With the NBA currently still being played and the Finals upon us, I think it’s a great time to predict awards for next season. Although no rookies are on any rosters and free agents haven’t moved, it’s always nice to guess and look back on predictions. Thus far, we have yet to hear who the MVP winner is this year but that doesn’t mean next season’s winner is a huge mystery. I will do a mid-season revision of this article to see if any of my picks are still a lock or if some should be dropped. (top 6 awards only)
MVP: Luka Doncic
Many view this as a bold take but any basketball fan can tell you Luka is legit, and his season stats for the 2020 season should be a huge indication on what is to come. His stats compared to Giannis’ 2019 MVP are pretty darn nice; Luka- 28.8 points, 8.8 assists, 9.4 rebounds, 1 steal, .2 blocks, and around 46% shooting. Giannis- 27.7 points, 5.9 assists, 12.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.5 blocks, on around 56% shooting. Luka’s stats have been insane in his 2 year career to this point. He already looks so good on paper but looks even better on the court as a leader and voice for his Mavs. Doncic is already the best young star in the entire league and many claim he was snubbed when Brandon Ingram won this year’s Most Improved Player award. He needs to turn up a little more on defense and build on this season’s playoffs appearance but overall his talent is there. If he wins the award, he would be the second youngest to receiver the honor behind Derrick Rose in 2010-11.
Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Davis
I am a firm believer that Anthony Davis should have been given the defensive honor for this season. His size and skill set make him an absolute terror to match up against and he proved it all year long. Davis’s 2.3 blocks (3rd in NBA 1st at PF) and 1.5 steals (14th in NBA 2nd at PF) don’t give him enough credit at all. He can out rebound and out hustle anyone he defends and he’s a brick wall to get through. Giannis may have snagged the award this season, but I think AD comes back with a personal vendetta for DPOY next season and wins it easily.
Sixth Man of the Year: Michael Porter Jr
Seeing the Clippers-Nuggets series really puts this pick in perspective to me. Jokic and Murray can only do so much for Denver during this restart, and the only real option off the bench that can put on points for them is Porter. He plays around 24 minutes a game and averages about 12 points and 7 boards (playoff high of 28). He plays so loose and with such confidence but hardly gets the chance to really make a difference. I say next year head coach Michael Malone gives Porter more minutes and I think MPJ is going to soar absolutely unleash off the bench.
Most Improved Player: Lonzo Ball
Before you laugh at your screen, hear me out. Lonzo Ball is an extremely gifted basketball player. His court vision, passing, and defense are among the best for his position across the board. His active hands and beautiful dimes jump out at you when watching him play. He gets a ton of hate for his lack of shooting (and his bad shooting/form when he does) and came into the league with all the hype in the world because of father. His dad runs his mouth a lot and I feel like that plays a huge role in Ball’s lack of confidence since entering the league after his dominant years in high school and at UCLA. He was picked second overall in the 2017 draft for a reason, and I really like him taking on a bigger role in New Orleans. With Jrue Holiday garnering a lot of trade interest as well as a new coach in the card for the Pelicans, I feel like Lonzo can really embrace his role as a leader on the court for the Pelicans and take advantage of the young talent around him. If he doesn’t let the media and hate get to his head he should be great. He already is a top defender, he just needs to improve his shooting and I think he’ll finally get some respect on his name.
Rookie of the Year: James Wiseman
Although Bol Bol is eligible to win this award, we aren’t having another 2018 rookie scandal. With a couple of big names coming to the league soon I really have my eye on one; James Wiseman. I feel like no matter where Wiseman falls in the top 5 of this years draft, he’ll be an instant upgrade. The shot blocking center out of Memphis can really use the coaching in the NBA to elevate his game. He only played 3 games where he average 19 points, 10.7 boards, and 3 blocks before he left Memphis to focus on the draft. The 19 year old 7-footer is going to be a problem for opposing teams on both sides of the floor. If he can develop a nice mid-range and 3 point shot, he can be a real headache.
Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra
No matter what happens this season, I think Spoelstra and his Heat get even better next year. The Heat hold the 20th overall pick and have plenty of talent already and can even use that to lure in another superstar via trade. They finished 44-29 under Spoelstra and were a team many people thought had no chance to even make the playoffs. One of the best minds in basketball, Spoelstra can prove he still has the championship caliber coaching he enjoyed during Miami’s “Big 3” days with Bron, Wade, and Bosh. Whether he gets another superstar or sticks to his guns and tries his luck in the draft, Erik Spoelstra is going to have an exciting team to watch.