After the first week of the NBA season, I have developed some bold predictions about the season. Here we go!
Rookie Of The Year:
Report: Iman Shumpert made a speedy recovery and is expected to make his return tonight at MSG. Could be a tight race between these two guys.
I had Iman Shumpert as the surprise rookie of the year this season, based on his sheer confidence in the games he played. He is extremely athletic and plays very good defense, unfortunately he sprained his MCL on Christmas Day and will miss 2-4 weeks. In this compressed season 2-4 weeks could be everything. He will miss potentially 8-16 games in a 66 game season. Therefore, I think that will effect his case for rookie of the year. So, I will go with Kemba Walker. I was shocked to see him go so late in the draft. He may be a bit short, but he can do everything at the point guard position. In my opinion, he showed the most leadership for a college level player. He also proved he can be the go-to-guy in late game situations. Like this play right here….
The candidate is Kevin Durant. The young scoring champion playing on the best team in the West. He has waisted no time this year putting up unbelievable numbers and carrying his team. Take a look….
Coach Of The Year:
I will go with Mike Brown. He has the hardest job for a coach out of everyone in the league. Since he’s replacing arguably the best coach in the world, the amount of pressure riding on his shoulders is not measurable in comparison to any other coach. The expectations are high. I mean very high. However, I think he’ll be able to do it. He’s transformed the way the Lakers play basketball and his emphasis on defense is visible in the games. They’ve held the Nuggets to 89. (their first game below 100 points), they’ve held the Knicks to 82 points (without Bynum), and they’ve held the Jazz to 71 points. Not only has he rubbed off his defensive strategies but he’s turned Metta World Peace from a declining veteran last year to one of this years best 6th men by giving him the freedom and confidence to play his game. The way he is coaching the Lakers will pay off, he’s stressing an outside in game, which could let Bynum develop as a player and give Kobe the rest he needs. I think he’ll rise to the challenge.
Most Improved Player:
I think I’ll have to have two picks for the Most Improved Player. First, I’ll go with Ryan Anderson on the Magic. He’s helped Dwight Howard a lot during this season carry the load. His numbers have improved from last year to this. 10 points to 19, and 5 rebounds to 6. He’s also shooting 91% from the stripe and 44% from long range. That’s a big improvement and could persuade Dwight to stay if keeps consistent. His play is important for his own game, but especially important considering he plays for the Magic who have been waiting for one of the role players to step up and help Dwight carry the load.
If not him, then Kyle Lowry from Houston. His scoring hasn’t improved much, but who needs scoring when you’re playing alongside Kevin Martin and Luis Scola. He is transforming into a point guard that every team would want. He’s still putting up solid scoring numbers with 13 a game, but he’s improved his assists per game from around 7 last year to lead the league with around 12 this year. He is distributing and is one of those players who can see the floor from every angle. He’s also improved his defense on a team that otherwise doesn’t emphasize defense too much. He’s grabbing around 2 and a half steals per game. Tied for first place in that category as well. Then there is his rebounding. He leads the league in rebounding for guards with about 6 per game. This is a 6’0 ft guy grabbing 6 rebounds per game. That’s almost unheard of.
Defensive Player of the Year:
This one’s kind of obvious. Dwight Howard’s going to win this one again. Without any dominant centers in the league Dwight kind of has this one in the bag for years to come. He protects the paint like it’s his house. He’s got about 3 blocks per game as well as around 2 steals per game.
For me, this one is easy. The Miami Heat will win the NBA championship. I’ll tell you why. Last year the Heat didn’t have a bench since Udonis Haslem was gone, and they didn’t have any rookies to step up. This year, Udonis Haslem is healthier then ever, they added a gritty defender and a knockdown shooter in Shane Battier and they got lucky with Norris Cole a rookie point guard flaring with confidence. They lack a true center but when you have one of the best defenses in the league a center becomes less and less essential. Last year they also struggled with continuity and gelling on the court. After a year of playing together, they know their roles. Especially the Big three who understand how to play alongside one another. This season should be easy for them. 5-1 in the first 6 games is a sneak peak of their future domination. And finally they have determined who their go to guy is. They made the right choice when they decided Dwyane Wade would take the last shot. Take a look….