Pre-Season NBA Award Predictions
Most Improved Player
- Myles Turner
Outlook: Last season he was one of the best defender sin the entire league that he wasn’t getting enough credit for because he plays in Indiana. He did get some recognition for his raised level of play come playoff time against Lebron James and the Cavs. He has been putting in work all summer to transform his body even further, as one of the leading blockers in the NBA and doing so while staying out of foul trouble has been a key aspect for his ball club. I think if Indiana takes a jump in the east to the point they overtake one of the big three teams that would go a long way in his case for MIP and DPOY for this upcoming season. Also, last season was the 5th time in the last 18 years that that a player from Indiana won the MIP award, making a player who is putting in work this season an easy favorite.
Stats 2017-18: 12.7 PTS – 6.4 REBS – 1.8 BLKS – 47.9% FG% – 35.7 3P%
Stat Prediction 2018-19: 15.1 PTS – 7.3 REBS – 1.94 BLKS – 48.5% FG% – 35.5 3P%
2. Lonzo Ball
Outlook: He had a ton of hype surrounding him last year and it led to a lot of pressure and things taking away from his game. With Lebron his long-time idol playing alongside him and the Lakers filling out a roster with so many story lines that their will be more to focus on than just Lonzo will be huge for his development this season. A ton of media is calling him a bust as well, and since this is a media voted award and he’s in LA I think after a much improved second year following a summer in which he has been working on his body and game he’ll have a good chance to win the award. He is only not the favorite because it’ll be hard to improve his overall stats, and I’m not sure increasing his FG% will be enough to win him the award.
Stats 2017-18: 10.2 PTS – 7.2 ASTS – 6.9 REBS – 1.7 STLS – 0.8 BLKS – 36.0% FG% – 30.5% 3P%
Stat Prediction 2018-19: 13.3 PTS – 6.9 ASTS – 7.1 REBS – 1.75 STLS – 1.1 BLKS – 44.2% FG% – 36.4 3P%
3. Jabari Parker
Outlook: Being traded to the Bulls will be amazing for his game, and as Jabari has had underwhelming season for his potential thus far it’s easy to think that he will have a huge year if healthy. That’s why he isn’t favorite on this list, I’m not fully sure what were going to get out of Jabari, but I know the bulls are building an exciting young lineup that he should be the star of going forward. Back in his hometown I hope to see him show-out and bring the bulls back to the cusp of relevancy.
Stats: 2017-18: 12.6 PTS – 4.9 REBS – 1.9 ASTS – 48.2 % FG% – 38.3% 3P% (31 Games)
Stat Prediction 2018-19: 21.3 PTS – 5.9 REBS – 3.1 ASTS – 48.5 FG% – 36.3 3P%
4. Andre Drummond
Outlook: Not only has Andre Drummond lost 20 pounds this offseason and has been shredding his body to shape his game to be conducive for the NBA today. He’s also in the lab working on his overall game and ability to step out all the way to the 3-PT line to shoot and make plays from the top of the key. He is a dominant force that often gets overlooked by his own teammates when he has clear advantages in the game, with a slimmed body and improved all-around game I look for his teammates to finally give him the respect and shot attempts he deserves. If he can be that dominant force this season he and Blake Griffin could come together to win almost 50 games in the East. Which if that happens he deserves the award for that alone.
Stats 2017-18: 15.0 PTS – 3.0 ASTS – 16.0 REBS – 1.6 BLKS – 1.5 STLS – 52.9 FG%
Stat Prediction 2018-19: 20.8 PTS – 3.5 ASTS – 14.5 REBS – 1.8 BLKS – 1.9 STLS – 52.1 FG% – 34.0 3P%
5. Markelle Fultz
Outlook: It may be far too early in his career to give him the award either, but again with the media driving these awards I think if Fultz can have a big year for the 76ERS it could lead to a lot of admiration for his comeback from injury. Having only played in 14 games though there isn’t much to go off to call him the most improved player, although to counter that argument he was virtually unplayable last season in the playoffs and if he finds his shooting stroke again that would be an amazing story. On a team with the most guaranteed success this next season he has a chance to be a pivotal role in a conference missing its king. If the 76ERS win 55+ games and he plays0 in at least 65 of them, showing signs of the player he once was that may be enough to snatch the award.
