Rookie of the Year: Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker is a player who, playing for the Charlotte Bobcats, should have more opportunities to play his game than any other rookie in the league. Who is going to take shots away from him? D.J Augustin? Corey Magette? Even though I don’t think that Kemba will end up being a star in the NBA, he will have chances, and that is usually what wins this award.
Coach of the Year: Frank Vogel
As Bulls fans saw in the playoffs last season, the Indiana Pacers look recharged and ready to compete with the top teams in the league. With the additions of David West and George Hill, this team should be a team that finishes top five in the Eastern Conference. While there are many factors to this, Frank Vogel deserves a lot of credit for getting his team to perform.
Sixth Man of the Year: Udonis Haslem
The Miami Heat bench is one of the worst in the NBA since so much money is tied up in the Big 3. The best player to come off the bench, and likely the fourth best player on the Miami Heat, is loyal Floridian Udonis Haslem. Haslem provides a much different look than Chris Bosh, as he is a player who is more than willing to fight for rebounds and play gritty defense. The contrast in styles will allow the Miami Heat to come at teams with different looks.
Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard
Honestly, who else could win this award? Dwight Howard is the most dominant defensive player we have seen in quite some time. Despite playing next to very poor defensive players, he transformed the Magic into an above average team defensively. As well, Howard is always among the league leaders in blocks and rebounds. The only thing keeping Howard from bringing the award back to Orlando is Howard switching teams.
Most Improved Player: James Harden
James Harden is ready to come out and prove that he is more than a trivia question about best beards in the NBA. Harden is one of the great young guards in the NBA. He has the ability to attack the basket, and shoot from a variety of places. With Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant taking the brunt of the defensive pressure, Harden should shine. Look for him to jump from 12 points per game to around 18.
Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant
Last year, we saw that the MVP was Durant’s award to lose, and this year will be much of the same. He comes at you in so many different ways offensively, and he is one of the greatest guys in the NBA. With the expected improvement of James Harden and the ascent of the Thunder to the top of the league, expect Durant to win it this year.
Check out my comprehensive predictions HERE, including three Chicago Bulls