2017 NBA Awards Predictions
Dunk of The Year
Block of The Year
Assist of The Year
Performance of The Year
Game-Winner of The Year
Rookie of The Year
Malcolm Brodgon (Milwaukee Bucks)
Joel Embiid had one of the best rookie seasons of all-time, unfortunately it was only for 31 games. Philly looked like a team that could challenge for an 8th seed when Embiid played – that alone would’ve won Embiid the award along with some MVP votes. But 31 games is 31 games, the rookie of the year can’t miss more than half of the season. Malcolm Brodgon was great off the bench for the Bucks before he took the starting point guard job from Matthew Delladova. As a starter, Brodgon averaged 12.5 points, 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds. His improved play helped Milwaukee finish strong during the second half of the season despite losing Jabari Parker. Brodgon’s impact on a winning team along with being in such a weak rookie class should win him the award.
Sixth Man of The Year
Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)
Gordon transitioned seamlessly into Mike D’Antoni’s system, finishing second behind Lou Will in points off the bench and fourth in threes with 246 (206 off the bench). Houston’s offense continued to thrive with James Harden on the bench in large part to Gordon. His addition was a huge reason the Rockets finish third in the West and he’ll win this award in large part because of that.
Defensive Player of The Year
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
After two years of finishing behind Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green will finally win Defensive Player of The Year. Draymond guards every position on the court and he’s everywhere when he’s defending off the ball. Despite his height, Draymond was elite at protecting the rim this past season. Opponents only made 43.8 percent of their shots at the rim when Draymond contested it – that percentage is just as good as Utah’s 7’2 Rudy Gobert. Gobert has a strong case for the award as well but Green is the main reason Golden State has the best defense in the league and his ability to cover all five positions gives him the edge.
All- Defensive Team
C- Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
F- Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
F- Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
G- Patrick Beverly (Houston Rockets)
G- Chris Paul (LA Clippers)
C- Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
F- Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City Thunder)
F- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
G- Tony Allen (Memphis Grizzlies)
G- Danny Green (San Antonio Spurs)
Coach of The Year
Mike D’Antoni (Houston Rockets)
After his time with the Lakers, many wondered if the NBA had seen the last of Mike D’Antoni. It appeared as if his time as a head coach had come to an end – then Golden State happened. The Warriors ascension to NBA Champions by relying heavily on three-point shooting, convinced Rockets GM Daryl Morey that only one man could help get Houston to that level. Preseason expectations had the Rockets winning 41 or 42 games; nobody saw a 55-win season coming. Eric Spoelstra deserves a ton of consideration as well because of Miami’s second half performance but the Rockets did it for the whole year. Give D’Antoni his trophy and his credit for making the game of basketball what it is today.
Most Improved Player
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
If the Nuggets coaching staff didn’t play Nikola Jokic as a reserve at the beginning of the season, Giannis may be sharing this award. Jokic’s level of play the last three months of the year made this a close race but Giannis’ dominance from beginning to end puts him over the top. The Greek Freak led Milwaukee back to the playoffs during a season in which two of the Bucks top 3 players (Jabari Parker and Khris Middleton) missed considerable time with injuries. Giannis established himself as a top-10 player in the league while earning 2nd Team All-NBA honors. He also became just the fifth player in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. At this rate, it won’t be long before he’s a finalist for the MVP award.
Most Valuable Player
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Complain all you want about how he cheated for rebounds, didn’t win enough games, or pass enough – the 2016-17 NBA regular season was the year of Russell Westbrook. The triple-double average is ultimately why he will win MVP but Westbrook’s season was much more than that. When it mattered most, nobody in the NBA was better than Russ. Westbrook was the best clutch player in the league, leading the NBA in game-tying or go-ahead buckets with under a minute remaining. Fourth quarter after fourth quarter he brought OKC back from double digit deficits to either win the game or get them a possession or two shy of doing so. The argument about the win total is a valid one but everyone seems to ignore that OKC’s second and third leading scorer missed a combined 25 games. On a team devoid of requisite scoring options, those losses to key players would normally guarantee a spot in the lottery. Somehow, Westbrook kept OKC afloat through some tough stretches and got them 47 wins and the sixth seed in the Western Conference. Kawhi Leonard and James Harden had incredible seasons and are both deserving of the MVP but this year it belongs to Mr. Triple Double. Don’t hate the brodie,