Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com
The 2015-16 NBA season has been a very eventful one to say the least. With just a few weeks to go before the playoffs begin, this is a good and fair time to make educated predictions on who will win this year’s major award in the NBA. Here are my predictions:
MVP: Stephen Curry
Why? He is leading the league by averaging 30.3 points per game and has led the Warriors to the best start in NBA history. Oh, and he frequently sits out fourth quarters, and still puts up top numbers. There’s a reason this is the shortest of the blurbs on this article. This should be a unanimous choice.
Most Improved Player of the Year: CJ McCollum
Why? The Blazers are a team that returned one starter from a team that went 51-31 a year ago. They were interchangeably power ranked with the 76ers at 29 or 30 to start the year. Not only has McCollum helped Damian Lillard to get them back in this year’s playoff picture with a record of above .500, but he has stepped up in a big way, contributing over 20 points per game. This won’t be unanimous, but I think this is a good pick.
Defensive Player of the Year: Hassan Whiteside
Why? Define defense. Good defense is not letting other teams score. The Heat have one of the NBA’s top defenses this year in terms of scoring, and much of that can be attributed to the fact that Hassan Whiteside is leading the league in blocks with 3.77 per game, almost 1.5 more than 2nd best. He is also grabbing an average of 11.7 boards per game. Whiteside has also gotten numerous triple-doubles with blocks, something the NBA had not seen in a long time prior to him coming along. I’ll quote the man himself: “Ain’t nobody doin’ it with blocks.”
Rookie of the Year: Karl Anthony-Towns
Why? It is going to come down to Towns and Kristaps Porzingis. The reason it goes to Towns is because, well, let’s be honest. No one thought Porzingis was going to succeed the way he did, so much of the Rookie of the Year talk focused on him is purely on hype. Towns on the other hand, was supposed to succeed, just not as much as he has. He has averaged 17.9 points and 10.3 rebounds, which are both higher than Porzingis’ stats in those respective categories, and has 1.7 blocks, which is only 0.2 shy of Porzingis’ 1.9. Also, Towns’ player efficiency rating is over 5 points higher than Porzingis. All of this combined should seal the deal and give Towns the award.
Sixth Man of the Year: Victor Oladipo
Why? Oladipo is not the ordinary sixth man, as he averages 15.9 points, 3.9 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game off the bench. He provides a spark to the Orlando Magic when he is in the lineup. His seasons highs are 45 points (just last Friday), 13 rebounds, and 10 assists, and he has scored 37 points or higher twice this season. He is not your typical sixth man, and if anyone is going to spark a late run for the postseason on the Orlando Magic it is him.
Coach of the Year: Steve Kerr
Why? This was a tough one. You can easily give it to Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton for propelling the team to the best x-0 start in NBA history with 24 wins. However, I think it all comes down to pressure. Obviously at 24-0, there is a lot of pressure not to lose, but in reality, there was never a chance they weer going 82-0. Thus, there is more pressure on the 62-7 team that we have now to break the all-time wins record set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls because it is actually doable, and I think Steve Kerr has done a great job game in and game out preparing that team so that they don’t trip up and lose focus on that goal. Another interesting thing to point out here is the fact that 62-7 is the first time ALL SEASON that the Warriors winning percentage has been under 90%. Even the 1995-96 Bulls did not go nearly as far as the Warriors did with that. And, the obvious, this is a team that is battle-tested and championship ready, and the reason that is the case is because of the amazing 67-15 season they had a year ago with Steve Kerr taking over that program and turning it into one of the greatest NBA teams of all time.