Stats 2017-18: 7.1 PTS – 3.1 REBS – 3.8 ASTS – 0.9 STLS – 40.5% FG%
Stat Prediction 2018-19: 13.5 PTS – 4.9 REBS – 5.1 ASTS – 1.2 STLS – 41.3% FG% – 29.8% 3P%
Rookie of the Year
- Luka Doncic
Outlook: He is the most decorated player coming into the NBA this season coming off an MVP season in Europe he has the game most ready to come in and make a pro impact. He may find a way to score more than he did in Europe for this Dallas squad, they’re in need of someone to shoot the ball and I think he’s going to do that at a decent clip. He gets the nod because I expect him to be the most consistent and doesn’t give me the same negatives some of the other players do.
Stat Prediction: 16.3 PTS 3.5 ASTS 4.0 REBS 1.1 STLS 43.5% FG% (72 Games)
2. Michael Porter Jr
Outlook: He didn’t get to play much in college before his injury, and there’s questions on wither he’ll play all season. But if he plays 65+ games and Denver can make the playoffs in an absolutely loaded west he’ll have strong consideration for the award. Plenty of other teams will regret passing on this young man if he can stay healthy and play up to his abilities as he’ll be the clear number two on this Denver squad regardless of all their other talent.
Stat Prediction: 16.9 PTS 9.5 REBS 1.3 ASTS 1.4 BLKS 1.0 STLS 51.0% FG% (61 Games)
3. Deandre Ayton
Outlook: I haven’t been high on Ayton, but he has grown on me sense watching the rest of Suns picks in the draft and Free Agency. He has solid teammates and the Suns are going to try to make a leap in the loaded west this season. That will be done playing through booker and ball movement, not always trying to slow it down and feed Ayton. So, his productivity will go up and down all season, but ultimately has a good chance to make a case for himself, but I’m giving the nod to MPJ simply for his contributions to what I believe to be a playoff team.
Stat Prediction: 14.2 PTS 10.1 REBS 1.5 ASTS 1.7 BLKS 0.8 STLS 55.5% FG%
4. Lonnie Walker IV
Outlook: This pick is my belief in his game and ability to contribute to a playoff bound Spurs team this season. Consideration will always be given to players who can score and help their team win, I think he’ll be a great fit in San Antonio. His scoring will be limited due to San Antonio’s style and the acquisition of DeRozan, but you’ll still want shooters on the court which he has a chance to be a good shooter in this league. Which he is in the perfect system for his skills to get vitalized as the Spurs are a very ball movement friendly team, so he’ll get open looks all season long.
Stat Prediction: 11.3 PTS 2.5 REBS 2.3 ASTS 1.2 STLS 35.7% 3P%
5. Mohamed Bamba
Outlook: I think he’ll be one of the best defenders in not just the draft but the entire league. He has an 8’0 wingspan and is athletic enough with an overall game that will lead to big minutes his rookie year. If he can produce on the offensive end and hit his 3-PT shot at a consistent rate he could jump everyone on this list and prove season 1 why I said he should be the number one draft pick. Orlando also has a chance with some great play from Bamba to steal a playoff spot in the East possibly from in-state rival Miami Heat. He has the kind of demeanor and work ethic you want in a young man, and with his intangibles his potential is through the roof.
Stat Prediction: 12.4 PTS 11.3 REBS 1.7 ASTS 1.9 BLKS 1.3 STLS 51% FG% 30% 3P%
Defensive Player of the Year
Outlook: One of the best defenders in the league and vying for the best player in the NBA, he’ll have a chance to take another step towards his first DPOY award if he can keep this up and even raise his STL, and BLKs by seasons end. It’ll also help that he plays with MIDDLETON and BROGDON 2 other great defenders at their position, which will mean the Bucks will have a good chance to be the top defense this season. Bucks will have a good chance to add hardware this season and will need to assert himself as the best player in the conference, but many others will have something to say about that, but the east is looking up.
Stat Prediction: 30.5 PTS 10.22 REBS 4.9 ASTS 1.7 STLS 1.7 BLKS
Outlook: Toronto was already one of the best teams in the league last year (In the regular season) and added without argument a top 5 player in the NBA, while losing a 2nd to 3rd team All-NBA SG that hasn’t shown the ability to step up on a big stage like Kawhi has during his career. If Toronto finds a way to finish atop the east and they are a top defensive team with title odds, Kawhi will be right there in the mix. Not sure he’ll win the award but with the rest of Toronto’s defensive potential around him I think he could headline a team that could be like the Pistons when they finally upset the Lakers, they’d have to first get to the finals to play Golden State if that happens Kawhi will be revered in Toronto.
Outlook: He has had a huge body transformation off a year in which he was a superb defender for the Indian Pacers, with the pacers prime to take a step forward with LeBron out of the east, it’ll be interesting to see how he does in year 4. He is also the favorite of mine to win Most Improved Player Award, watch out for Indiana in the East. If he can find more time on the court this season with his new body and improved game, he could exceed his career high of 2.1 BLKS a game. He also should be quicker, and more athletic this season which will help him further in his game.
