MVP: Kyrie Irving
The haters will say "he's not even the best player on his team." Honestly, that means next to nothing to me, in fact that actually helps my argument, but I'll get to that later. Kyrie takes his game to the next level this year after showing he's a premiere point guard in this league with his performance in the NBA finals. Kyrie is coming into the best year's of his life athletically so a breakout season is inevitable, ultimately I think this year will be that season. Steph Curry is the perfect example, he gradually continued to improve his game, and then BANG he's the next great thing in this league winning MVP's routinely. In a league ruled by guards it's safe to say that a point guard will be winning this award, the question should really be who's going to be the best point guard in the league. Why do I think that will be Kyrie, because he has Lebron James, who like I said before is the best teammate a player could have in this league. Lebron will be trying to build up Kyrie Irving all season long, feeding him more than ever, so by the time the NBA Finals roll around, Kyrie will know he's the best point guard going into the series against the Warriors. I think Kyrie is going to get his scoring average up to 25PPG and his assist total to 8APG, will that be enough in a league full of filthy star point guards to take that elusive award, I believe so because his team will also be winning a majority of their games. I know I'm going with a big underdog here, but I like to be ahead of the trend, and Kyrie is the next emerging star in this league.
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard
I mean, is this really even up for debate. Kawhi Leonard is the only player that can make Lebron James actually need to try his hardest at all times, that's all you really need to know about his defensive ability. He's long, quick, strong, basically any positive trait he fills it on the defensive side of the ball. He's won the award the last two seasons without anyone giving him much of a run for his award, Draymond Green gave him a little scare, but that guy is a ticking time bomb so I don't expect him to threaten Leonard's chances at the 3 peat. The silent assassin will continue to lock down whoever Coach Popovich tells him to for as long as his body allows him, we may be looking at the greatest all around defender this league has ever seen.
Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons
I went with the obvious choice here, although I have been hearing Kris Dunn's name a lot in this conversation, Ben Simmons is in the best situation for him to come in right away and have the biggest impact. That's the exact reason why I think this award means nothing, this award doesn't show who the best rookie in the class is, it shows which rookie had the most opportunities coming straight into the league. The rookie of the year never comes from a very good team, usually one of the worst teams because the team's best player is that rookie so there doing everything for their team. Look at Michael Carter-Williams, same situation as Simmons, comes in and is given the keys to the car, puts up the fancy numbers, wins the ROY award, and now look at him, he's nothing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Simmons is going to be trash in the future, but I certainly don't think he has the biggest upside in this draft class. Kris Dunn won't be able to put up the numbers necessary to win this award since he has two young superstars on the team already, and Brandon Ingram won't get enough minutes or touches to compete either. Is there a dark horse that could pop up outta nowhere and win the award, of course, is it likely to happen, absolutely not. That's why I'm declaring Ben Simmons Rookie of the Year despite him starting the season injured.
Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Clarkson
Some will call it biased, some will call it stupid, but I will call it ingenious. Clarkson may not even end up coming off the bench all season, but I'm believing in the plan that Luke Walton has to bring him off the bench with Lou Williams starting instead. I believe every team needs that guy that can bring a spark off the bench and can keep the scoring going while the rest of the starters are catching their breathe. Clarkson will be able to flourish in this role because he'll get a lot of minutes without D'Angelo Russell on the floor which will give him more power to control the ball. Clarkson does his best work when he's the one putting the ball on the floor and driving to the hoop, I believe this role will allow him to do that. This is a bold bold take by me to take a guy that may not even be a sixth man for his team for longer than a week, but this is highly controversial sports so I'm going to take a stab in the dark, and try to pull off a legendary prediction.
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens
I was honestly going to say Luke Walton but I didn't want to sound too biased so I went with a more obvious choice, Brad Stevens. This guy made Butler a winning program so getting the Boston Celtics aka the NBA's second greatest franchise a boat load of wins shouldn't be much of a challenge. The Celtics have a ton of talent, a ton depth, and a ton of expectations. If Stevens can get this team to play to their fullest potential I don't see why he doesn't deserve to win this award more than anybody. My Luke Walton theory was going to be if Walton can get the Lakers to double their win total from last year he deserves to win the award that he should've won last year, I'm not even going to go down that road though.
Most Improved Player: Dwight Howard
I believe Dwight Howard knows this is his last chance at redemption, he may never win a championship or becomes the player we once thought he was, but maybe just maybe he can end his career finally not being a cancer to the organization he is apart of. The Atlanta Hawks are Howard's hometown team so he has ties in Atlanta, he doesn't want his hometown thinking badly of him or he'll really have no city that shows him love. Dwight knows this is his last chance to be a team player that goes inside gets boards and lets the game come to him. I know there's a lot of Dwight haters out their but those are the same people that loved Dwight when he was Superman winning dunk contests. Howard will finally get out his own way and his play will reflect that, he'll earn the most improved player the thing with him is it's not his talent that's improving because he's always had that, it's his mental state that's improving. Don't let me down Dwight, I'm the only Laker fan in the world that still believes in you.