With the final regular season games being played tonight and the playoffs just around the corner. Here are my predictions on who will win this year’s regular season awards, and I will also give you my updated NBA finals preview and champion.
Sixth man of the year- Last Year: JR Smith. The player I believe who wins the sixth man of the year award this year is Taj Gibson from the Chicago Bulls. With former MVP Derrick Rose out for the season for the second straight season when he tore his meniscus, and the trade of all-star small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers made many believe that the Bulls were playing for next year. Behind the spectacular play from Joakim Noah, and sixth man Taj Gibson the Bulls are the 4th seed in the Eastern conference. Gibson has achieved career highs in points(13.1), minutes(28.6), free throw percentage(75%), assists(1.1) & blocks(1.4) this season. The emergence of Gibson has given the Bulls the boost they need this season to make the playoffs and even lead them to a 1st round victory.
Most improved player of the year- Last Year: Paul George. The player I believe who wins the most improved player of the year is Lance Stephenson from the Indiana Pacers. Stephenson went from 29.2 minutes per game to starting in every game he played in and averaged 35.3 minutes per game(2nd most on the team). Stephenson has five triple-doubles this season which is the most in the entire NBA. Stephenson also had career highs in every major statistic across the board. For someone who was once famous for being a bench warmer & giving LeBron James the choke sign; Stephenson has come into his own as a player and is a very productive starting shooting guard in the NBA. While Paul George is their best player the Pacers success in the playoffs will be determined on how well Stephenson plays from series to series.
Coach of the year- Last Year: George Karl. The coach I believe who wins the coach of the year is Jeff Hornacek. A first year head coach of the Phoenix Suns was one of the biggest suprises all season. Following a season where the team only won 25 games last year Hornacek was able to coach this team to 47 wins & just barely miss the playoffs in a tough Western conference. Coaching a team that is building towards the future by having multiple first round picks in the upcoming 2014 NBA draft. With a starting backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic the duo was one of the best in the NBA. Along with a team filled with other teams leftovers like Gerald Green, PJ Tucker, Channing Frye, & the Morris twins. The Suns were able to get the most out of all of their players and even more. With most if not all of the players having career seasons the job Hornacek did was outstanding. While they are just barely missing the playoffs Hornacek’s coaching overachieved the expectations the Suns’ organization had coming into this season.
Defensive player of the year- Last Year: Marc Gasol. I believe the player who wins the defensive player of the year is Joakim Noah. The leader of the Bulls this season due to the season ending injury to Derrick Rose; Noah showed he is the best overall center in the NBA. Noah has been able to put the Bulls team on his back and lead them to having home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Noah has career highs in total rebounds, defensive rebounds, & steals. The way coach Tom Thibodeau had the Bulls defense on their way to make the playoffs is all thanks to Noah. Without Noah’s defense and energy the Bulls would be in the lottery.
Rookie of the year- Last Year: Damian Lillard. I believe the player who wins the rookie of the year is Michael Carter-Williams. In another on stellar draft class this past season. Any rookie had a chance to win this award this season. But the way MCW played on a horrible team stands out. In his NBA debut MCW recorded a near triple-double(22 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds & even 9 steals). The horrible season by the Philadelphia 76ers could have derailed his rookie of the year chances, but he was the standout for the team. With the team building around MCW and rookie Nerlens Noel(who did not play a game all season) the 76ers look to be building a solid team in the eastern conference. MCW had the most consistent season out of all rookies and even led all the rookies in points, minutes, rebounds, assists, & even double doubles.
Most valuable player- Last Year: LeBron James. I believe the player who wins most valuable player is Kevin Durant. This year is finally the year Durant doesn’t finish second in something. Durant wins his first MVP award due to his dominance all season long. With co-superstar Russell Westbrook missing a majority of the season due to knee injuries Durant showed he is one of the best two players in the entire NBA. Scoring 25 points or more for 41 straight games, Leading the league in points at 31.9 shows that he is the dominant scorer in the NBA. Durant was able to lead his team to the second seed in the western conference and will try to win his first NBA championship this season.
NBA Finals prediction- With mostly all the seeds set for the playoffs here are the two teams I believe we will see in the NBA finals. In the western conference we will see the Los Angeles Clippers; In the eastern conference we will see the Brooklyn Nets. Yes I know this is an unusual finals, but I like picking different finals. The storyline will be great between Doc Rivers coaching the Clippers and he is going up against his former players in Kevin Garnett & Paul Pierce. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin finally make the finals for the first time in their career they look to bring a title back to Los Angeles, but this time for the Clippers. Doc Rivers looks to cement his legacy as one of the best coaches in NBA history with another ring as well. Jason Kidd looks to win his first NBA ring in his NBA career as Pierce and Garnett look to add one more to their legacy. I believe we see the Clippers win the 2014 NBA finals in 6 games & Chris Paul wins the NBA finals MVP.
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