YEEEEEEAHHHH BUDDY, Rolling like a big shot as Dorrough accurately described the feeling of all basketball fans today. Why? Because the NBA SEASON TIPS OFF TOMORROW! As I do the dancing banana dance in my office. In continuing our NBA season preview I took the time out over the weekend to sit down and predict who is going to take home the individual accolades this coming season. Below you will find who I predict will be the respective winners from each conference and who will take home the league accolades when it’s all said and done.
Kevin Durant – The man they call K.D. aka Icberg Slim aka The Durantula is going to have a monster season. Lets face it he doesn’t have any other proven consistent scoring options on his team. With Westbrook out for 6 weeks I look for Durant to average 35ppg the first half of the season and use that start to propel him towards the best season of his career.
Projected Numbers: 33.6ppg 9.1rpg 3.5apg
Defensive Player of the year
Dwight Howard – It was tough decision between Howard a 3 time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner and the reigning winner Marc Gasol. Side Note I am still confused how Gasol won Defensive Player of the Year but didn’t make the All-Defensive First Team. Anyhow back to Howard, even though he was banged up Dwight still led the league in rebounding last season. When you post career averages of 12.9rpg and 2.2bpg you are going to be in the conversation to be defensive player of the year every season.
Projected Numbers: 19.5ppg 14.4rpg and 2.6bpg
Conference 6th man of the Year
Harrison Barnes – Barnes had a real solid rookie season in which he averaged 9.2ppg 4.1rpg and shot 36% from three. However it was his play in the playoffs in which he was utilized as a small ball PF where he averaged 16.1ppg and 6.4rpg that made everyone take notice. I think the addition of Iggy helps Barnes because it takes the pressure off of him having to guard other elite wing players night in and night out. With the loss of Jarret Jack, Barnes is going to be looked at as their scorer off the bench and I imagine the Warriors playing a lot of small ball.
Projected Numbers: 14.8ppg 5.3rpg 38% 3PT.
Most Improved Player
Derrick Favors – The former #3 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft is still only 22 years old. Favors has always shown flashes of great potential both in New Jersey and his past couple of seasons in Utah. Now the team is finally his and he will get starter minutes given that Paul Milsap and Al Jefferson are no longer on the team. Favors averaged 9.4ppg and 7.1rpg in only 23mpg last season. He is going to have a monster year.
Projected Numbers: 18.4ppg and 11.2rpg
Rookie Of The Year
C.J. McCollum – Man this was a tough decision! There just aren’t many rookies in the Western Conference that I think will have a major impact. Trey Burke will miss the first 6 weeks of the season and he played terrible in both preseason and summer league. Shabazz Muhammad was kicked out of the Rookie Symposium. Ben McLemore is on a team with no veterans and a bunch of guys who love to shoot the ball. That is a terrible situation for a SG. That leaves me with McCollum who is going to get a lot of playing time given Portland lack of a bench. He also fits in well with their starters. You can play CJ at the point with Wesley Matthews and you can also play him off the ball with Damian Lillard.
Projected Numbers: 10.8ppg 4.5rpg 5.7apg
Coach Of The Year
Doc Rivers – The 2000 NBA Coach of the Year and leader of the 2008 Champion Boston Celtics is going to make LA a Clipper town, at least for this season. It is common knowledge that as a sports town LA loves winners. Doc is bringing a winning attitude to the Staples Center no more evident than deciding to have the Lakers championship banners covered during Clippers home games. I love that move! It tells the players we are here to win and are no longer in the Lakers shadow.
Lebron James – Yes I know D. Rose is back but it would be flat-out foolish of me to pick anyone else. I mean the guy has only won 4 out of the last 5 league MVP Trophies.
Projected Numbers: 26.5ppg 8.4apg 7.9rpg
Defensive Player of the Year
Joakim Noah – The man who took Marc Gasol spot on the first team all defensive team last year is in my opinion the best defensive center in the league. Dwight Howard might have slightly better stats but Noah is the best low post defender in the league and how many centers have you ever seen stop Lebron in a one on one situation? Not to mention if Lebron had an Arch Nemesis it would be Joakim. The key to Noah is dealing with his nagging injuries and staying healthy.
Projected Nunmbers: 12.5ppg 11.9rpg 2.3bpg 1.4spg
Conference 6th Man of the Year
Jarrett Jack- Jack balled out last season both in the regular season and the playoffs. He parlayed his career year into a four-year $25 million dollar contract from the Cleveland Cavaliers. I think Jack has a better regulars season this year than he did last year with Golden State. The Cavs bench has several players that belong on D-League rosters and given I secretly believe that Kyrie Irving biological father is Mr. Glass. Jack is going to see a lot of minutes and a lot of the ball.
Projected Numbers; 14.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.4apg
Most Improved Player
Bradley Beal – Beal had a really strong season for a rookie 13.9ppg 2.4apg and 3.8rpg are solid numbers for a first year guard. However I think Beal takes a huge leap this season and that leap is what propels the Wizards into the playoffs. In preseason he averaged 23.6ppg in 31.4mpg. I think his efficiency and all around court awareness are also going to improve and he will be in the all-star reserve conversation.
Projected Numbers: 18.8ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.8apg
Conference Rookie of the Year
Cody Zeller – I am going out on a limb with this one. I loved this pick for the Bobcats. Cody is a well-rounded fundamental big man who can run the floor. In addition to that his game fits Al Jefferson game well in that they will be able to run some solid high-low action. Victor Oladipo might put up better numbers but Orlando is trying to turn him into a point guard and he is not a facilitator so im going with the other Hoosier.
Projected Numbers: 13.5ppg 9.8rpg
Coach of the Year
Frank Vogel – This pick is based on my assumption that the Pacers end up squeaking past the Bulls for the Central Division Title. Vogel has proven that he is a damn good basketball coach and after taking control over the pacers mid-season three years ago all he has done is win. He led them to a the first round his first season, second round in his second season, and to the conference finals last year in his third season. I don’t know about you but I love that trajectory.
MVP: Kevin Durant
Defensive Player of the Year: Joakim Noah
6th Man of the Year: Harrison Barnes
Most Improved Player: Bradley Beal
Rookie of the Year: Cody Zeller
Coach of the Year: Doc Rivers