Outlook: Coming off a DPOY in 56 games played still rubs me the wrong way because many fans won’t count Lonzo Ball’s stats because he played in 4 less games. Gobert I don’t believe will win 2 years in a row because of that but if he plays like he did last year for 70+ games he’d have to be the favorite. But with a loaded West we currently have the Jazz on the outside looking in come playoff time. They will win 41-47 games and I’m not sure it’ll be enough, and if they don’t make the playoff that could also affect his DPOY possibilities.
Outlook: This one may be a slight reach but just like I had him atop our draft board off talent and potential, in the first year where you’ll see that most is on the defensive end. With an 8’0 wingspan he’s going to be blocking shots left and right, Orlando also has a slim shot to sneak into the playoffs if they can come together with a defensive effort around Mo Bamba. He’s also young and needs to put on weight, but he’s very athletic and what he’ll lack against big time centers he’ll make up for on rotation defense and helping with guards. There are only a few bigs in the NBA that will dominate Bamba on the offensive end of the court, but that may be enough along with Orlando most likely missing playoffs for him to have no shot at the award regardless of how man shots he blocks.
Coach of the Year
Michael Malone – Denver Nuggets
Outlook: The Nuggets are poised after both a good draft and solid offseason to make a playoff jump and if they find themselves a top 5 seed in the West it’’ be hard not to give Malone the award. The Nuggets will bolster their own version of the twin towers in rookie MPJ and their Franchise star “Joker” (Jokic), and if their healthy they will be quite the force to try and stop every night for a league that has become more and more guard heavy. Malone has the chance to exploit mismatches with the players he has in the lineup, and if “IT” is anywhere close to his former self then the Nuggets can make an even bigger than expected leap. Malone will be a big recipient of praise if these things can go right for Denver.
Brad Stevens – Boston Celtics
Outlook: He’s the easy pick to put atop these rankings every season, and while we want to do the same because he should have won it this season in our opinion, no offence to the job Dwayne Cassey did in Toronto. But if the voters aren’t giving him the nod in a season in which his 2 best players went down with injury, then I don’t think they will give him the award this year just because now he has too much talent. But he’ll be in the hunt every season for the next decade and you can pencil him anywhere between 1-5 in these rankings for the foreseeable future.
Luke Walton – Los Angeles Lakers
Outlook: The Lakers are going to make a bigger jump than many analysts are giving them credit for, Lebron playing off the ball more this season will lead to a different form of LeBron than we’ve seen in the past. He’s going to excerpt his role in different ways, because his role on the team is now slightly different than in years past. This will help, and I believe right away as he’ll enjoy playing on the big stage that is a Staples Center, plus the young talent is on the cusp of making the jump without LeBron. The media has now been painting the picture perfect for the Lakers and LeBron to “Overachieve” this season just because their expectations for the “King” are less than in years past. With all the personalities I the locker room, if they can mesh quickly Walton could be a COY candidate. He could also lose his job at any moment this season, so nothing is fully guaranteed at this point.
Igor Kososkov – Phoenix Suns Coach
Outlook: Adding Ayton, Bridges, and Ariza this offseason to a lineup with All-Star snub Devin Booker, if they can make a bigger jump than I already predict (about 32-37 wins) than he’ll have a real shot at winning this award. If they were in the east he’d win the award and be a top 6 seed, in the west the Suns will be the 11-12th best team in the conference even with a much-improved roster. Taking them to the playoffs in a loaded west after being the number pick would be huge for his COY candidacy and Ayton’s ROY hopes. This is a pick mostly off promise for the future, I don’t know if it is this season, but they’ll be vastly improved and the difference between being improved and the playoffs could be the coach, or exceptional play like the Jazz got from rookie Donovan Mitchell.
Mike Budenholzer – Milwaukee Bucks
Outlook: They have a ton of talent on paper but have underperformed thus far, Giannis is still young and looks to have improved his body going into year 6 and only 23 years old. Finally, in his Jordan year I expect him to improve his decision making alongside his overall physical dominance. If the bucks can unseat one of the top 3 teams out east the coach will get a lot of credit for improving this Bucks team without any major offseason additions aside from NCAA Championship MVP Donte DiVincenzo. This could be a good chance for both him and Giannis to make a leap into the conversation for best team in the East. They’re not there yet but with great coaching and play from this Milwaukee team in 2018-19 we could possibly see them make a bigger leap than expected. Already having won the award previously with a less talented roster, lookout for Milwaukee and don’t be surprised if they “overachieve”.
