2010-2011 NBA award predictions

With the NBA kick season kicking off tomorrow, it's prediction time.  As a fan, I always felt prediction threads were silly.  There are too many unpredictable variables that can sway a season.  I thought why would any writer try and subject themselves to such scrutiny over something that, if they could do successfully, they'd millions of dollars gambling in Vegas and retire.  Yet here I am, writing my own 2010/11 NBA predictions.

Most Valuable Player
LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, and it isn't close.  Yeah, I know someone's going to come in here and talk about how dialed in Kobe is, or how many rings Kobe has, but Kobe's barely the best player on his team at this point which is still immensely talented even without him.  That said, the best player doesn't win every year, and LeBron's won the past two years only to fizzle in the playoffs.   Throw in "the decision", the shared responsibility for success, and I think the writers simply don't give it to him again.

So who's left?   Kobe Bryant had a worse PER in the regular season than Pau Gasol last season.  His team is one of the best, but he's no longer doing all the work and isn't putting up gaudy statistics.  Dwyane Wade is stuck sharing Miami's success with LeBron, Chris Paul probably doesn't have the cast to make something magical happen.  Deron Williams isn't quite good enough, and Dirk isn't sniffing another one after he lost in the first round after winning before.  

So of the really elite players, that leaves Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant as the two guys I consider front runners.  Both are media favorite, guys we'd like to see win, and guys who are generally viewed as humble (at least as humble as superstars get).  There seems to be a strong urge in preseason to give the award to Durant, and while I think Howard's team has a better record, I think the award ends up going to Durant anyway.  

Prediction:
Who deserves it: LeBron
Who should get it, if we want to piss on LeBron: Howard
Who actually gets it: Durant

Defensive Player of the Year
Dwight Howard is your defensive MVP.  I believe only David Robinson has won the award three times in a row, but Howard is about to do just that.  Seriously, who can even challenge him for it?  Look at the voting last year, and let me know if you think any of these guys has a chance in hell:
2: Josh Smith, 3: Gerald Wallace, 4: LeBron, 5: Rondo, 6: Artest, 7: Bogut, 8: Thabo, 9: Verajao, 10: Camby/Wade tie.

Seriously, Howard had 95% of the vote last year, and barring an injury, it's difficult to imagine anyone else winning the award.

Rookie of the Year
Everyone says it's a two man race between Blake Griffin and John Wall.   Well, Omer Asik has something to say about that.  However, he didn't understand the question and said his English isn't so good.  If someone else wins this award, then someone proved a lot of people wrong in the draft.  I suppose Evan Turner and DeMarcus Cousins are the next two guys to be thrown around in the conversation, but I agree with the general preseason consensus that it's a two man race.

Of the two, I'm going to go against all odds and predict Griffin wins.  This goes against all odds because he plays for the Clippers which means there's a greater chance of him being hit by a meteor than having any kind of success in the NBA prior to being released, traded, or signing elsewhere as a FA.

Griffin's looked like a beast in preseason, his team has a great chance to experience success, and I think big men can make their presence felt more easily.  Many have forgotten how good Blake is after he missed a season with injury.  Obviously, it won't be a surprise if Wall wins, but if there's a surprise winner, I think it's Cousins who has the talent and seems pissed off enough to dominate the league just to spite everyone.

6th Man of the Year

Otherwise known as "the guy who should start and be the 3rd or 4th best player on his team, but instead we bring him off the bench and now he gets an award" award.  Really, is there a more bizarre award in the NBA?   This guy's never the best on his team, probably never the second best either, but he gets an award over those guys because the coach put him in a specific role.

The award is so moronic, that I don't want to even pick a winner for it.  Winner?   LeBron James.  Spolestra decides that they need to split up the talent between the starting line up and bench and brings LeBron of the bench.   

Okay, that won't happen, but boy would that be a fitting story line.  

I'll go with Jason Terry.  I'd pick Ginobili, but I think he may actually start this year, and I can't see Crawford having two good years in a row.  None of the other contenders from last year strike me as serious contenders this year.

