Most Valuable Player– LeBron James- Miami Heat
It hurts to say this, but this is LeBron’s award to lose. Unless James goes down with an injury, I don’t see anyone taking this award from him. Rajon Rondo and Kevin Durant will give James a run for his money.
Defensive Player of the Year– Dwight Howard- Los Angeles Lakers
Another guy I can’t stand, but respect. Howard has won the year before, and with the amount of times opposing point guards will blow by Steve Nash, Howard will have plenty of opportunities to block shots
Coach of the Year- Rick Adelman– Minnesota Timberwolves
Even with their star Kevin Love out for six weeks, the Timberwolves have a great chance to sneak into the playoffs. They were sniffing the playoffs last year before Ricky Rubio was lost for the season.
First Coach at the Unemployment Line– Alvin Gentry- Phoenix Suns
I think the Suns are going to be one of the worst teams in the league. A slow start in Phoenix, could mean a pink slip for Gentry.
Sixth Man of the Year– Jeff Green- Boston Celtics
You could argue that the Celts’ sixth man will be Jason Terry, but expect both players to get big minutes off the bench. Green should play starter-type minutes, around 25-30 per game. I may be drinking a lot of Jeff Green “kool-aid” but you have to be excited about Green’s performance in the preseason.
Most Improved Player of Year– Brandon Roy- Minnesota Timberwolves
This is another award Green will be in close considerations for at the end of the year. Roy though, was left for dead after numerous knee issues in Portland. He prematurely retired from basketball, at the beginning of the last season, and nobody expected to see him again. Roy will be a calming, veteran presence for a young, exciting Minnesota squad.
Executive of the Year– Danny Ainge- Boston Celtics
I recently picked the Celtics to win a tad under 50 games this season. If the C’s can win closer to 60, you have to give the Executive of the Year award to Ainge. Ainge took a team that was supposed to be deceased, and made them younger, and more athletic.
NBA Rookie of the Year– Harrison Barnes- Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are another team, like Minnesota, who could sneak into the final playoff spot in the West. Golden State can certainly score, so the shots will be there for Barnes.
Side Note: I realize Anthony Davis will probably win this award.
Most Disappointing Rookie– Jeremy Lamb- Oklahoma City
Lamb will have a lot of pressure on him to produce, after he was involved in the James Harden trade. Lamb went from getting big minutes in Houston, to having a tough time cracking 15 minutes in Oklahoma City.
Most Disappointing Team– New York Knicks
Sports Illustrated picked the Knicks to finish above the Celtics. Why? I have no idea. An old group of Celts struggled the last few seasons to maintain any energy during the regular season and they were YOUNGER than this current group of Knicks.
Most Surprising Team– Detroit Pistons
The Pistons may not make the playoffs but it won’t be because a lack of toughness. Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Jason Maxiell give the Pistons big bodies in a soft Eastern Conference.
Brandon Knight should improve from a decent rookie season. Detroit won 25 games during the strike-shortened season a year ago, except them to add 10 more wins to that total this year. Injuries for the Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia Sixers should help the Pistons sneak into the playoffs.
Eastern Conference Finals– Miami over Boston
I hope I’m wrong. Let’s go Celtics!
Western Conference Finals– Los Angeles Lakers over Memphis
The finals every C’s fan dreads.
NBA Finals– Heat over Lakers