Our experts (Arnold Chun, Tom Craft, Killian Pender, and Nolan Imamura) try to predict the upcoming 2019 NBA Awards:
- Coach of the Year
- Rookie of the Year
- Most Improved Player
- 6th Man of the Year
- All-NBA First Team
Arnold: Lebron James
Let’s be honest, Lebron has been the MVP of the league for the past 10 years. The MOST VALUABLE PLAYER should go to the player who is MOST VALUABLE to their team, but the NBA and writers crave storylines (Westbrook triple double season,
Harden Strip Club problems, etc…). A rejuvenated Lebron with a young Lakers team is going to be fantastic. Los Angeles. Lakers. Lights. Lavar Ball. Lonzo Ball. Lamelo Ball. Liangelo Ball. Magic brought Lebron to LA and now it’s time for Lebron to run the Lakers like Showtime Magic.
Hollywood Bron MVP. Too good, too juicy, too sexy. Lebron wants it this year. Lebron MVP.
Tom: Anthony Davis
Lebron looks trendy and cool in Los Angeles, but he will be too busy promoting The Shop and building his media empire in LA to compete this year. If the Lakers are top 5 in the West, Lebron wins this award. There is no doubt- ESPN is already salivating with this prospect of LAbron and his MVP propaganda has already begun. Harden might win another MVP because there is no offensive scheme in professional sports that has earned more MVPs and gotten more players paid than Mike D’Antoni’s. Fear the Brow, Anthony Davis will finally win it. He is going to put up monstrous numbers on an improved roster short on offensive options. A hungry Anthony Davis with an improved 3 point shot, the brow will clinch the award late in this season.
Killian: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Yes, I had to google in order to spell his name. Nevertheless, I do believe this is the year of the Greek Freak (even though he is really from Nigeria and should be the NIGERIAN NIGHTMARE, but I will table that). With just a quick look at Basketball Reference, I noticed that Giannis’ career arch is very similar to Tracy McGrady’s. His most productive season of his career was in year 6 (2002-03), when he averaged 32.1 ppg, 48% from the field, 6.5 rpg, and 1.7 stl. I could see Giannis doing that easily, and with a much improved coach (check my COY pick), I would imagine a much more unlocked version of Giannis. Coming off a season in which he is in nearly every metric, you should expect the growth and consistency to continue.
I wanted to pick Lebron so bad for this award because of his new surroundings with the Lakers. Bringing the Lakers back from the dead will give him a lot of momentum with the award, but the dude hasn’t won in 6 years, and he’s clearly been the best player in the league during that time. Fuck it, I tried to write about why Giannis would win MVP, but Lebron’s a Laker. We’re the fuckin Lakers; he’s going to win. All that “are we going to make the playoffs” talk is absolute bologna. We have Lebron, and we’re going to contend for home court in the West.
New Prediction: LAbron; plus, how can people submit a vote for Giannis if they can’t even spell his last name.
Coach of the Year
Arnold: Brad Stevens
Uhhh what am I missing here? Why has Brad Stevens not been awarded Coach of the Year yet? I get it, it’s always the coach that exceeds preseason expectations, but Brad Stevens is the best coach in the NBA right now. I said it. ATO MASTERO. Look at Stevens record since becoming the Celtics coach:
- 53 -29
- 55 – 27
Does he have to win 60 games to get COY? If Boston wins 60 games and Stevens doesn’t win COY, I will literally shit my pants like Paul Pierce did during his wheelchair game.
Tom: Brett Brown
With 9 coaching changes this off-season, it’s obvious that these guys have short shelf lives. The team likely to exceed expectations/overcome an injury will be the 76ers and Brett Brown. The 76ers stayed relatively quiet this offseason re-signing JJ Redick and trading away Mikal Bridges for a future lottery pick. The x-factor is Markelle Fultz. If Brett Brown can squeeze close to or over 15 ppg out of Fultz, this will open up the entire offense, and the 76ers will have close to 60 victories.
Killian: Mike Budenholzer
We all understand that the easiest way to predict who will be coach of the year is to guess who will have the greatest improvement in win total. In the 2014-15 season, Budenholzer led the Hawks to a 60-win season, and I would contend that the Bucks have a better roster and probably a weaker field in the East. At only 44-38 last season, I could see a world in which they add 10 wins this season. I hope and imagine that Budenholzer will be a little more creative in the playcalling and sets. Losing Parker sucks but Giannis keeps getting better, Bledsoe will get more comfortable with Giannis, and I stan for Thon Maker.
Nolan: Brad Stevens
Four out of the past five seasons, this award has gone to the coach of a team who finished first in their conference (Casey, Kerr, Budenholzer, and Pop). The only exception was D’Antoni whose team finished 2nd in the West. Stevens has generally been considered a top 3 coach in the NBA for the past couple of years. His reputation as a top-end coach, combined with the likely fact that the Celtics are going to run all over the East, makes Stevens the easy choice. There’s just too much talent on that Celtics team for Stevens to not run through the East.
Rookie of the Year
Arnold: Luka Doncic
Nineteen effin years old and he just DOMINATED the EuroLeague. Look what he did in 2018:
- EuroLeague Champion
- EuroLeague MVP
- EuroLeague Final Four MVP
- EuroLeague Rising Star
- All-EuroLeague First Team
- Liga ACB Champion
- Liga ACB MVP
NINETEEN EFFIN YEARS OLD. WHY DID THE HAWKS PASS ON HIM? I know Carlisle hates rookies but Doncic isn’t a normal rookie. Doncic is going to have the ball in his hand and he’s going to make the Hawks regret trading down to draft Trae Young.