Most Improved Player
The least predictable award in the league, if you were good at this one then someone's waiting to pay you a million bucks a year to be General Manager of their basketball team.  Half of the media preseason selections for this award end up as spectacular busts, because you have to pick someone who sucks enough to have room to improve while also having the skills and athleticism to make such improvement possible.

Actually, this award rarely goes to the guy who improves the most.  It typically goes to the guy who played really awesome in limited minutes (like 15 a game) and suddenly gets 35 minutes a game, and then plays the same way causing people to go "holy cow, look how much better xyz is" rather than "holy cow, look how dumb xyz's coach was last year for barely playing him!".   

I'll go with Amir Johnson, for no other reason that someone will do a lot of dirty work in Toronto with Bosh gone.  Johnson's likely that guy.  Do I think he's good enough to become a really good player?  No.  However, I think he'll add about 12 minutes a game to his playing time and have a big lift in his stats.  If he can show some improvement as well then I can't think of someone better to give the award to.  

Comments

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  • I think LeBron would have struggled to win the MVP even if he stayed in Cleveland, if the voters get tired and decide that MJ should have a year off from the award, it can happen to LeBron too. I agree Durant will win it, and if he's young enough that he might even improve enough to deserve it over Howard.

    DPOY is Howard in a landslide of course. He's still only 24 and has only missed three games in his career, it's not ridiculous to think he could win the award 10 years in a row.

    ROY is usually which ever rookie scores the most points. Looks like Griffin, which is good, because he'll probably actually deserve it too.

    Terry probably wont win 6th man, he's already won it and voters don't like to double up on it. I can see someone like Lamar Odom taking his turn at the award.

    Most Improved I pick JJ Hickson for the same reason you pick Amir Johnson.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I like Hickson as well for Most Improved, nice pick.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I think you're spot in with MVP and Defensive Player. I had Griffin as my ROY last year, and stick by it this year. I think James Harden has a good shot at 6th man if he doesn't start. As far as Most Improved, I think it could be either Robin Lopez or Leandro Barbosa

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    How about James Johnson as the MIP. If he plays consistently for 15/20 min, he has a chance based on how bad he was last year.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    I agree, the MVP has been determined before the season even started, it's going to Durant who sorry to say is nowhere near Lebron's level yet. And the guy saying JJ winning MIP, bwahahahahah, JJ is not winning any awards, ever.

  • In reply to bartocamazin:

    Are you MrHappy hating on JJ... The determination for MIP is suck so bad one year and be decent next year.
    I am just saying if he keeps up his pre-season stats, gets a lot of meaningful minutes and because he was so terrible last year that they were talk of junking him recently....he might get some votes.
    These awards are pretty much useless for me anyways...a lot of them give too much importance to stats rather than impact on winning...

  • In reply to bartocamazin:

    The best player in basketball is Kobe Bryant. I cant believe you refuse to admit this. Meanwhile, he keeps racking up championships. I didnt know Lovie Smith had a bulls blog. "We're 10-2 with Rex as our Quarterback" sounds exactly like you saying Lebron is the best player in the Nba, and to say its not even close is just ridiculous.

    Now, at least, all your excuses are gone. Lets see what the "best player in the NBA" does with this all star team. The Miami heat WILL NOT win the NBA title this year, yet you will continue to say he's the best. I just dont get it.

    Furthermore, from a statistical standpoint, its going to be really tough for LBJ to put up MVP numbers with two other big time scorers on the team. Unless of course you're going to tell me they are going to score 150 points a game.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    I think Doug is right. Kobe might have been the best 2 years back. Gasol was the best player last year on the Lakers. Kobe choked big time in Game 7. These are arguments which can keep going on and on....He is way past his prime and he is definitely not the best player in the NBA. You might like his game and the Lakers might win the championship with him being one of the main contributors. But definitely, it doesn't make any sense to call him the best player or MVP

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Any chance for Luol Deng to win Most Improved? He COULD have a seriously break-out, 20/7 average season, and re-enter the All Star conversation - if Thibs uses his skill set right, he could surprise lots of coaches. Agree Howard is DPOY, but I'd like to see Noah get some serious votes. How did Anderson Varejao finish ahead of Joakim in the DPOY voting last year?

