Writer: Jared White
Most Valuable Player: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
In year fifteen of LeBron James’ amazing career he is leading his team in every way imaginable as he always does. He is averaging a career high in assists (8.8 per game) while still managing to grab eight rebounds a game and sit in the top three in PPG (27.1). But LeBron has showed his longevity once again as he has not missed a single game this season while other major candidates, like James Harden, have missed significant time. So far this season it looks like LeBron will capture his fifth MVP trophy and match Michael Jordan and Bill Russell for second most regular season MVP awards (Only Kareem has more with 6).
Most Improved Player: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
After being traded with Domantas Sabonis from OKC to a now virtually wing talentless Indiana Pacers Victor Oladipo was given an opportunity to become the face of the team and he did not hesitate. He is putting up career numbers across the board and has helped the Indiana Pacers become a suprise playoff team. He is now in conversation for one of the best shooting guards in the NBA and is virtually a lock for the All-Star game.
Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons has proven to be one of the best all-around players in the entire NBA. He is a great inside scorer, passer, rebounder, defender, and young leader. If Simmons can get a good jump shot he may even be fighting for an MVP award in 3-4 years. Honorable mentions to Donovan Mitchell who has played great recently and is almost averaging 20 PPG.
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
This award has no clear front runner as Kawhi Leonard, a usual fan favorite, has missed the majority of the season and players like Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are all having great defensive seasons. But I have Draymond as the favorite now because out of these four players he has the most defensive win shares and highest defensive box plus/minus. Plus Draymond Green has been most known for his defense over the last several years. Hopefully we have a clear cut favorite jump out during the second half of the season.
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics
Although Gregg Popovich and Mike D’Antoni have had great coaching season Brad Stevens gets the nod for a few reasons. First the Celtics have missed Gordon Hayward, who was going to be their second best player, for the entire season. Secondly they have virtually an entire new team and while it takes most teams over a full season to build chemistry it seems it only took this young group a few weeks. And Finally the Celtics have the second best record in the NBA only behind the defending champion Warriors. Stevens and his Celtics will more than likely not make the NBA Finals, but they have surely been the best team in the east this regular season.
Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
Lou Williams is having an unbelievably great scoring season for a bench player. He is averaging 23.1 PPG which is more than Lamarcus Aldridge, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, CJ McCollum, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, John Wall and any teammate of his on the Los Angeles Clippers. He is also scoring very efficiently as he is recording a career high in FG% (44.8) 3P% (41.4) and FT% (90.8). And finally he is also passing the ball better than ever with a career high 4.9 APG and is doing all of this in just over 30 minutes per game. But he will need to keep up his great effort off of the bench as there is other great candidates for this award including Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Will Barton, and Dwyane Wade.