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2020-21 NBA Awards Predictions




2020-21 NBA Awards Predictions

With the 2020-21 NBA season one week away, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my NBA awards predictions for the upcoming season. Due to Covid-19, the season has been shortened to 72 games instead of the normal 82 game schedule. But, that is still a great sample size to determine the winners of the major awards.

Without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2020-21 NBA Awards.


MVP – Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)

Curry has already won this award twice (14-15,15-16) and I think he has a great shot of adding a third to his mantle. This award has mostly been known as a statistics award, but it also reflects team success. The Warriors are projected by some to not even make the playoffs this year.

With Klay Thompson, out for the season, Curry is going to be asked to carry the Warriors offensively this year. He has the capability of averaging 30+ points per game. That, along with a top-six seed in the Western Conference, should make Curry one of the favorites for the award.

His elite 3-point shooting is what separates him from other players, but his impact on the court is unlike anyone else in the NBA. Steph has rated in the top two of Real Plus-Minus (RPM) every full season he has played since 2013-14. RPM estimates each player’s on-court impact on team performance. That is a perfect stat to show how valuable a player is to his team.

Runner-up: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks


Defensive Player of the Year – Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)

Simmons finished 4th in the defensive player of the year voting last year and should be amongst the favorites to win the award this year. Simmons led the NBA in steals per game last season, averaging 2.1. Also, Simmons made first-team all defense last year.

But, what makes Simmons special as a defender is his versatility. Simmons has the ability to guard positions 1-5, but he spent most of his time last season guarding opposing teams’ top scorers. By breaking the percent of time Simmons spent guarding certain positions, he guarded – point guards (22 percent), shooting guards (25.2 percent), small forwards (25.4 percent)

As you can see, for a 6’10 player to be able to guard smaller, quicker players is very unique. If Simmons can stay healthy this year I expect to see him as a finalist for defensive player of the year.

Runner-up: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers


Rookie of the Year – LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)

Ball was selected with the third overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft. He comes into the NBA as a very hyped prospect due to his unique skillset. He spent all of last season playing overseas for the Illawarra Hawks in the NBL, Australia. Ball averaged 17 points, 6.8 assists, 7.6 rebounds per game, most known for his flashy-pass ability making him must-see on TV.

Charlotte is a small-market team but a lot of people will be tuned in this season to see what highlight plays Ball can make in his first NBA season.

Runner-up: James Wiseman, Golden State Warriors


Most Improved Player – Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)

We were only able to see Zion play 15 games last season, but in those games, we saw flashes of greatness. Zion averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists per game last season. I expect all of those numbers to increase this season.

The main reason for the numbers increase is due to Zion’s minute’s increase. Last year, he played only 27.8 minutes per game. This year I expect him to be up near 34 minutes per game, which will only improve his numbers.

He has the capability of averaging anywhere from 25-28 points per game along with around 10 rebounds. If he can lead the Pelicans back to the playoffs and put up big numbers I find it hard to believe anyone else will win this award.

Runner-up: Tyler Herro, Miami Heat


Sixth Man of the Year – Tyler Herro (Miami Heat)

Herro burst onto the scene in last year’s NBA playoffs, averaging 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game. Those numbers all increased from his regular-season stats. Due to that, I expect another step forward this season. Herro is a great shooter, and he is going to have to provide a large scoring boost off the bench this year for the Heat.

I think Herro will have such a large impact off the bench, that the only way he will not win this award is if he is converted to a starter. Obviously, Herro will be a starter at some point in his career, but since he is only entering his second season the Heat may choose to have him come off the bench full-time.

Runner-up: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers



Coach of the Year – Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns)

Phoenix just missed the playoffs last year after an impressive 8-0 run in the NBA bubble. Now with the addition of future Hall of Fame point guard, Chris Paul, I expect the Suns to be one of the surprise teams in the league. The Suns went from 19 wins in 18-19 to 34 wins in 19-20.  That 15 win jump was partly due to the arrival of Williams.

Williams has shown the ability to develop young players such as Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton. Those two along with Paul will look to take another step forward in the hope of taking the Suns back to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2010.

Runner-up: Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets


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