playoff teams in the West.
But if the Warriors end up in the top-4 in the West and can win 50 or more games, Kerr should take the hardware home this season.
Most Improved Player- Markelle Fultz- Orlando Magic
The key to the success of the Magic in the upcoming season will come from someone who hasn’t played a regular season game since November of 2018. Fultz, who the Magic acquired at the trade deadline, has enormous potential and should supplant D.J Augustin as the starting point guard by the end of the year. He has the complete backing of the entire organization and does not have the pressure of being the final piece to a championship puzzle.
Now that he can focus on just basketball and being healthy, Fultz will thrive in Steve Clifford’s offense as a pick and terror. His play-making and shot-creating ability will be needed as the Magic attempt to establish themselves as a top-4 team in the Eastern Conference. As long as he stays healthy, Markelle averaging 14 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists a game shouldn’t be out of the question.
Sixth Man Of The Year- Lou Williams- Los Angeles Clippers
To some people picking Williams to win this award is too easy of a choice. But lets be honest, he’s going to be one of the best teams in the league and with new editions to help the team defensively allows him to do what he does best. That is score the basketball. No one in the league can it better off the bench than Lou.
He should average close to 20 points per game this season. The number of wide open shots he will have will increase his scoring average by a few points per game alone. Lou’s teammate Montrezl Harrell, Orlando’s Terrance Ross, Indiana’s Jeremy Lamb and Boston’s Marcus Smart should be in the running.