Sport NBA awards predictions for 2017-18: MVP race becomes cloudy with stars joining forces

20:36  12 october  2017
20:36  12 october  2017 Source:   Sporting News

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The MVP race is clouded by the fact that two of last year’s top candidates, James Harden and Russell Westbrook Gobert has developed into an elite force on the defensive end, as a long shot-blocker and frequent interrupter of pick-and-rolls. Top 15 NBA centers for 2017 - 18 : Big men aren't extinct just yet.

The MVP race is clouded by the fact that two of last year’s top candidates, James Harden and Russell Westbrook Gobert has developed into an elite force on the defensive end, as a long shot-blocker and frequent interrupter of pick-and-rolls. Top 15 NBA centers for 2017 - 18 : Big men aren't extinct just yet.

Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.© (Getty Images) Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. There is usually some conventional wisdom that can be applied to the projection of NBA awards ahead of each season, but this year, things are especially tough.

The MVP race is clouded by the fact that two of last year’s top candidates, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, have seen elite talent added to their teams. The rookie class should be a good one, but not all the top players will get the opportunity to produce, and they could be overshadowed anyway by a second-year rookie.

But still, the logic has been applied and the picks have been made. Here’s how things could shape up.

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MVP: LeBron James, Cavaliers

Russell Westbrook now has Carmelo Anthony and Paul George on his roster. The crowd in Golden State is back as usual. James Harden now has Chris Paul. With all this teaming up, it’s going to be difficult for the usual suspects to seize control of the MVP race, which probably means we’ll have four top candidates duking it out: James in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving in Boston (though Gordon Hayward might steal some of his juice), John Wall in Washington and Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio.

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I’m betting on James because Isaiah Thomas will be out for the first three months of the season, and James will need to carry a sizable load. Also, he’s probably a bit tired of being overlooked in the MVP race.

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The former Duke star also displayed an improved physique -- with notable gains in both strength and muscle. We expect this trend to subside a bit heading into the 2017 - 18 year. If he wanted to win the MVP award on an annual basis, he most certainly could.

The 2016-17 NBA MVP race was one of the most exciting in recent memory, and possibly ever. Almost all of the major challengers for the award last year (Rus So, how can we use the history of the MVP race to predict the 2017 - 18 season?

Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons, Sixers

There’s a lot of hype for young guys around the league to validate, and it won’t be easy. Simmons is the most logical choice, given his variety of skills and the year he’s spent kicking around the league while rehabbing.

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His teammate, Markelle Fultz, was the No. 1 pick this year, and has had a slow start to the preseason. Lonzo Ball certainly will be a candidate with the Lakers, and there are some other longshots who might have a legitimate shot: Josh Jackson in Phoenix, De’Aaron Fox in Sacramento, Dennis Smith in Dallas, Donovan Mitchell in Utah, John Collins in Atlanta.

But Simmons comes in with an advantage, and he’s likely to put up the numbers to validate the excitement around him.

Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau, Timberwolves

Most likely, there will be a surprise team in the East that wins more than expected, and that coach (Brett Brown? Jason Kidd?) might very well win the award. It could also be a guy like Brad Stevens, if he gets the Celtics to 55 or more wins.

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Although these last four weeks i’ve only followed college basketball , the NBA regular season is nearing a close and awards are soon to come out. For MVP , Derek Rose is the obvious selection. Rose has finally become that star player everyone envisioned he would dating back to his days at Simeon high

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But this year, Thibodeau should get the turnaround many were expecting in Minnesota last year, and while that probably won’t be enough to crack the West’s brutally tough top four, 48-50 wins and a No. 5 seed should be enough for Thibodeau to win.


Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

All right, that’s enough of Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard. Gobert has developed into an elite force on the defensive end, as a long shot-blocker and frequent interrupter of pick-and-rolls. He has been one of the best defenders in the league for the last three years but has been unable to break through and win the award because of the versatility and perimeter excellence of Leonard and Green.

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This season, the Jazz will need his defense more than ever, and he will be rewarded.

Sixth Man of the Year: Rudy Gay, Spurs

Gay has taken an awful lot of guff over the years, going back to the mega-contract he signed in 2010 and the rise of pitchfork-wielding analytics adherents who seemed to single him out as the worst thing that ever happened to the NBA.

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NBA Awards Predictions . By Ryan Havlik October 2, 2017 October 1, 2017 . The races for the awards are all so close. The MVP race is competitive as always. One of these is a young player that becomes a star . For example Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Kevin Love.

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Yeah, he was overpaid and, yeah, he was not an efficient scorer. But he has adjusted his game as he has gone on and is still a reliable scorer. It’ll be interesting to see him in his final act as a sixth man on a team like the Spurs. I expect he will thrive.

Most Improved Player: Clint Capela, Rockets

This will probably come down to free throws. If Capela can continue to improve from the stripe, as he has done each year of his career, and as he did as the season progressed last year, he’ll be able to stay on the floor longer.

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If the Rockets bounce up in the standings and Capela is putting in big minutes, he should benefit tremendously from the pick-and-roll playmaking of Chris Paul and James Harden. Capela was one of the best PNR finishers in the league last season, and the Paul-Harden combo could benefit him the most. He just has to stay on the floor.

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