One of the most exciting times around the NBA is determining the awards that are given out after the season is completed. These awards go to some of the best, youngest, and most enhanced players of the season, along with the most accomplished head coach of the season.
Down below are my predictions of the winners for each award, along with the runner-ups.
MVP Award: James Harden
The Beard has set his mark in the NBA as a solidified superstar. He continues to prove people wrong game by game. After being dealt to Houston by OKC back in 2012, he has improved each season in many different ways. This season, he is the top candidate for MVP. Although leading the league in turnovers with 5.8 per game, he has been playing some outstanding basketball as of late. Harden leagues the lead in APG with 11.3 while also averaging 29 PPG and an incredible 7.9 RPG. Let's not forget the fact that Harden is carrying this Rockets team to the 3rd best record in the NBA (yes, better than the defending champions Cavaliers).
Having nine 40+ scoring games under his belt thus far this season, he also has nine games of 15+ assists, some of which in the same game. Many people feel that if triple double machine Russell Westbrook averages a triple-double this season, MVP is locked up for him. This is false due to the winning season Harden is having with his team compared to Westbrook's record. Taking absolutely nothing away from the Brodie, Harden is my MVP this season.
Runner Up: Russell Westbrook
Rookie of the Year: Joel Embiid
Trust the Process Philly fans! People may be thinking 'playing only 31 games can win you such an award nowadays?' In this case, yes, yes it can. These 31 games Embiid has been on the court has also been some of the best games Sixers fans have gotten to see in a long time. Each time Embiid stepped on the court this season, the Sixers have been at a +67. What happens when he's off the court? Oh, nothing too drastic but a whopping drop to a -453.
Embiid has shown us his off-court antics while sidelined before he could even get a chance to step on the court. Now that he has and shown us what he's capable of accomplishing, Philly fans must be salivating over his return.
Runner Up: Malcolm Brogdon
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green
Losing out to Kawhi Leonard the past 2 seasons, this may be Draymond's year to grab the award he deserves. Without taking anything away from 'The Claw', Green has been an outstanding defender since his college days at Michigan State and continues to improve each season. Averaging 1.4 BPG, he also is 2nd in the league averaging 2.1 SPG. These stats can say a lot, but it doesn't say everything about the impact Draymond has on the defensive side of the court.
Opposing players have a hard time trying to get around Green as he has been holding them to shooting only 40.5% from the field this season. Oh, and let's not forget what he accomplished against the Memphis Grizzlies back in February. A 4 point triple double. Yes, this is not a typo. While posting only 4 points that game, he also had 5 blocks, collected 11 rebounds, dished 10 assists, and had 10(!) steals. He posted our leagues first ever triple double without posting 10+ points. An unbelievable accomplishment by Draymond Green, he deserves this award.
Runner Up: Kawhi Leonard
Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon
This award came down to 3 people for me, but I had to choose Gordon because of his impact he has had for the Rockets. Battling injuries throughout his career, Gordon seems to have found himself a safe home in Houston. He's 3rd in most 3 pointers made this season with 204 makes, behind 2nd placed teammate James Harden and league leader (shocker) Steph Curry.
Gordon provides a spark off the bench that Houston should be extremely thankful and grateful for. Averaging just below 17 PPG, Gordon has become a lethal sharpshooter that league needs to start worrying about in the upcoming future.
Runner Up: Lou Williams
Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo
3 words. The Greek Freak. This guy right has legitimately improved in every single possible stat there is in the NBA. He's a 6'11" all position type player with a 7'4" wingspan. He has freakish athleticism and the rest of the league should be frightened by the fact that he keeps improving significantly while only at 22 years old. Not to mention, he leads the Milwaukee Bucks in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He pretty much does it all for them.
There's not much to say about Antetokounmpo, except the fact that he should receive the Most Improved Player award for this season.
Runner Up: Bradley Beal
Coach of the Year: Mike D'Antoni
The Rockets have the Big 3 on this list with Harden, Gordon, and now D'Antoni. He has taken over this Houston team this season with questions being thrown about him succeeding or failing as a head coach. Safe to say, he's doing a fine job and is shutting all of the critics up at this point. The Rockets have the 3rd best record in the NBA, as of now, with a lineup that doesn't 'wow' anybody. The addition of 6th man of the year candidate Lou Williams was, in fact, a great deal for Houston, after only having to give up an aging Corey Brewer and a first-round pick to the Lakers.
D'Antoni came up with the idea of putting superstar James Harden at point guard this season, leaving everyone, including Harden who was asked about it and called his coach crazy, confused and worried. After experimenting this bold decision, Harden and others around the NBA were stood corrected. D'Antoni deserves this award after what he's been able to accomplish with this Houston Rockets team this season.
Runner Up: Gregg Popovich