Tom: Deandre Ayton
This one is not even close. He is David Robinson with a jumper, he is a bully that will dunk on anybody anywhere but that can beat you with a jump shot. He has enough basketball awareness to pass out of a double team. Deandre has been getting double-teamed since he started playing basketball in high school and it was even happening in summer league. His defense won’t be there initially for a bottom dwelling Suns team, but his offense will. Ayton will average close to 20-10 and help the Suns grab a marquee free agent next year.
Killian Pender: Collin Sexton
I am just going to have to be a homer on this one just to keep a tad of a ray of light in Cleveland and pick Colin Sexton. I believe that some of the other easy choices won’t be able to put up the same numbers or the wins honestly. I believe that the Cavs will make the playoffs, useless 7 or 8 seed, but still it is the playoffs. Sexton should be the primary ballhandler all year and be able to use Love for easy assists. Not sure if I believe this one, but damn I hope so.
Nolan: Luka Doncic
What made last year’s ROY race so good was that Simmons and Mitchell were both on playoff teams. This year’s class has no teams in position to succeed, with a rookie being an integral part. Ayton is good, but he’s going to be overshadowed by Booker all year and the Suns are dog shit. Bagley is going to put up his stats, but again his team is a cellar dweller in the West, which brings me to Luka Doncic and his hot mom. The dudes been playing as a professional for years now and his transition will likely be a lot easier than the other rookies. I trust Carlisle understands what he has with Doncic and is going to let him and DSJ run the team. All that opportunity is going to lead to stats on a team that can at least compete on a night-to-night basis.
Most Improved Player:
Arnold: Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram will be an All-Star. Maybe not this year but next year 100%. I’m taking this one to grave with me. This is the year BI goes off as Lebron’s sidekick. I swear it is, I promise you it is. People forget that BI is a year younger than Jaylen Brown and 15 months younger than Ben Simmons. Second best player behind Bron for the Lakers, I believe in Brandon Ingram. 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists this year.
Tom: Jabari Parker
Jabari Parker is coming home and will get things right. While he somehow got paid 20 million dollars a year to go to Chicago, expectations are relatively low. Parker will bounce back from an up and down career in Milwaukee and put it all together on a team where he could turn into the go-to option. Lauri Markannen will create space, and Wendell Carters feel on offense will allow Parker the freedom to maneuver and possibly double his 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists of last year.
Killian: Lance Stephenson
Lance. Yes, that Lance Born Ready Lance. I believe that Lance is going to love LA, and I believe that LeBron is going to be pivotal in his development, even at age 28. I know it’s an odd pick, but hell how can you truly predict this. No one knew what Oladipo would do last year with just a better situation and hitting the gym a little more. Maybe it was Oladipo getting in the way of Lance. Additionally, since I am now forced to watch the Lakers regularly, I want to be entertained. Also, this is Bron’s rest season, so he will.
Nolan: Markelle Fultz
June 2017: 1st overall pick.
October 2017: forgot how to shoot a basketball.
Present: knows how to shoot a basketball and claims he’s back to the player he was that made him the #1 pick.
Sixth Man of the Year:
Arnold: Julius Randle
I am dying on Julius Randle Hill. The Lakers not re-signing him killed me (thank you Aaron Mintz). I don’t have anything else to say honestly, except f*** you Aaron Mintz.
Tom: Julius Randle
With Manu Ginobili retiring and Jamal Crawford unsigned, the 6th man OGs have taken their lumps this off-season. Lou Williams and Eric Gordon will hang around, but Julius Randle has the juice. He will punish second teams and build on his 16ppg-8rpg from last year, dominating slower big men and posting up smaller defenders while throwing lobs to Davis.
Killian: Lou Williams
Because I do not have a better answer.
The dudes love him on the court, and the ladies love him off the court. A lady admirer of Kuz once said, “He’s my favorite player because, first and foremost, he has a great smile.” Lou Williams won last year in a landslide not because he averaged 22 ppg, but because the ladies love Lou; the dude has two wives. I see all this talk about how Kuz’s game is totally different and he’s going to shock people, but all I know is that the dude has probably been killing it at the clubs. Kuz’s confidence is going to be at an all-time high after hanging with LA chicks all summer. In all seriousness, he’s going to be playing crunch-time on the Lakers, averaging around 15ppg and 6rbs. I think that’s enough for Most Improved.
ALL NBA 1st Team:
- G: Kyrie Irving
- G: James Harden
- F: Kevin Durant
- F: Lebron James
- C: Joel Embiid
Yes, I left Steph (doesn’t play enough games) and AD off my first team. I know it should be AD, but I can’t stop thinking about this game from JoJo last year.
PS: Don’t forget about Kawhi – cause we all did.
- G: Kyrie Irving- The Celtics are loaded and if healthy, he will have the best season of his career.
- G: James Harden- Iso Harden will punish opponents while James gets his.
- F: Kevin Durant- Efficiency will be at an all time high. Unstoppable on offense.
- F: Lebron James- 11 years in a row, make it 12. If for no other reason, he will be on a nationally televised game every night.
- C: Anthony Davis– MVP season will average close to 30 pts and increase Pels win total.
- G: Harden
- G: Russ
- F: Giannis
- F: Durant
- C: Embiid
- G: Kyrie Irving
- G: Steph Curry
- F: Kevin Durant
- F: Lebron James
- C: Anthony Davis