Here are my predictions for the 2015-16 NBA Season Award Winners.
MVP: Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
Simply put, Davis is a beast. Can play both ends of the floor and is certainly the face of the New Orleans Pelicans franchise. Last season he averaged 24.4 points per game, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks. His averages have increased every year he’s been in the league and that trend should continue. Alvin Gentry is entering his first season as head coach of the Pelicans and this is good news for AD. Gentry is a great offensive minded coach. Did well during his tenure in Phoenix and drew up many of the offensive plays for Golden State’s shooters last season for Steve Kerr. Gentry should be able to center his offense around Davis giving him most of the touches. Expecting a big season from AD and could possibly see the Pelicans in the playoffs..key word possibly. Let’s not forget its the Western Conference. Side note: If you’re in a fantasy basketball league I’d pick Davis first overall. The guy is a stats monster. Also, he’s only 22 years old. Will be a league wide threat for years to come.
Rookie of the Year: Mario Hezonja (Orlando Magic)
When it comes to Rookie of the Year, everyone is talking about Karl Anthony-Towns and Jahlil Okafor, but I’m going to go with the 5th overall pick from this years draft, Mario Hezonja. Saw some good things from him in Summer League and I’m personally just a fan. When I saw his name on draft reports I looked up his highlight tapes up on Youtube. His athleticism is unreal and he can flat out ball. Now yes, he looked very impressive in EuroLeague and people will argue the NBA is the more competitive of the two, but he proved to be able to play in the clutch in Summer League. The Magic have a nice young core and could potentially win 40 games this season, something that hasn’t happened since 2010-11.
6th Man of the Year: Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics)
Arguably could have beat out Lou Williams for the award last season, and Thomas would easily agree with that. Thomas could very well compete for the starting point guard spot but Brad Stevens is content with him being the spark of the bench for the Celtics. Thomas led the league in bench scoring last season with 16.3 points per game. Had he been in Boston for the whole season, the Celtics could have probably passed the Milwaukee Bucks and got the 6th seed in the playoffs.. end result still would’ve been the same though. Definitely expecting another big year from Thomas and an improved Celtics team. Thomas would be a good utility player in fantasy.
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
Draymond Green was a pivotal player for the Golden State Warriors and their 67 wins, NBA Championship season. Green was right up there with Kawhi Leonard for the award last year, receiving the most first place votes, but Leonard got the most total votes for the award. Green was highly considered one of the best defenders in the league due to his ability to guard all five positions. Last season, Golden State had the highest rated defense in the league and if Green keeps up the defensive intensity the Warriors are on the right track to defend their title. I think last year’s snub is going to motivate Green and he’s going to come out and have a truly spectacular season. Most definitely Green will be a first or second round fantasy pick.
Most Improved Player: Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
This was a hard decision to make, I honestly think the NBA should have an All-NBA Improved Team, like they do with other categories. I decided to go with Jazz center Rudy Gobert. At 7’1, Gobert played well enough last season that he gained the Jazz’s trust and they traded away center Enes Kanter. Gobert is actually one of the better rim protectors in the league. The Jazz very well might be the most improved team this season with Gobert, Gordon Hayward, and Derrick Favors all starting to show some potential. Coach Quin Snyder has to be happy with the direction this young team is taking. Gobert would be a solid fantasy pick as well.
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics)
As a die hard Celtics and Brad Stevens fan this was the obvious choice for me. I think Stevens should have gotten some consideration last season for the award. He literally led an island of misfit toys to the playoffs. Obviously they didn’t advance going up against Lebron and the Cavs, but they made the playoffs for the first time since Doc Rivers quit on them. During the off-season the Celtics added veterans Amir Johnson and David Lee, making their front court depth even stronger. The 4’s and 5’s on this roster are so interchangeable and versatile that Stevens could play with so many different lineups. I have faith in my man Brad Stevens and think we will see the Celtics back in the playoffs with either the seventh or eighth seed.