NBA Award Predictions


Carter Segal

The NBA season is just beginning and fans across the world are already making hot takes and bold predictions. Yet although there is not too much debate about which team will win it all (Golden State Warriors), no one can truly predict which players will have breakout years, and which players will decline.

Over the past two years, the NBA landscape has shifted dramatically, a shift that will be illuminated by the awards at the end of the season. And although a mere week of basketball has been played, it is always fun to use the small sample sizes to make predictions.

The Sixth Man of the Year Award is given to the best players who played at least half of their games coming off the bench. The winners are usually starting caliber, but are placed on for tactical purposes. Past notable winners of the award have included Jamal Crawford, Eric Gordon, and Lou Williams. An unspoken rule, winners are often players who specialize in scoring.

J.J Reddick was crucial to the Philadelphia 76er’s success last year. Reddick put up the second most points on his team, and was an absolute terror in the Playoffs. When Philadelphia played Boston last year, my heart skipped a beat every time Reddick had the ball. This season, Reddick has been coming off the bench in order to build the confidence of young prospect Markelle Fultz, but J.J. hasn’t slowed down. In just four showings, he has put up 20 points per game, while being a reliable scoring option at the end of close games. Reddick’s scoring and mindset put him in prime position for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Another key award is the Rookie of the Year. This award goes to the best first-year player in the league. The award usually signifies a great career to look forward to, as seven out of the last ten winners have been named All Stars. Recent winners include Ben Simmons, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Andrew Wiggins.

While I think that this year will be an extremely close race, I would ultimately choose Luka Doncic. Doncic already has a treasured professional basketball career in Europe, and it looks like it will translate to the NBA. This year, Doncic has been great for the Mavericks. He can pass, score, and is very composed for a rookie. He has established himself as their primary scoring option, and looks to be one for many years.

If it is not Doncic, however, Trae Young appears to be next in line. Young is a great prospect who has drawn many comparisons to Stephen Curry because of his phenomenal shooting ability. Young is the best player on the struggling Atlanta Hawks, so he will have more opportunities than his other draftmates. I would only bet against him because of his consistency problems. It is hard to vote for someone who is a complete wildcard. Some nights he will have 40 points, while others he could only have eight.

The MVP is the most treasured individual award in any sport. It does not focus on any other aspect than all-around greatness, which is why every player aspires to win it. All Star appearances may make you a great of your decade, but MVPs put you in the conversation for greatest to ever play.

This year, the frontrunner appears obvious to me. Anthony Davis has spent his entire career dominating the hardwood, but it has never translated into winning games. Last year, however, the Pelicans began to establish themselves as a competitive team. I expect this competitiveness to carry over to this year, led by none other than Anthony Davis’s dominance.

Davis is the definition of a complete player. He is absolutely unguardable from everywhere on the court. He can shoot three pointers, score in the post, and create opportunities for his teammates. On defense he gives it his all every possession, which sets the tone for the team. He is great at grabbing rebounds, protecting the rim, and guarding quicker players on the perimeter. The award is his to lose.

The season has just begun. We will see if these predictions hold true when the awards are handed out in June.