Who will win the Rookie of the Year? How about the Defensive Player of the Year? Or the Coach of the Year? And most importantly the Most Valuable Player of the Year?
As the league is evolving more into a guards game, the 2011 NBA draft is filled with good guards with great potential. Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, and Brandon Knight all had great college careers. But the overseas talent who everyone has there eye on Ricky Rubio will have more to prove than anybody.
The discussion of Coach of the Year has lost an important candidate, Phil Jackson. It feels like every year the Zen Master is a top three candidate, lets just hope he comes out of retirement one day. Coach Tibz and Greg Popovich were the top candidates last year, but with new players and different coaches being added to different teams, the race for Coach of the Year may look a bit different.
Can Dwight Howard tie Ben Wallace's record for most Defensive Player of the Year awards? If he does, it'll be his fourth time in a row winning that award. Nobody dominates defense at the Center position like Dwight Howard but other great defenders may have the opportunity to win this year. Maybe Tyson Chandler? Being the primary leader of defense of the Knicks can get him the award. Possibly Lebron James? After all, nobody gets tired of watching his chase down blocks running full speed the entire length of the court.
Last year Kevin Love won the Most Improved Player in a fashionable way. Don't expect him to win again because if he does, you'll be looking at a superstar times 2. This award is hard to predict because anybody can have a breakout season. Two guys I like for this award is the Compton Guys, Brandon Jennings and Demar Derozan. Both have extremely high potential on teams that could be on the rise in the future.
Jamal Crawford made a living as a 6th man but joining the Blazers he might not get a chance to fulfill that role. Lamar Odom joining a great Dallas team playing behind Dirk and Marion might get a chance to win the award, or would a player like Harden finally get a chance with the young run and gun team like the Thunders?
Last year Derrick Rose took the NBA by storm with his statement before the season "Why can't I be the MVP" and then actually going out and winning it. Rose didn't win the MVP by a landslide, a lot of great players deserved it just as much. Kevin Durant leading his young Thunder team to another 50 plus win season or Dirk carrying the old Mavericks team on his back. Why not Kobe? Lebron? All these players had great records but Rose ended up taking it. Kevin Durant is still thirsty to win his, and Kobe playing under Mike Brown's system may give him another chance to win another MVP award.
So who will win it? Predictions:
Rookie of the Year: Kemba Walker. Can score at will and will be a leader coming in for the Bobcats. If you love stats, Kemba is your guy. Bobcats fans will be pleased at Kemba's ability to fill it up. He probably wont make them a winning team, but he is a good start.
Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra. Can he win it with 3 superstars? Hey, Phil Jackson did. Then again Spoelstra is no Jackson, but if he figures out a way to control the talent on his team, he can the top candidate for the award.
Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard. I cant imagine another player winning it, Dwight dominates the defense with his big body and athletic abilities. But don't sleep on Lebron for this award, he has been a great defender his entire career and might get the chance of winning this award.
Most Improved Player: Demar Derozan. Young talent leading the charge with the Toronto Raptors. If he improves his shot just a bit, he will be a scary player to defend with the ability to drive and shoot.
Sixth Man: James Harden. He is has deserved his award for years but may finally get his chance because his Thunders are under the microscope now being one of the top teams in the league. He can score at will and plays good defense, just what any team needs to win.
Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant. A player who deserved it last year also, lead the league in scoring two years in a row. He has the hunger to win and he plays with great poise. Kevin Durant may finally get his hands on the MVP.
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Tags: Ben Wallace, Brandon Jennings, Brandon Knight, Demar Derozan, Derrick Rose, Dirk Nowitzki, Greg Popovich, Jamal Crawford, Jimmer Fredette, Kemba Walker, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Lamar Odom, Lebron James, Phil Jackson, Ricky Rubio, Shaun Marion, Tom Thibodeau, Tyson Chandler