27 October 2020

LEAGUE ALERTS

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My Take On The Award Races So Far.

We are almost 2 months into the new NBA season and it has been eventful to say the least, from injuries to the Knicks firing their head coach to the Warriors’ struggles. Plus the reigning champions, the Toronto Raptors are still doing relatively well.

In this article I am going to talk about my favourite picks for each regular season award.

I’m going to start with the MVP award and I have 4 picks for this award. First up I have Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers. SO far this season the Lakers are 23-3 and they are currently 1st in the Western Conference. James is averaging 25.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 10.8 APG, 1.3 SPG AND 0.5 BPG. He is shooting 49.9% from the field and 36.3% from 3-point range. If he wins the MVP award this season he would become the oldest player to do so at 34 years old.

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Next up is Luka Dončić who plays for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are currently 17-7 and are the 3rd seed in the West. This season Luka has been averaging 30.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 9.2 APG, 1.2 SPG AND 0.1 BPG. He has so far shot 48.2% from the field and 32.8% from beyond the arc. If Luka wins the MVP award this season he would be the youngest player in NBA history to do so at 20 years old, taking that achievement from Derrick Rose who won it at 22 years old.

Next I have reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks have a record of 23-3 so far this season and are first in the Eastern Conference. Antetounmpo has been averaging 30.5 Points Per Game, 12.9 Rebounds Per Game, 5.7 Assists Per Game, 1.3 Steals Per Game and 1.2 Blocks Per Game whilst shooting 55.4% from the field and 32.7% from beyond the arc.

My final pick for the MVP award this season is James Harden of the Houston Rockets. The Rockets currently sit at the 4th seed in the Western Conference with a record of 21-10. Harden is averaging 38.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 7.5 APG, 1.9 SPG and 0.5 BPG. This is while shooting 45.2% from the field and 37.2% from 3-point range.

I feel like at the moment any of these 4 could win the MVP award but there could be a dark horse as this season has not been short of surprises.

The next award I have is the Most Improved Player award (MIP). Again I have 4 picks for this award and the first is Devonte’ Graham, Point Guard for the Charlotte Hornets. Last season he averaged 4.7 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.5 SPG and 0 BPG across just 46 games. Across 33 games this season he has averaged 19.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 7.5 APG, 0.8 SPG and 0.3 BPG. This is an improvement in all 5 main stats per game, including a +14.6 increase in Points Per Game, a +2.3 increase in Rebounds Per Game and a +4.9 increase in Assists Per Game.

My next pick for the MIP award is Andrew Wiggins, Small Forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves. In the 2018-19 season he averaged 18.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.0 SPG and 0.7 BPG across 73 games. So far this season he has ben averaging 24.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.3 AG, 0.7 SPG and 1.1 BPG across 26 games. This is an improvement in 4 of the 5 main stat per game areas, this is including a +6.7 increase in Points Per Game, a +0.6 increase in Rebounds Per Game and a +0.8 increase in Assists Per Game.

My next pick is Brandon Ingram who seems to be having the best season of his career so far wit the New Orleans Pelicans after being traded by the Lakers in the offseason. He played 52 games in his 3rd season with the Lakers and averaged 18.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.5 SPG and 0.6 BPG. In 28 games with the Pelicans h has averaged 25.3 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.9 SPG and 0.8 BPG. Again an improvement in all 5 major statistic areas including a +7 increase in Points Per Game, a +2 increase in Rebounds Per Game and a +0.8 increase in Assists Per Game.

My 4th and final pick for the MIP award is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who was traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George in the offseason. He played all 82 games in his rookie season with the Clippers and averaged 10.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.2 SPG and 0.5 BPG. He has played 31 games for the Thunder this season and is currently averaging 19.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.1 SPG and 0.4 BPG. This is only an improvement in Points Per Game and Rebounds Per Game but throughout the season this could all change.

My favourite to win this award is Devonte’ Graham but as I said previously anything can change throughout the course of an NBA season, plus there is a possibility for a dark horse for this award who hasn’t emerged yet.

