2019-2020 NBA Awards predictions

Antetokounmpo+is+the+reigning+NBA+MVP.
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2019-2020 NBA Awards predictions

Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA MVP.

Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA MVP.

Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA MVP.

Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA MVP.

Melvin Harris, Tony Roberts, James Williams, Jr. and Jarod Hamilton, Contributors & theScore Editor

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The NBA landscape has drastically changed since the conclusion of the 2018-2019 NBA season. The era of the “big three” seems to be over, at least temporarily with power duos being the new wave of forming a superteam. There are new contenders for some of the league’s most precious individual awards. The big questions are who will win Most Valuable Player, Sixth Man of the Year, and Coach of the Year? 

Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks.

 As Drake would say it, Giannis is going back to back. The Bucks’ main core has stayed together, so the chemistry will be just fine if not improved. The Greek Freak has a chance to be the fourth player since 2000 to win back-to-back MVP’s. Unlike other superstars, Giannis has not paired up with another superstar this season and that may benefit his case this season. His biggest competition is the reigning Finals MVP  Kawhi Leonard. If Leonard leads the Clippers to a top-two seed in the West he may have the edge over Antetokounmpo. 

Honorable Mention: Kawhi Leonard (LAC)

Defensive Player of the Year: Joel Embiid (PHI)

This could be a big year for the third-year center out of Kansas. Embiid has publicly said he wants to win MVP and DPOY this year which isn’t out of reach, but he has never played a full season due to various injuries. Embiid has been named All-NBA Defensive Second Team the past two seasons with Embiid already lost the opportunity to win Rookie of the year because of the lack of games he played. The back-to-back defending Defensive Player of the Year winner Rudy Gobert may have something to say about that as Gobert is averaging 2 blocks per game during his seven year career.

Honorable Mention: Rudy Gobert (UTAH)

Rookie of the year (ROY): Ja Morant (MEM)

In today’s NBA, the game has been tailored made for the point guard to succeed, and as Morant would put it, he is a future “point god”. The rookie guard out of Murray State started with a tall task. He had to face guards like Kyrie Irving, Goran Dragic, and Zach Lavine during his first few games. He didn’t bow down or get starstruck by them because he is a rookie. Instead, he responded to the competition. Through his first four games in the league, he is averaging 18 points, six assists, and two steals, according to NBA.com. Zion Williamson would be a front runner for this award but his health is questionable.  

Honorable Mention: Zion Williamson (NOP)

Most Improved Player: Dejounte Murray (SAS)

 Although he missed all of last season, Murray hasn’t lost a step. Since the start of the season, he has averaged 15 points and six assists per game, according to NBA.com. Meanwhile, his defense has looked elite. If Murray maintains his elevated level of productivity, he is on track to increase his averages across the board and hopefully help the Spurs compete for a playoff berth.

 However, if there’s anyone that can take this award away from Dejounte Murray,  it would be Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Gilgeous-Alexander may take a huge leap forward with the Oklahoma City Thunder since being named a starter. 

Honorable Mention: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)

Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams (LAC)

Williams could be the first player to win the award four times. The 15-year veteran is coming off a campaign that included 20 points per game to go along with five assists per game for the eighth-seeded Clippers. Williams is the reigning back-to back Sixth Man of the Year and looks to add another award to his mantle behind the newly formed juggernaut Clippers. This award could also go to Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie played excellent behind D’Angelo Russell last year and has a chance to spell Kyrie Irving off the bench this season.

Honorable Mention: Spencer Dinwiddie (BKN)

Coach of the Year: Doc Rivers (LAC)

Doc Rivers is one of the league’s more notable coaches. Last year, he led the Clippers to the 8th seed in the Western Conference after trading away key player Tobias Harris. With the acquisition of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard during the offseason, he could write the narrative of taking the 8th seed team to 1st. This would not be the first time Doc has led a newly formed team to greatness, as he coached the 2008 Celtics to a 66-16 record (a 42 game improvement from the previous season) and to an NBA championship. A dark horse candidate would be Erik Spoelstra who is leading a new Heat team in search of their new identity post-Dwyane Wade. In the weak Eastern Conference the Heat should be able to nab a playoff spot and possibly home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Honorable Mention: Erik Spoelstra (MIA)