More appropriately timed NBA Awards Predictions


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Plenty has changed since I made my preseason NBA Awards predictions in October. The league has been shaken up by major injuries, countless trades, surprise breakouts and unexpected slumps. Most of which has rendered most of my award predictions laughable, so, to catch up with the times. Here’s my “More Appropriately Timed NBA Awards Predictions.”

 

Most Improved: Pascal Siakam-Toronto Raptors

In a league where a new tampering investigation is opened up each week, and superstars are in standoffs with the media, one of the most compelling underlying storylines has been Pascal Siakam going from the Raptors’ spark plug sixth man to cementing his name as one of the five best two-way players in the eastern conference. Siakam’s offensive output has improved in every way. He’s seen an increase in rebounds, assists, and more than doubled his points per game from 7.3 to 15.2 PPG. His shooting percentages tell the same story with at least a 7% uptick across his shooting splits. Those numbers coupled with his versatility on the defensive end makes him the second most important player on the Toronto roster.

Honorable mention: Buddy Hield (SAC), Julius Randle (NOP), De’Aron Fox (SAC)

 

6th Man: Derrick Rose-Minnesota Timberwolves

Derrick Rose burst into the 2018-19 NBA season with a career-high fifty point game against the Utah Jazz on Halloween night. From then on, Rose’s second wind as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves became the feel-good story of the season. However, aside from the warm-fuzzy feeling induced by the return-to-form of the youngest MVP in league history, Rose’s numbers have continued to be consistently impressive. He’s from having no pot on NBA roster to a starter averaging 18 points, 4.5 assists, on a stellar 46% from three. Perhaps the best part is seeing an aggressive Rose back to penetrating defenses and managing games.

Honorable mention: Dennis Schroder (OKC), Montrezl Harrell (LAC), Eric Gordon (HOU)

 

DPOY: Paul George-Oklahoma City Thunder

Paul George has always been known as one of the league’s elite wing defenders. Despite his consistency, he has yet to be bestowed with the NBA’s top defensive honor. This year, though, it seems he’ll get his flowers. It makes sense considering his averages for steals and rebounds are career bests along with the league’s second-best defensive win shares. Perhaps the most impressive about his defense is that he’s capable of guarding the opposing team’s best player on a nightly basis while performing on an All-NBA level offensively.

Honorable mention: Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL), Joel Embiid (PHI), Pascal Siakam (TOR)

 

ROTY: Luka Doncic- Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic entered the draft as the 18-year-old former MVP of the second best professional basketball league in the world. Still, somehow, he was criminally underrated as a draft prospect despite being picked in the lottery. All season long, Doncic has been making the GMs of the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings pull their hair out, with near All-star level play throughout the season. Doncic is the only rookie that is undeniably the best player on his team and has presumably the highest ceiling of any rookie since Anthony Davis.

Honorable mention: DeAndre Ayton (PHX), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC), Marvin Bagley III (SAC)

 

MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo- Milwaukee Bucks

The jury has been out for the last couple of years on which young star will take up the mantle of the best player in the league upon Lebron James’ inevitable retirement from the NBA. This year, Giannis has been making the strongest case of anyone yet. The Greek Freak is averaging a career-high 27 PPG, 13 REBS, 6 ASTS, and 58% from the field, all while leading the Bucks to the best record in the NBA. The thing that sets him apart from other MVP front runner, James Harden, is Giannis’ effectiveness on the defensive end. Just as strong a case can be made for his candidacy as Defensive Player of the Year as he leads the league in defensive win shares. Barring any drastic changes, Giannis seems a shoo-in for the league’s top honor.

Honorable mention: Paul George, James Harden, Joel Embiid

 

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