28 October 2014

2014-15 NBA Awards Predictions

(USATSI)
The 2014-15 NBA season kicks off tonight, and you can read my season preview here. With that in mind, let's gaze into the crystal ball (literally or figuratively) and preview who may be getting some hardware come season's end.

Most Valuable Player - LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Not exactly an inspired choice but hey, he didn't win it last year? James has been doing his best to temper expectations for the new look Cavs this season but playing with a Kevin Love and a Kyrie Irving may only lift his game even further into the stratosphere. Not to mention that Cleveland is going to be a title contender, which won't hurt.
Runner-Up - Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

Rookie of the Year - Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks
Parkers is the favorite going into the season and it is easy to see why as his game, specifically his offensive game, is already ready made for the NBA. He may not have a defensive position but that won't matter for a Milwaukee team going through a rebuild as he should get plenty of opportunities to score.
Runner-Up - Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers

Defensive Player of the Year - Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
This can be a tough award to pick since there isn't often a go-to for this award (although Dwight Howard was just about that a couple of years ago). But Chicago's going to be a title contender and while Derrick Rose is going to be a key reason why, people will not forget their defense anytime soon and Noah is the biggest reason why.
Runner-Up - DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers

Most Improved Player - Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
The Greek Freak showed a lot of promise despite being incredibly young this past season, and despite playing for a fiasco of a team. Now with a year of seasoning and a head coach in Jason Kidd that may just play him at every position, Antetokounmpo is going to get plenty of opportunities to shine and show off some off his skills as he begins to grow into being more of a player. Of course, nobody knows what qualifies for this award so this is a crapshoot seemingly every year.
Runner-Up - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Hornets

Coach of the Year - Steve Clifford, Charlotte Hornets
Clifford could not have gotten enough credit for what he pulled off in the Queen City last year where he took a terrible team, added Al Jefferson and took an awful defense and made it a very good one in powering the Bobcats to the playoffs. Not with the addition of Lance Stephenson, the Hornets may be poised to get a top-five seed, as well as getting Clifford the recognition he deserves.
Runner-Up - Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers

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