Miami Heat beat the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. Look at this more as a pick against Mike Brown and for LeBron James.
LeBron James. This guy will be in the mix and that guy will be, too. But neither guy will have a case over LeBron. Michael Jordan should have won twice as many MVPs than he did, and the same thing may apply to LeBron after he’s done.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Dwight Howard will only need to play 70 percent of the season to win this award for the fourth time.
The Lakers’ backcourt will help him out. Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant won’t do a very good job of holding the frontline this year. They might as well play matador defense. Let their opponents by and watch Howard eat them alive at the rim.
Andre Iguodala is on track to go down as the best defender to never receive serious consideration for the award. He spent all of last year erasing all-stars like Joe Johnson from the floor.
In 2012, Iguodala’s defensive matchups had the league’s worst average player efficiency rating. The PER metric rates a player’s per-minute statistical production. Despite this, Iguodala didn’t land on either of the all-defensive teams. Kobe Bryant did, though. There’s no hope.
Sixth Man of the Year:
Ray Allen, Miami Heat. The best three-point shooter in NBA history is going to have the most open looks of his career. The logic seems sound.
James Harden and Manu Ginobli shouldn’t even be candidates. If a guy is one of the NBA’s top 30 players, he can’t also be the NBA’s best sixth man.
Rookie of the Year:
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets. I won’t try and get cute by predicting Brad Beal or Damian Lillard to swoop in and steal it from Davis. But as you can see, I will mention both of their names just in case one of them does.
Coach of the Year:
I have little confidence in my pick. You could throw every coaches name in a hat, except for Mark Jackson’s, and there will be a solid argument for whoever’s name is drawn. Or you could just give it to Gregg Popovich.
I’m predicting Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat to win. It’s about time he gets recognition for all the awesome schemes he runs.
Oklahoma City Thunder. They could win every home game this year and I wouldn’t blink. Youth is a big factor. The Lakers and Heat both have some old heads in their core rotations. On the flip side, the Thunder’s oldest contributor is the 31-year-old Nick Collision. They’re also really good at basketball.
The Philadelphia 76ers were one win away from making the conference finals in 2012, but that is misleading. They were more like Steak-umms than actual steak. Adding Andrew Bynum and a heap of shooters will keep them out of the poser category this year.
The change in winning percentage and overall finish from last year may not be huge. However, the change in their level of play will be.
Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz. Hayward was a difficult study coming out of college. I was one of the people who disregarded him. I couldn’t decide where he would fit in. Turns out he fits in everywhere. Whatever the Jazz need him to do, he does. He’s a multi-tool player whose quirkiness makes him a fun watch.
Most Terrible, Unentertaining and Horrendous Team:
Orlando Magic. They were the inspiration for this category. Just take a look at their roster. Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, and Glen Davis — try not to throw up.
Look at that, the Magic took home another preseason award: Most Likely to Draft Nerlens Noel and Lose Him to the Lakers in Six Years. Their run as the Lakers’ farm system for All-Star big men won’t end with Howard.
Orlando fans, rejoice!