The NBA season is right around the corner. With that in mind, it is time to unveil my questionably bad predictions for the 2019-2020 season. Many of these predictions will be wrong, but if they are wrong, you can feel free to laugh in my face or send me mean tweets on Twitter. Thank you.
MVP: Joel Embiid
If the Sixers can be the top seed in the East, I anticipate that Joel Embiid will be the MVP of the NBA. Embiid offers both offensive and defensive upside as he could push 30 points per game and be one of the best defensive players in the league. Accompanied by a cast of strong players in Philadelphia, Embiid’s profile would be boosted if these Sixers were able to be the top seed. I expect Embiid to lead them to such a degree that he is worthy of winning the Most Valuable Player.
Rookie of the Year: Zion Williamson
Williamson is a virtual shoo-in for Rookie of the Year. Historically speaking, Rookie of the Year has been generally dominated by high-volume forwards and centers. While there have been a handful of outliers in history, many Rookies of the Year have been immediate impact players at small forward and other taller positions. While Williamson might not be as good as Kevin Durant or LeBron James out of the gate, he should certainly have enough shot attempts to put up 20 points per game and enough highlight plays to warrant attention. While players such as Ja Morant could be better in the future, I anticipate that Williamson plays at a high level as a rookie and wins Rookie of the Year.
Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams
Williams might not be as good as he has been in the past due to the presence of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the roster, but I anticipate that Lou Williams will be the best sixth man in the NBA yet again. Williams is a dynamic scorer who can convert on all three levels. He is as explosive as any scorer in the NBA, and he should have his fair share of 20- to 25-point games especially if Leonard and George take games off to rest up for the playoffs. Williams is a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate, and he should be able to win it again being on a higher profile team in the Clippers with two superstars.
Coach of the Year: Quin Synder
Due to my belief of the Jazz will be the best team in the West, I think the engine of the Jazz will be Quin Snyder at head coach. While the Jazz are not as talented as some other teams in the West, Snyder can extract all of their talent out and produce great defensive play along with competent offensive play. If players such as the Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert can take another step into being superstars, Snyder should be an easy selection for Coach of the Year if the Jazz can win 60 games or more.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert
Congruent with my selection of Quin Snyder as Coach of the Year, I think the Jazz will be in such a position that they could run away with quite a few awards on awards night. Gobert has two Defensive Players of the Year on his mantle, and he should be able to get a third if he can be healthy for the majority of the season. If Gobert can play in 70 or more games, he should be a lock for Defensive Player of the Year. If he does not reach the 70 game threshold, the Jazz would likely not be as good as I predict them to be, and Gobert will likely fall short of winning a third consecutive Defensive Player of the Year.
Most Improved Player: Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell has been very good since coming out of college. In two years, Mitchell was second in Rookie of the Year voting and had a very productive 2019 campaign. In 2020, I expect Mitchell to take the jump from borderline All-Star to superstar player and potentially first-team All-NBA contributor. Mitchell is a great player on both sides of the ball, and with a scoring option in point guard Mike Conley, the offense should be opened up even more for Mitchell to score in upwards of 25 or 28 points per game. As I anticipate the Jazz being the best in the West, I think Mitchell will be critical in winning upwards of 60 games, and he should be rewarded with the Most Improved Player as the Jazz can win 60 or more games.