Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2010 NBA Preview: Awards

It may be August and the off-season still isn't over. And we're all ready to dust off the tailgating paraphenalia and call our TV providers to get the football ticket packages in a couple weeks, but it's not too early for my pre-season NBA awards predictions.

Rookie Of The Year - John Wall PG - Wizards

       This could be considered "trendy" but lets face it folks, Wall is in the best situation and the future of DC's professional basketball program lies in his hands. Even if Gilbert Arenas doesn't get traded (which it's highly unlikely that he doesn't) Wall will still sail away with this award. Give Washington five years and we may just see them in the playoffs with an MVP at point guard leading the way. Don't be surprised people. Especially with a high percentage of the talent of the eastern conference being in south beach, there's much more room for teams like Washington to be successful and perhaps be a sleeper in the playoffs. Runner Up: Demarcus Cousins C - Kings.

Most valuable Player - Kevin Durant SF - Thunder

We can all agree that Kevin is the best up and coming player of the NBA. He is the face of the next generation of NBA superstars. OKC gave the champs their toughest western conference battle in the first round of the playoffs. The team can only get better with that experience. Russell Westbrook is a huge stud and I think he belongs in the discussion for one of the top 5 point guards in the NBA. The two are very Jordan-Pippen esque. However, I think Russell Westbrook is a better sidekick. It is the Durantula's show in OKC. Last year was is breakout season. Time for him to be crowned the 2010-11 NBA MVP as he competes for a northwest division championship and a top 3 seed in the playoffs. Runner Up: Kobe Bryant SG - Lakers.

Most Improved Player - Blake Griffin PF/C - Clippers

Lets face it, of course Blake is going to improve as he was sidelined his entire rookie season due to an injury in the pre-season. Heck, it's hard to find Blake on the court in a Clippers jersey on a google search. However, I still think he belongs in the running for MIP. Sure Kaman will probably serve as the main target in the post but it's time for Griffin to do what he was drafted to and I think that he and Kaman could switch roles in the front court come May. The highly touted number one overall pick in the 2009 draft dominated at the University of Oklahoma. Some say he could be the next Greg Oden. Leave school early and be injury prone each year after. But the Clips do show some promise. Although it's tough living in the Lakers shadow, I think they're solid. Baron Davis, and Eric Gordon provide a great 1, 2 punch in the back court (If Baron can cool down a bit). New draft pick Aminu could be the man at the 3 and insert Blake and Kaman in there and that sounds like a much improved Clippers team to me. For my bold prediction of this year I'll say that the Clippers contend for the 8th seed in the west. Look for Blake Griffin's numbers to be high up on their teams stat sheet. Runner Up: Al Jefferson PF/C - Jazz

Dwight HowardDefensive Player of the Year - Dwight Howard C - Magic

    No surprise here. And it shouldn't be either. No one has really challenged Superman in winning this award the last two years. No disrespect to Josh Smith, but Dwight has this one in the bag. Also no disrespect to Shaq but Howard really does remind me of a deisel. He is the Shaq of this upcoming generation. His dominance in the post has been the main force of Orlando's success atop the Eastern Conference standings these past years, including their surprising and impressive victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2009 East Finals. Look for Dwight to hoist that trophy for a third consecutive season. Runner Up: Josh Smith - Hawks.

Sixth Man of the year - Paul Millsap PF - Jazz

Now it is possible for Paul to be in the starting lineup to start the season for Utah with the injury to Mehmet Okur. Upon his arrival from the ruptured achilles, that should put Millsap back to his sixth man role. This one however will be much different from the one he played the last few seasons for Utah. Carlos Boozer was the starting power forward for the Jazz and it felt a little bit like Millsap was living in his shadow. But with Booz bolting for Chicago (which none found surprising) and Utah adding Al Jefferson to fill the void, I think Millsap could see more playing time and more significance to this team. At 6'7 he's a bit undersized. Only don't tell him that. He plays like he belongs to be considered a power forward. And he could be paired up very much next the Jefferson who will slide to the Center position often. It's time for Millsap to put up near 20 & 10's as the number one guy off the bench for Jerry Sloan. Okur, Big Al and Millsap will be the perfect frontline that all star point guard Deron Williams needs. You could also add Andrei Kirilenko in there too as he plays both the 3 and the 4. Look for Utah to be very dangerous if they stay healthy. By dangerous I mean a 2 or 3 seed come playoff time. Runner Up: Mike Miller - SG Heat

Coach of the Year - Scott Skiles - Bucks

Scott came close in the running last season and deservedly so. With John Salmons for a complete season and the addition of Corey Maggette, the Bucks are now a trendy sleeper in the East. They could very well challenge the Bulls for Central Division title. That means a potential top 3 or 4 seed. Bogut's broken leg was such a killer for the team. Not to mention is was terrifying to watch. Michael Redd's future is uncertain but regardless of the outcome that brings, look for Scotty to take this award away in what will be a close run with Tom Thibodeau and of course Jerry Sloan who's in the running every year but falls short. Runner Up: Tom Thibodeau - Bulls.

There is the award class of 2010-11. If I had to create my own I'd put the Phoenix Suns as the winners of the most disappointing season award. They may have added Hedo, but they replaced Amare with Hakim Warrik. Talk about pulling the short straw. From conference finals to no playoff appearance. Watch it all happen everybody. I'm out. 

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