    Hey there, long-timers, I've been lurking here for a while but the excitement of this season made me wanna join the conversation... by and large, a thoughtful, informative community. Glad you're here, haven't found anywhere better to listen to (mostly) smart talk about Da Bulls.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Why can't Derrick Rose be MVP ;)

  • In reply to CPBuff22:

    I really don't think Rose has that kind of star potential. He' an all star player but not MVP. I still think in the long run, the Bulls will need an elite scorer and not at the point guard position.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    That is ridiculous. Unless you are some kind of "Baskeball Nostradamus", it is impossible to tell that from just 2 years of watching him. In fact, everything until now points towards him becoming an MVP kind of player. If Steve Nash can be a 2-time MVP in his 30's, why can't Rose be one.
    If you mean this year, I agree with you. He is not there yet.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    If he gets to be a MVP candidate that would be great and I'm not saying he's not an all star but at his position and seeing that Rose has to shoot too much I just do not see it unless like I said, he will need another all star to play with him. Rose needs to play better defense, get his assist total up and make the entire team around him that much better. That's how Nash was able to do it, he made his team around him better.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    Kobe is still a great player, but he isn't the one man wrecking crew that he used to be. If Kobe was traded for Durant, who do you think gets a ring this year?

  • In reply to Dmband:

    WOW. . . MVP um ok first things Durant is good no doubt but right now all he can do is score and he still struggles at that at times dont get me wrong Lebron does work and Kobe dont care any more he is on that championship note right now the truth be told D. ROSE deserves it he is doin what he needs be done with Boozer back i see his assist to go up and his scoring to remain he is like at 26.0 PPG, 8.1 APG, and 4.1 RPG come on and its only going to get better too D. Rose for MVP dont hate on rose

  • In reply to Dmband:

    And on the bulls roster sorry there a good team but Deng needs to be let go sorry dont like his game at all he might be a cool guy but being cool wont win you championships bulls need someone who can actually play the game of basketball kyle can shot but he is no baller basketball has more to it then shotting brewer i dont know what they was thinkin on that note well oh well as long as they got rose i guess there good for now come on bulls management do your job already get wit it

  • In reply to Dmband:

    In his first NBA start, Johnson scored nine points on three of five shooting in just 23 minutes. He would start 10 more games over the remainder of the season.
    In his 11 starts, Jame averaged 9.5 points per game on 52 percent shooting. For the season, he averaged 12.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal per 36 minutes played.
    I think James may break out this season, and might even cause the Bulls to entertain the notion of trading Luol Deng and his big contract.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    I don't see how MVP can be brought up without Nowitzki being mentioned...Durant right now has not played better than his point guard up to this point.

  • I don't mean to compare Nash and Rose's games. It is just that if Nash could win an MVP award after such a long time when he was not even offered a contract by Dallas...we are making judgments on Rose too early. We need to let his game develop. I also hate the concept of defining how a PG should be. These are the traditional types and nothing really works out in real life like that.

    The point I am trying to make is Reese is trying to somehow pass judgment on Rose that he needs another scorer to win a MVP.
    I agree that our SG position needs to be upgraded. But that doesn't have to be an all-star for Rose to be an MVP

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    No I'm not passing judgment, it's a known fact that this Bulls team is not a complete team and they still have to improve the roster. That's my opinion and that's why the Bulls are pick to finish 4th or 5th in the east.

  • There has been a lot of all star point guards in this league not to win a championship, hopefully Rose will not fall into that category.

  • No disrespect but you have your opinion and I will have mine. Rose has a long way to go and a lot more improving to do before being considered a MVP candidate. The Bulls would also have to almost get to the finals in order for that to happen anyway. We all want Rose to improve and possibly be an MVP player but as of right now... there are too many other players in this league that are way more talented than Rose but hopefully one day he will get there OK...

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