The NBA: 2013 Player Awards Predictions

Back in 2011, Derrick Rose and LeBron James battled for the MVP.
Rose won that year. Can the same happen for 2014?

Most Valuable Player
1. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
2. LeBron James, Miami Heat
3. Kevin Durant, OKC Thunder
4. Chris Paul, LA Clippers
5. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

The last time LeBron James was gunning for a third straight MVP during the 2010-11 season, Derrick Rose was a thorn on his side and thwarted LBJ in that attempt. The same could happen this season IF D-Rose produces similar numbers to his MVP season and IF the Chicago Bulls get at least the best record in the East. There's also talk of "voters' fatigue" which means that LBJ needs to impress/awe the voters like never before to convince them that he deserves a 3rd straight MVP. As for Kevin Durant, the loss of Russell Westbrook to an injury for a few games could help his MVP campaign if the Thunder stays on top of the West and Durant's assist rate goes up. Chris Paul could also garner more MVP talk if the Clippers win the West and he averages 20 and 10. Tony Parker will always be in the MVP talk but his chances of actually winning it are slim.



Dwight Howard wants to be the DPOY again after losing the award in the past 2 years
(Image from: @rollzter)

Defensive Player of the Year
1. Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
2. LeBron James, Miami Heat
3. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
4. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
5. Serge Ibaka, OKC Thunder

Howard told the media that he wants to be DPOY again. He looks healthy and rejuvenated during preseason plus he tried to add a midrange jumper by using the glass (ala-Duncan), although his success rate is nowhere near TD on the bank shot. Dwight could easily win DPOY when (not if) the Rockets rank higher in team defense and points allowed. Last year, the Rockets were 28th in points allowed so even a bump to above league average could sway the voters in his direction. LeBron James is arguably the best perimeter defender and most versatile defender in the league but it is awfully hard for a perimeter player to win DPOY. The last one to do that was Ron Artest during 2003-04. As you can see, even my list has four big guys on the list outside of LeBron James.



Magic fans are hopeful that Victor Oladipo
can lead their team to the playoffs in the future
(Image from: NBA.com) 

Rookie of the Year

1. Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic 
2. Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings
3. Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers
4. Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
5. CJ McCollum, Portland Trailblazers

Originally, I had Trey Burke winning Rookie of the Year honors but Burke broke his finger recently and underwent surgery. He is expected to miss 2-3 months. My other pick was CJ McCollum of the Blazers but he will also miss some games due to injury. That leaves me with Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic. Oladipo will play major minutes with the Magic and could be a starter once Jameer Nelson (or Arron Afflalo) gets traded. He could win ROY just by being extremely healthy and playing big minutes. Oladipo will definitely accumulate nice numbers as a rookie. So far during three preseason games, Oladipo is averaging 13 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Meanwhile, Ben McLemore of the Kings could get major minutes with the departure of Tyreke Evans. He might even start every now and then since Marcus Thornton is his major competition for minutes at shooting guard.

Klay Thompson is one of the best shooters in the league.
Can he get hot coming off the bench?
(Image from: warriorsworld.net)

Sixth Man of the Year
1. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
2. JR Smith, New York Knicks
3. Tyreke Evans, New Orleans Pelicans
4. Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers
5. Jarrett Jack, Cleveland Cavaliers

Predicting the Sixth Man winner depends on who gets to start and who comes off the bench. Klay Thompson was a starter last year (same with Tyreke) but with the arrival of Andre Iguodala, Thompson could potentially be their sixth man. So far in the preseason, Klay has yet to start any games. That could change during the season if Harrison Barnes or Iggy struggle as starters. JR Smith who won last year may not qualify for the award this season IF Coach Mike Woodson decides to start Smith. Coach Woodson floated that idea during training camp. Meanwhile, Tyreke Evans is also on that uncertain position whether the Pelicans decide to start Evans or come off the bench. If everyone ahead of him plays more games as a starter, then Jamal Crawford will win this award. Crawford was the early favorite last season before JR Smith got hot.



Jonas Valanciunas was a beast during the Vegas Summer League.
He was named the tournament MVP
(Image by: Getty Images)

Most Improved Player

1. Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors
2. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
3. Jeff Green, Boston Celtics
4. Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns
5. Evan Turner, Philadephia 76ers

This prediction involves a lot of guesswork. It also includes a big bump in minutes played to boost the player's production. One such player should be Jonas Valanciunas of the Raptors. JV came into Summer League stronger, quicker and slimmer. He was a beast during that tournament and was named MVP. He appears on the verge of becoming the Raptors' best player and most important asset as well. Another player who will probably be better this season is Kawhi Leonard. We saw him perform great during the playoffs and he is a potential All-Star candidate. The others (Green, Bledsoe & Turner) will see their minutes rise as the best players on their abysmally weak team. The added minutes should translate into better stats this season compared to last year.

Coach of the Year
1. Mark Jackson, Warriors
2. Jason Kidd, Nets
3. Doc Rivers, Clippers
4. Tom Thibodeau, Bulls
5. Mike Brown, Cavaliers

The NBA has 13 new head coaches. That is the highest coaching change in league history, actually the highest in all four major professional sports in the USA. Typically, the Coach of the Year winner comes from a team that surprised people by performing better and winning more games than projected. Last week, I posted playoffs predictions for this season and I had the Warriors jumping to #3 in the West. That bump in the standings could give Mark Jackson the COY. At the same time, the Clippers and Coach Doc Rivers could finish 2nd in the West so Rivers will also be in contention for the award. Even rookie Coach Jason Kidd could possibly win if the Nets finish in the top 3 in the East.



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