The next award I’m going to write about is the Defensive Player of the Year Award (DPOY) and my first pick is back to back DPOY winner Rudy Gobert, Center for the Utah Jazz. Gobert has won the award for the last 2 seasons and averaged 2.3 Blocks Per Game and 0.8 Steals Per Game both seasons. So far this season he has averaged 1.9 BPG, 0.7 SPG and 10.5 Defensive Rebounds Per Game. If he wins the award this season he will be the 2nd player in NBA history to win the award in 3 consecutive season after Dwight Howard won it in the 2008-9, 2009-10 and the 2010-11 seasons.

My next pick for the DPOY award is Anthony Davis, Power Forward and Center for the Los Angeles Lakers. He has been averaged 2.6 BPG so far this season across 30 games. He has also averaged 6.9 DRPG and 1.4 SPG. Davis is a 3 time block champion and is currently 2nd in blocks this season with 77 behind Hassan Whiteside of the Portland Trail Blazers who has 82 blocks. Winning this award would be another accolade for AD’s career and something that could potentially boost his chances of making the Hall Of Fame.

Next up I have 2 time winner of this award Kawhi Leonard who signed with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency. With his new team this season he is averaging 6.5 DRBPG, 1.8 SPG and 0.5 BPG. We all know that Kawhi has the capabilities to win this award but the question is can he play at the required defensive level for an entire season to potentially win this award.

The next award is Rookie Of The Year (ROY). Number 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft Zion Williamson is yet to play a regular season NBA game with the New Orleans Pelicans as he tore his meniscus in his right knee in the preseason. He was expected to miss 6-8 weeks whilst recovering but his return date has been set back as the Pelicans have had to teach him “how to walk and run differently.” -Andrew Lopez, ESPN. Both the rookie and the Pelicans Organisation are hopeful he can make his regular season debut sometime in January. There was a lot of hype around Zion during his season at Duke and he could play very well in the NBA, he could play well enough to come in around halfway through the season and win ROY.

My other pick for the ROY award is Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies. He has played 28 games for the Grizzlies and over those games he has averaged 17.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.0 SPG and 0.3 BPG. He is currently at the top of the NBA ROY ladder and has been for 3 straight weeks now. There is a lot of belief in Morant and his talent for him to be a future star of the league. Winning ROY would be a great start to his career.

The penultimate regular season award I’m going to write about is the 6th Man Of The Year Award, this award is given to the bench player who averages around the same as the starters of a team. I have 2 picks for this award, one being reigning 6MOY winner Lou Williams. This is his 3rd season with the LA Clippers and in his other 2 seasons with the team he has won the award. Through 32 games this season he has averaged 19.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 0.7 SPG and 0.2 BPG. Some of his stats from last season have increased, some have deceased but Lou Will has won this award 3 times so we know he can do it.

My other pick for this award is Dennis Schröder of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is currently averaging 18.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.7 SPG and 0.3 BPG whilst shooting 46.7% from the field and 34.3% from 3-point range. Schröder is doing a great job at leading the Thunder’s bench. The Thunder are currently 18-15 and sit at the 7th seed in a tough Western Conference.

The final regular season award is Coach Of The Year. I have 3 picks for this award and the first is Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel. The Lakers have 2 stars in Lebron James and Anthony Davis and they have the 2nd best record in the NBA and one reason for that is Vogel’s coaching. After missing the playoffs last year due to injuries the Lakers organisation fired head coach Luke Walton and subsequently bought in Vogel. So far he has done a great job getting them the 2nd best record so far this season.

My 2nd pick for this award is Clippers coach Doc Rivers. With the Clippers adding Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to the roster fans knew the Clippers were going to be a threat this season but they wold not have been able to do it without the coaching of Rivers. The Clippers currently have a record of 24-11 and are sitting at the 3rd seed in the Western Conference.

My final pick for this award is the Milwaukee Bucks’ Coach Mike Budenholzer. The Bucks recently had an 18 game win streak and granted Giannis performed at an elite level some credit has to go to the coaching staff especially head coach Mike Budenholzer.

I think either one of these three coaches could win this award. I personally don’t see another coach who could win looking at records and current seedings.

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