The NBA regular season has a few weeks left, and then its playoff time. Once the playoffs begin, it’s time to start dealing out some of the seasonal awards. I’ve been following pretty closely this season, so here are my picks/predictions for this year’s awards:
Most Improved Player: Julius Randle
I’m not sleeping on Julius Randle, I know that he’s been a more than decent player before this year. That said, he went from being really good to being a game changer this season, catapulting the Knicks to their first playoff appearance in almost 8 years.
Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Clarkson
The Sixth Man race is lowkey one of the more competitive awards this year. With so many guys providing big time off of the bench this season, I could easily see the award going to like 4 or 5 different people. However, what Jordan Clarkson has been doing consistently in Utah all year should be enough for him to take home the trophy.
Rookie of the Year: LaMelo Ball
Just like with Sixth Man, Rookie of the Year is super competitive this season. Mainly because so many players from the 2020 draft class are getting meaningful minutes and contributing to their teams. Despite missing a large chunk of time with injury, LaMelo Ball as been insane this season in just about every level of the game. The ceiling for him is crazy high and I’m excited to see him evolve over the next several years. Honorable mention to Immanuel Quickley though, we’re from the same town and his mom was a teacher at my middle school.
Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Simmons
If Rudy Gobert wins DPOY for the third time in four years, I might actually lose my mind. This year’s award should go to Ben Simmons, who has been a lockdown player for Philly the entire season, and a leading cause of their dominance over the Eastern Conference.
Coach of the year: Tom Thibodeau
As a big fan of Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls of the early 2000’s, it pleases me that Tom Thibodeau may win this award. In his first year as the Knicks’ head coach, he took one of the worst teams in the east to the playoffs. The tenacity and physicality that the Knicks are playing with can be directly attributed to Thibs.
MVP: Nikola Jokic
As a Stephen Curry fan, it’s hard not to pick him for this award. Dude is playing some of the best basketball of his career, keeping the Warriors in the playoff conversation without Klay Thompson by his side. If the Warriors do indeed steal a playoff spot in the play-in tournament due to Curry’s excellent play, he could still very well win MVP.
That said, Nikola Jokic has to be the MVP for this season. It is truly insane what this man is doing night in and night out. Averaging 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists, Jokic has kept the Nuggets as one of the top dogs in the West, even with Jamal Murray going down with a torn ACL. Watching him play is even more bizarre, as the stats don’t even get close to telling the entire story. Jokic is getting baskets any ways that he wants to, and nobody can stop him.
Perhaps I'll revisit this list in a month or so and see if I got any correct. If you keep up with basketball, I'd love to know what you think