Hey readers, sorry for the delay as I took a little break from posting because I was in Cape Cod!
I will be doing some early predictions for the upcoming year. Awards will include: MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, and lastly, Finals MVP.
MVP: LeBron James
Of course, coming off one of his best seasons, the early forecast for MVP is going to be LeBron James. Right now, he is the most dominant force in the NBA, averaging well over 26 ppg, 7 rpg and 7 apg. And that stat right there is the difference maker. Most MVP-scale players (KD, CP3, Dwight) following LeBron have 2 of the 3 major stats, either ppg and rpg or ppg and apg, but not many have all 3. What makes LeBron different from the rest, is that he can play every position at a high level. He already does control the ball 60%-70% of the time for the Heat down the stretch at the ridiculous height of 6'8", which makes him deadly as he can look over the whole defense to provide other players with pinpoint accurate passes. Also, because of his height, when he gets double teamed (which is almost every possession), he mostly can split the double team with ease or get the ball to the open man which terrorizes defenses. Furthermore, he can guard centers well enough if something bad happens in the Miami rotation one game. His height and versatility is another stat that differentiates him from the rest of the MVP candidates.
One thing that I dislike about the voting for MVP, is that they use the team record of the MVP candidate when making the decision. I understand this for teams that don't make the playoffs, but I was watching a video on the MVP for next season on ESPN.com, (which is where I got the idea to do this), and they said if the Heat drop to the second or third seed in the East due to the injury of Dwayne Wade, then it will make voting for LeBron harder. First of all, if the Heat make the second or third seed in the East without Dwayne Wade there on a nightly basis, LeBron deserves the award EVEN MORE because he would have to provide greater stats every night to aid the loss of Wade. Also, people have to understand this is the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER-- It's not all about how the team does in the season, rather how the player contributes to the team. The MVP award is a more personal stat in any case, and the only team stat that goes into the decision is if the MVP candidates' team makes the playoffs. and advances deep into the playoffs.
DPOY: Dwight Howard
Now that he is contributing to a coach and team that he truly believes in and likes, Dwight Howard is going to make a huge statement this year. If he remains injury free this season, Dwight Howard can be the ultimate big man down low. If he averages over 3 blocks per game and grabs over 12.5 boards per game, he has a great chance to even be a MVP candidate, but for right now, DPOY is definitely in sight for Superman. Also, with the help of block legend Dikembe Mutombo, Dwight can take advantage and learn some defensive tricks from the (hopefully) Hall of Famer.
Rookie of the Year: Michel Carter-Williams
This years rookie class has a lot of mediocre players with a few stars in Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo. But my ROY goes to Michael Carter Williams. Everyone says the two names above will be the top two candidates, but Ben McLemore didn't shoot well at all in Summer League and I don't think he will shoot well in the regular season either as he is extremely streaky; and Victor Oladipo has good, young starters in front of him in Tobias Harris and Arron Afflalo. But Michael Carter-Williams has the starting role in Phili, and he also surprised me in Summer League. He didn't do an outstanding job, but I could tell he was gaining confidence in his outside shooting and his passing. He played extremely hard as well, as he was after the opposing point guard, not scared to go for the ball. I think if he can improve his decision making and shooting a little, MCW has a good shot at ROY.
Most Improved Player: Jeff Green
Unlike last season, there will be no standout MIP like Paul George. But Jeff Green will win this award in my opinion. Next season, he will be the face of the roster after Rondo and he is going to have to play like it in the season. If the Celtics are going to have any chance to make the playoffs next season, Jeff Green is going to have to average at least 19 point per game, which is doable. The only reason he hasn't done this already is because he has been shadowed by the big three. But they are gone now, so Jeff Green can be a three point threat and an inside threat because he is 6'9". The only downside that I saw in Green this past season, is his rebounding. Like I said, he is 6'9" and he only averaged 4 rpg. That is honestly unacceptable. Truthfully, Jeff Green can be easily compared to LeBron: a big mans body that is extremely athletic. But unlike LeBron, Green doesn't use his body to the fullest, and that is his major downside that he will have to improve on this season if he wants the award of MIP.
Finals MVP: LeBron James
This award is easy. I believe the Heat are going to win it again if Greg Oden and Dwayne Wade can remain healthy for the majority of the season and playoffs, and if they do, it's obvious who will win Finals MVP: The King.