NBA season awards predictions

NBA season awards predictions
April 20
16:19 2022

Predicting who will win the season awards for the NBA can be tough because you never know who the voters will favor. This year will probably be a guessing game due to some of the stellar play by some of the contenders in certain categories.

As I usually do this time of year, I wanted to give my predictions on the NBA award winners. I think I have a pretty good pulse on where most voters are leaning because we all know the most deserving person does not always win.

Here are my choices for the NBA awards.

Most Valuable Player: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Last season, Nikola Jokic was the betting favorite to win the MVP award. This year is a little different even though Jokic is having an even better year than he did last season. There are several more candidates that have a case to be named MVP this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jokic, Devin Booker and Joel Embiid all have had stellar seasons that are worthy of MVP consideration.

I went back and forth for a while to decide who I thought should win. Jokic is missing several teammates like Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray due to injury, yet he is still averaging 27 points, 13.8 rebounds and 8 assists. I was also leaning toward Booker because the Suns have the best record in the league, and he averaged 26.8 ppg., 5 rebs. and 5 asts. per game. He also kept the Suns as the No. 1 seed while star point guard Chris Paul was injured. Giannis had another great season, but I felt he was in the best situation to succeed this season out of all the candidates.

When it came down to it, I chose Embiid because he was able to lead Philly to the No. 4 seed in the playoffs while going through the Ben Simmons drama earlier this season and keeping his team afloat while James Harden was going through his slump. Embiid led the league in scoring at 30.6 pts.. and he also averaged 11.7 rebs and 4.2 asts.  Embiid had a strong case to win it last season, but this year I feel he has done enough to separate himself from the pack.

Defensive Player of the Year: Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

Over the last 25 years, this award has usually gone to a forward or center, even though the league is more guard-oriented than ever. The choice of Smart as the Defensive Player of the Year was a much easier choice than my selection for MVP. Smart has been one of the best perimeter defensive players in the league for several seasons and I feel this year he deserves his credit. Other players like Bam Adebayo, Rudy Gobert and Mikal Bridges are also great defensive players in their own right; however, Smart gives Boston that defensive stopper and can guard multiple positions night in and night out on a high level.  

Smart was a big reason for the Celtics ascension to the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. If Smart wins, he would be the first guard to win the award since Gary Payton in 1996, meaning it is long overdue to have a guard take home this honor.

Rookie of the Year: Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers

For much of the season Mobley was my favorite to win Rookie of the Year. He consistently played well and was one of the big reasons the Cavs overachieved all season. Cade Cunningham and Scottie Barnes were also rookies who had a shot at the award.  

The final stretch of the season made things kind of murky as far as Mobley being the runaway winner. The Cavs had a late season slump while Barnes and the Raptors made a late season push. For the season, Mobley averaged 15 pts., 8.3 rebs. and 2.5 asts., while Barnes averaged 15.3 pts., 7.5 rebs. and 3.5 asts.  

It would be hard to judge who is the rightful winner based solely on stats, so I chose Mobley based on his consistent play and the way he helped the Cavs into the playoffs when no one thought they would even sniff the playoffs. I wouldn’t be upset if Barnes won the award, I just feel Mobley had the better overall season.

Most Improved Player: Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs

I know much of the mainstream media are leaning toward Ja Morant as the winner of Most Improved Player this year, but for me Morant was already a star last year. Morant has made progress in his game; however, Murray is my choice for Most Improved.  

Murray improved in almost all statistical categories especially in points and assists. The Spurs were not a very good team this year, but Murray was one reason to watch them play. Others like Darius Garland and Jordan Poole were thought about for this award as well. Murray, in my opinion, made the biggest leap in his game above all others in consideration.

I know the award is probably going to go to Morant because of his popularity, but if not for injuries that cost him quite a few games, Morant would probably be in talks for MVP.

Sixth Man of the Year: Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

I think Herro has had this award wrapped up for quite some time now. He has put up numbers as if he were a starter (20.7 ppg, 5 rebs., 4 asts.).  I didn’t have to debate much about this award as the only players even worthy of talking about were Kevin Love and Kelly Oubre.

Love and Oubre had good seasons that should be congratulated. Herro was just head and shoulders above everyone else.  

Coach of the Year: Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns

Yes, the Suns made it to the NBA finals last year and were expected to do well this season. They not only met those expectations, they exceeded them. The Suns improved their win total by 13 games this year and finished with the best record in the NBA.

They were able to accomplish this while Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton missed extended periods this season. Taylor Jenkins, Erik Spoelstra, Jason Kidd and Ime Udoka should all garner some votes with how well their teams performed this season. They all are behind Williams in my opinion.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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