Most Valuable Player
Team/Record Prediction: Lakers (52-30)
Outlook: Lebron will have the ball in his hands for less amount of time than any other point during his career, with both Rondo and Ball running the offense LeBron is going to be utilized differently than in the past. LeBron is going to spend more time near the basket and is going to be more focused on scoring rebounding and defense rather than trying to make every play for his team. This will be a new version of LeBron James that we will see for the next decade like I’ve been predicting was going to happen. Lebron’s transition to playing more like a big man and less like a playmaker will be huge for not only for his gameplay but for the Lakers as a whole, Rondo and Ball now get to dump off easy assists to the best player on the planet. Don’t overlook this team in the playoffs or the West, they’ll finish a top 4 seed possibly top 2 unless they get off to a rocky start.
Stat Prediction: 28.4 PTS 6.9 ASTS 9.1 REBS 1.5 STLS 1.1 BLKS 56.1% FG% 37.1 3P%
Team/Record Prediction: Bucks (57-25)
Outlook: Giannis is going to be a “freak” this upcoming season (yes, more so than he has already been) but he may find it difficult to overcome any one of Boston, Toronto, and Philadelphia in the playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see how far Budenholzer can help take this team and this player in the 2018-19 season, Giannis has made been working out all summer and has put on at least 10-20 pounds of muscle. If he developed a more consistent jump shot, he may be the MVP because he’ll be ungarudable all year long and may take the regular season serious enough to win enough games to sneak into the top 3 out East. He may also add a scoring title to his resume next season much like LeBron did early in his career, LeBron’s best scoring years were his 21 and 23-year-old seasons; this is his 23-24-year-old season and with LeBron out of the East he’ll want to take the thrown from the King. Can he take the award too?
Stat Prediction: 30.5 PTS 10.22 REBS 4.9 ASTS 1.7 STLS 1.7 BLKS
Team/Record Prediction: Celtics (60-22)
Outlook: I’ve got the Celtics sneaking past the Warriors for the best record in the league by either a game or by winning tie breakers, this will be a close regular season in deciding standings across the league. With many improved teams and players including some on his own team unless he averages more than my prediction, or the Celtics are even better than I predict he may be able to steal the award from Lebron, but this is a media driven award and LeBron will have that going for him being in Los Angeles. Kyrie will have a ton of talent that will be used against him in deciding MVP, much like it has for the Warriors but just like James Harden if you use your talent to get a better record than the Warriors than you’ve got a chance to win the MVP. I think he’ll take this season to show that he is back in spurts but that he can be more of a true point guard while still scoring, he’s going to find a way with all these weapons around him in Boston to lead a very talented offense and defense.
Stat Prediction: 23.9 PTS 7.1 ASTS 3.5 REBS 1.4 STLS 0.3 BLKS
Team/Record Prediction: Thunder (50-32)
Outlook: The Thunder will be a better defensive team this upcoming season and will need a bigger portion of their offense put back on to Westbrook’s shoulders. With the ball in his hands as usual how does he beat 2 straight years of averaging a triple-double? How about a 3-peat? Westbrook will be out to do something this season that no other player in NBA history will accomplish, after having already done so last season. He’ll improve his decision making to a degree and raise his percentages on the way to a higher scoring average and a top 4 seed out West. If he can even sneak past LeBron or Houston and his argument would be undeniable, he’d be the MVP, but this isn’t the most likely outcome. His MVP consideration will come from the fact he’s making history each season he takes the court. Another season averaging a triple-double and it’ll be hard to keep him out of the Top 20 NBA players in history.
Stat Prediction: 27.1 PTS 10.2 REBS 10.3 ASTS 1.7 STLS 0.3 BLKS 46.1% FG% 32.5% 3P%
Team/Record Predictions: 76ERS (55-27)
Outlook: The 76ERS have a shot to put themselves atop the East standings but with the Celtics looking like the favorite, they’ll need MVP level play over a 70+ game span from Joel Embiid on top of Markell Fultz taking a jump in his game. If this Philly team can sneak past Boston in the East as they try to find their new selves, having multiple guys coming back from IR. The 76ERS can capitalize early and if Embiid is as dominant as I expect on both ends of the court he’ll be an MVP candidate and possible winner if he can play anything over 35 minutes per game, while leading his team to a top record in the league.
Stat Prediction: 24.1 PTS 10.9 REBS 3.3 ASTS 0.8 STLS 2.4 BLKS 50.0% FG% 33.2% 3P%
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Karl Anthony Towns