Who’s going to win every NBA award and why after 2 weeks of games
The NBA season is rolling yet again and after assessing the first few weeks of games and watching as religiously as possible there are some personal favorites for each award so far.
Starting off with the big one, the MVP is a yearlong endeavor that will change candidates too many times to keep track of. There are already some strong candidates after the first week of games. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are playing at their usual high standard. LeBron James has to be mentioned without a doubt due to his superpower of never declining. Some players have dropped off the radar with Kyrie Irving having a shaky start. The player in my opinion who has started fairly strong and will only get better is one Kawhi Leonard. Leonard has started the year at a strong pace, averaging 25.7 points per game and 8.7 boards. This goes along with the Raptors 4-0 start to the season. One thing that is consistent about MVP winners is the strength of their regular season. James Harden won the 2017/18 race over LeBron due to his team’s record. Westbrook’s individual season was a marvel and had to be recognized and Curry has been on the most dominant team being the go to guy during his MVP stretch. If Kawhi keeps this pace, his team will succeed and he will be the one holding the award at the end of the season with along with the media attention it garners, whether he wants that attention or not.
Most Improved Player
With previous winners being players that are now perennial all-stars, there comes a lot of pressure to follow with this award. Already starting the new season, there are many players who seem a distant shade of who they once were. This is one of the few awards, which will not be deterred with a team’s record. That is a huge factor in deciding this race as if someone is shining on a sinking ship, they may still be able to snatch this award from a more established team. The player that comes to mind is Zach LaVine from the Chicago Bulls. LaVine is in the form of his life, averaging 32.3 PPG to go along with 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Unfortunately for LaVine, the bulls are currently 0-3 and sitting at the cellar of the East. They are still yet to bring back star in the making, Lauri Markkanen who will give them another star outlet they so desperately crave. The bulls will most likely not make play-offs and that is the only deterrent that can hurt LaVine’s chances but if they are any chance of getting close, his form will need to continue which will garner him this award. The bulls are still in rebuild mode and if he was to bring this home, it would create a star level player to go along with their star front court in progress of Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.
Rookie of the Year
The award that is constantly linked with the beginning of a superstar career, this will be a hotly contested award like so many years prior. With this past years draft stacked with both front and backcourt talent, it is hard to pick one player to stand above. Trae Young may develop into Stephen Curry lite but it is hard to see him battling his was to this award with the team currently around him. Luka Doncic may yet make resurgence to this and Deandre Ayton cannot be ruled out. The player we are going with is the 6’11 forward from Michigan State, Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson Jr has had a strong start to the season, mostly flying under the radar. He is averaging a decent 15.0 PPG and 6.3 rebounds. His advantage over the other rookies will his ability to fly under the radar, getting the better match up on offence and defense with Marc Gasol taking the harder task. This is a luxury most other rookies do not have with many players wanting to assert themselves on the young rookies. He has been shooting more than 12+ shots a game to go along with at least 6 or more free throw attempts per night. If he continues at this pace, he will emerge as a dark horse and later the leading contender to win the prestigious ROTY award. If you don’t believe me, watch his game against a well coached Utah Jazz team on the road and watch the big man stand up to the challenge.
6th Man of the Year
This is a difficult award to win, as no player wants to be glued to the bench during opening tipoff. But that’s where these players shine, being a spark plug and a consent game changer for their franchise. One player has started at an unbelievable standard off the bench and that is JJ Redick of the Philadelphia 76ers. Redick is averaging a smooth 21.8 PPG off the bench and draining 3s like they are going out of fashion. With the 76ers insistence on playing Markelle Flutz as either the point on 2-guard position, dependent on Ben Simmons health, Redick is in the prime spot to come off the bench and be a constant pain for defenses. Although not providing a great deal defensively, his offensive capabilities are what the 76ers need in a 6th man as he can change the course of a game in his minutes while also taking on the potential 6th, 7th or 8th players of a team. This will keep him in the leading spot for this award. Of course we do want a player of his caliber to start but whether that would assist his team or put them at a disadvantage due to the positives that Fultz brings that JJ lacks.
Defensive Player of the Year
Another award that is dependent on a team’s record. You can be one of the premier defenders in the league but if your team is getting beaten in every statistical category, it won’t mean a great deal. That is where our dark horse choice of Nikola Jokic comes in. The Denver Nuggets have been surprising to say the least, starting the year at 4-0 while collecting the scalp of the Golden State Warriors on the way. Jokic is at the centre of all this being a walking double-double or triple-double machine depending on if his teammates are draining their shots. Jokic is a defensive force being 7’0 and 250 lbs. He moves with the body of a smaller player and gets to the rim both defensively and offensively. While not collecting the insane amount of rebounds as other bigs, there is a lot more to Jokic’s game than they have. His steals are up a great deal, having surprisingly quick hands for someone of his size and he also commands the floor and attention. As the Nuggets make a run towards playoff contention, their entire team will be centered around Jokic at both ends of the floor.