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NBA Award Predictions As Of Right Now

The end of NBA regular season is a little less than a month away. With playoff spots being finalized and the play-in tournament set to begin on May 18th, let’s take a look at some predictions for this season’s NBA awards. We will also look at the Sideline CUE writer’s predictions from the beginning of the season.

Most Improved Player

Sideline CUE Writers Preseason Pick:

Christian Wood (1 Vote)

Coby White (1 Vote)

Devin Booker (1 Vote)

Kyle Kuzma (1 Vote)

Lonzo Ball (1 Vote)

Jamal Murray (1 Vote)

There was no consensus at all among the writers are the beginning of the season, but all these players were worthy of receiving votes for this award. Now with the season set to finalize, the true winner of this award shouldn’t be much of a debate.

Julius Randle

Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle is having an excellent season and is averaging career highs in… get ready; minutes per game, points per game, rebounds per game, steals per game, free throw shooting percentage, and 3 point shooting percentage. If that isn’t a case for Most Improved Player then I don’t know what is. Oh and he has the New York Knicks sitting pretty at 4th in the Eastern Conference with a 34-27 record, let me remind you that most preseason power rankings had the Knicks ranked at 28-30 in the league. Oops.

6th Man of the Year

Sideline CUE Writers Preseason Pick:

Derrick Rose (2 Votes)

Spencer Dinwiddie (2 Votes)

Lou Williams (1 Vote)

Montrezl Harrell (1 Vote)

There also was not much of a consensus among the writers for this pick, but quite the group of players here including previous winners Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. And again, the winner of this award shouldn’t be up for much debate.

Jordan Clarkson

Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The Utah Jazz currently hold the best record in the NBA at 44-16 and they have an absolute bucket off the bench in Jordan Clarkson. The 7-year player is averaging a career high 17.5 points off the bench on 42/35/92 shooting splits. He should be a runaway to win the 6th Man of the Year Award this season.

Rookie of the Year

The Sideline CUE writers didn’t make a preseason prediction for this award. This award could be somewhat of a debate, but there seems to be a clear winner.

Lamelo Ball

Matt Slocum/Associated Press

While Lamelo Ball has been injured for a part of the season, he should still be the favorite to win Rookie of the Year. Among rookies, he is second in points per game, second in rebounds per game, and first in assists per game with 15.9, 5.9, and 6.1 averages, respectively. Recently Anthony Edwards has made a case for argument, but Ball should still win the award.

Coach of the Year

The Sideline CUE writers didn’t make a preseason prediction on this award. There are several candidates that should be considered for this award, with the debate much stronger than the previous three awards.

Candidates:

Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns)

Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz)

Tom Thibodeau (New York Knicks)

All of these coaches have led their respective teams far and above what their preseason expectations were and that is why they should be considered for Coach of the Year.

Monty Williams

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

I believe the Coach of the Year award should be given to Monty Williams, the Phoenix Suns had relatively low preseason expectations and he has guided them to a very impressive 42-17 record (currently 2nd place in the Western Conference). While Quin Snyder and Tom Thibodeau have both exceeded expectations as well, I believe Monty Williams is the most deserving of this award.

Defensive Player of the Year

Sideline CUE Writers Preseason Pick:

Anthony Davis (6 votes)

There was a unanimous vote among the writers at the beginning of the season for the Defensive Player of the Year award winner. While no one could’ve predicted the injury to Anthony Davis that essentially took him out the running for the award, it was a good prediction. The winner of the award could be a subject of debate for some, but not in my mind.

Rudy Gobert

Getty Images

While some could debate that Ben Simmons should win this award, I have yet to see anything that dethrones Rudy Gobert as the Defensive Player of the Year. He is incredibly impactful on the defensive end of the floor, more so than any other player. The opponents of the Utah Jazz have a +11.1 offensive rating when Gobert is off the floor. He should be set to join an exclusive club of players to win 3 or more Defensive Player of the Year awards, joining only Dwight Howard (3), Ben Wallace (4), and Dikembe Mutombo (4).

Most Valuable Player

Sideline CUE Writers Preseason Pick:

Luka Dončić (6 votes)

The Sideline CUE writers preseason pick, along with most of the NBA community, was Luka Dončić. This was an excellent pick and Luka has had an excellent season, but there are four other candidates in my mind that should be considered more heavily to win the award.

Candidates:

Nikola Jokić

Stephen Curry

Damian Lillard

Joel Embiid

All four of these players have had exceptional seasons, some of the time carrying a heavier load than usual due to injuries to other players. Stephen Curry, especially as of late, has been absolutely electric and has carried the Warriors to the 10 seed in the West. Damian Lillard kept the Trailblazers afloat during the beginning of the season and has been impressive since. Joel Embiid has played extremely well and has the 76ers looking like a true title contender. But there is one player in my mind that stands above the rest this season.

Nikola Jokić

Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

Jokić has always been a special talent, but his level of play this season has reached new heights. He is averaging career highs of 26.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game. He is leading the league in win shares and box plus/minus, two stats used to determine the overall value of a player to wins. He has led the Denver Nuggets, now single-handedly due to the season-ending injury to Jamal Murray, to a 39-21 record and 4th place in the Western Conference. While “The Joker” may not necessarily be a runaway for MVP, he certainly should be a favorite.

All stats taken from ESPN.com, NBA.com, or Basketball Reference unless otherwise stated.

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