What better way to kick off the first day of NBA media days, then having some way too early predictions for the season that is a month away? Let’s get started.
Rookie of the Year
With the most anticipated rookie class since 2003, this award will have quite a few rookies making a great case for the award. Andrew Wiggins has the highest ceiling of them all, Marcus Smart is the most physically ready, then you have Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, and Zach Lavine who could all bloom into superstars but can’t expect that in year one. However, Jabari Parker is the most NBA ready, went to a team he wanted to play for, and well he is arguably their best player already. Parker will have his touches on offense to put up close to 20 points a game while snatching 5 rebounds and a couple assists along the way.
Coach of the year
Coach of the year can translate to breakout team of the year or the team that exceeds expectations the best. Or how about an unproven coach who leads his team to the best record in the conference? Sounds to me like David Blatt makes the perfect case. Blatt, new head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has never coached an NBA team before. His coaching experience comes from overseas where he coached for 20 years. But he inherits a loaded Cavs team led by LeBron James, not a bad deal.
Most Improved Player of the year
This one is always a tough one to predict, because there is no telling which player will break out. Some worthy candidates are Chandler Parsons, Lance Stephenson, Kawhi Leonard, and plenty of others. The one that stands out is Kawhi Leonard. Coming off an unforgettable NBA Finals series where he defended LeBron better than anybody else has, and led the Spurs offensively as well. Plus, when your coach says the offense will run around you now, there’s no telling how improved Leonard will be.
Defensive Player of the year
Another one of those categories where plenty of players fit the role well. Defending champ, Joakim Noah poses a great chance to repeat as the winner. But the likes of Roy Hibbert, Dwight Howard, and a rejuvenated Tyson Chandler will all make strong cases. This year, the NBA will see a first time winner take this award home, Serge Ibaka. He will likely lead the NBA in blocks once again, and his rebounding skills are only improving. On top of this, there are countless instances where he disrupts the opposing offenses rhythm with his long arms and quick feet.
Most Valuable Player of the year
This race is always the most fun to monitor throughout the year. And this year will be no exception. The league is full of superstars that are looking to lead their respective teams to the next level. Of course defending champ, Kevin Durant makes a strong case to repeat but Chris Paul and teammate Blake Griffin are both looking to improve on what were MVP like seasons. A dark horse in this race could be Lamarcus Aldridge. Last year in the playoffs, Aldridge looked unstoppable against the Houston Rockets. If he can find that groove again, and the Blazers continue to excel, he could make a great case. But lets be real, this award is LeBron James’ to lose. The superstar is coming off an incredible statistical season. And now you add weapons like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love around him is almost unfair. And not to mention the depth this Cleveland team has in Dion Waiters, Shawn Marion, Tristan Thompson, and Mike Miller. This will arguably be LeBron James’ best team, so what is there not to like about James winning his fifth MVP award?