After the Richmond Tigers’ second premiership in three years, coach Damien Hardwick said he had used US sports teams the San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Red Wings as examples to live by.
Predicting the NBA awards during the offseason is always tough to get right, but everyone loves whacking together a few bold predictions to see how wrong they are this time next year.
Having said that, let’s get stuck in and have a crack at these predictions.
MVP – Stephen Curry
I’m of the opinion that the Warriors will end up a top-four seed in the Western Conference, despite the losses they have endured. Kevin Durant is obviously the big loss, along with a few other significant role players plus Klay Thompson, but Steph Curry is Steph Curry.
The Warriors have acquired some good pieces, including All-Star D’Angelo Russell, Willie Caulie-Stein and Omari Spellman. Curry with the ball in his hands for most of the regular season is something everyone wants to see, and with low expectations for the first time since his first MVP I reckon he can bag his third next season.
Rookie of the Year – Zion Williamson
Not much of a brave pick here but it looks a safe one. He looked untouchable during the only nine minutes of Summer League he competed in and we all know how much of a dominating force he was throughout his season at Duke.
Zion and the Pelicans have a sneaky chance of sneaking into the playoffs despite playing in the west and I reckon that would just be another tick to hand him the award.
Defensive Player of the Year – Draymond Green
Rudy Gobert could very well claim his third straight DPOY award but that would be no fun. If my prediction is to hold and the Warriors are a top-four seed, Draymond’s defence will be at an all-time high.
The former Michigan State Spartan was in white-hot form during the playoffs and was arguably the best performing player on Golden State. If he can maintain his conditioning he struck into after the All-Star break, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Draymond earn his second DPOY award.
Sixth Man of the Year – Spencer Dinwiddie
With Paul George and Kawhi Leonard headed to the Clippers, Lou Williams is bound to get the rock a lot less.
Dinwiddie is arguably the second-best player on the Nets (not including Kevin Durant) and should improve off another summer under his belt. With a likely Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert backcourt, you would expect for Kenny Atkinson to again bring Dinwiddie off the bench, and I expect him to torch opposing teams second unit.
Coach of the Year – Steve Kerr
Not surprising that I am continuing with my Warriors theme. Kerr is one of the most underrated coaches in the league – and his greatness was truly shown after all the setbacks during last seasons playoffs.
If the Warriors crack 50 wins and land a top-four seed, Kerr gets the nod.