My Unusual 2021-22 Award Predictions

Every year, people make predictions for who they think will win various NBA awards, such as the MVP Award, ROTY, DPOY, and many more. Many websites have betting odds for who will win these awards, which lots of times are accurate, but other times, not as much. In this blog post, I will make my predictions for the end of season awards, but with one catch: none of my predictions can be for the players or teams that have the best odds. I have to pick players or teams that aren’t favored, and the betting odds that I will be using are from Vegas Insider. With that, let’s get to it.

 

MVP: Stephen Curry

Credit to Kyle Terada of USA Today Sports for Picture

According to Vegas Insider, Luka Doncic has the best MVP odds for this season, followed by Joel Embiid and Kevin Durant. I can understand why Doncic would be favored, but aside from the fact that I can’t choose him, I wouldn’t have had him as my MVP pick anyway. With a coaching change in Jason Kidd, I think the Mavericks are going to take some time to figure out their identity and how they play, and if they aren’t at the top of the standings, it’ll be difficult for Doncic to claim the award. On the other hand, we saw Curry’s resurgence towards the end of last year, when he won the scoring title and averaged a career high 32 points per game. The Warriors have been off to a hot start, and Curry has been leading the charge. Plus, with reports of how Curry has been training this offseason, I think he’ll be better then ever. The Warriors will get a boost once Klay Thompson returns, and even though he has the fifth best odds, I think Curry will win MVP.

 

Rookie of the Year: Scottie Barnes

Credit to Michael Dwyer of AP Images for Picture

Cade Cunningham has the best odds to win the ROTY Award (+250), followed closely by Jalen Green (+300). While these rookies have a very good chance to become All-Stars down the road, chances are that none of these rookies are going to make a huge impact on their team immediately. It’ll come down to stats, consistency, and how quickly these players adjust to the NBA play style. Barnes, who has the fourth best odds, is averaging 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, while being a nightmare matchup for me in my ESPN fantasy leagues. The Raptors are only 3-3 right now, but no one is expecting them to be contenders in such a stacked Eastern Conference. He has a positive box plus/minus, which is another good stat, and given that Cunningham has only just started his career and Green is on one of the worst teams in the NBA, I think Barnes has a very good chance to win this year.

 

6th Man of the Year: Derrick Rose

Credit to Steven Ryan of Getty Images for Picture

At the top of the odds for 6th Man of the Year are Jordan Clarkson, Kevin Huerter, and Patty Mills. I would have Mills as my 6th Man of the Year because I really like what I’ve seen from him so far, but Kyrie Irving isn’t going to be playing this season (unless he gets the COVID-19 vaccine), and Mills may be a starter for a majority of the season, disqualifying him from this contest. Rose is going to be a 6th man behind Kemba Walker, who he has a history of playing at Madison Square Garden. Rose isn’t the athletic, explosive player he once was, but he’s shown he’s a very valuable addition to have come off the bench. If the Knicks have a good enough record, I see no reason why Rose can’t win the award.

 

Defensive Player of the Year: Joel Embiid

Credit to Tim Nwachukwu of Getty Images for Picture

At the top of the DPOY odds are Rudy Gobert and… Ben Simmons????? These odds were made on October 8th, before the season, but that still sounds very wrong given Simmons’ current situation. However, I do believe that his teammate, Embiid, will win DPOY this year. Without Simmons, the team’s overall defense is going to go down, meaning Embiid will have to step up. Considering that Embiid was an MVP candidate last year (finished second in MVP voting) in large part due to his defense, I think he can win DPOY, assuming that his level of play stays the same or improves.

 

Most Improved Player: Mo Bamba

Credit to Brian Babineau of Getty Images for Picture

The players with the best odds to win MIP this year are Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+700), Zion Williamson (+700), Michael Porter Jr (+750), Kevin Porter Jr, Zach LaVine, Collin Sexton, Christian Wood, Jarrett Jackson Jr, Jaylen Brown, John Collins, Chris Boucher, and De’Aaron Fox. Some of these I don’t understand at all, and some I do, but I think that people are sleeping on Bamba. Many people thought that Bamba was a bust only a few seasons after he came out of the University of Texas, but that is far from the truth. In his first three seasons in the NBA, Bamba started in 6 games, largely due to the fact that he was playing behind All-Star center Nikola Vucevic. Bamba also had to deal with some nagging injuries, so in his first fully healthy season as a starter, I expect Bamba to thrive, and run away with this award. The only thing that will keep him from being a clear favorite in my mind is Orlando’s record, a reason why I think everyone is sleeping on him.

 

Coach of the Year: Wes Unseld Jr

Credit to Jonathon Newton of The Washington Post for Picture

The favorites for the Coach of the Year award are Steve Nash, Erik Spolestra, and Billy Donovan. However, I don’t think any of the coaches with the best odds will win this award. I think it will be Washington Wizards Head Coach Wes Unseld, Jr. Son of Wes Unseld, this is his first year as an NBA Head Coach, and he has already led his Wizards to a 5-1 record, the team’s first since 2006. The team has gelled very well so far, and the only loss the team faced was on the road against Brooklyn, who is a title favorite. The Wizards have been horrible recently under Head Coach Scott Brooks, and if Unseld, Jr, can lead this team to a high playoff seed, he will easily become a Coach of the Year contender.

 

Championship: Golden State Warriors

Credit to Clutch Points for Picture

The Lakers and Nets are tied for the best odds to win the 2022 NBA Championship, but because of injuries, drama, and how old the Lakers are, I don’t think they will win it all. If Thompson comes back healthy and Jordan Poole continues to produce at the level he is, I don’t see any reason why Curry can’t win a championship, the MVP, and a Finals MVP this year. The Warriors also have depth with rookies Jonathon Kuminga and Moses Moody, wing players Andrew Wiggins, Otto Porter Jr, and more. They’re 4-1 to start the season, and if they can build off of that, then expect to see them playing in June.

 

Which of these predictions do you think will come true, and which won’t? Let me know in the comments below, don’t forget to follow the NBA Blog, and as always, have an awesome day!

 

 

 

 

 

Report: Detroit Pistons Trade Derrick Rose for Dennis Smith, Jr, Second Round Pick

The Detroit Pistons have just agreed to trade Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks in exchange for Dennis Smith, Jr and a second round pick. This trade reunites Derrick Rose with his old coach Tom Thibodeau, and can only be considered a win-win trade for both teams. Rose’s first stint with the Knicks came in the 2016-2017 season.

Dennis Smith, Jr was drafted with the 9th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks, from North Carolina State University. In his first season with the Mavericks, Smith, Jr averaged 15.2 points, 5.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and had a seemingly great career and future ahead of him. Unfortunately, something happened in 2018, something great for Mavericks fans but bad for Smith, Jr personally. On draft night of 2018, the Mavericks were able to trade their #5 pick, Trae Young, for the #3 pick, Luka Doncic, who would go on to win the Rookie of the Year Award. While Smith, Jr made the All-Rookie Team his first year, he was no Luka, who would go on to become a member of the All-NBA First Team and an All-Star in his second season. Luka was also a ball-dominant guard/forward, and the backcourt of Doncic and Smith, Jr couldn’t exist. So, Smith, Jr was dealt to the New York Knicks in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, along with Deandre Jordan, Wes Matthews, and two-first round picks.

As a matter of fact, Smith, Jr was getting so little playing time in New York that he requested to go to the G League bubble in Orlando so that he could get more playing time, keep his skills honed, and have other teams around the league look at him. However, Smith, Jr is now going to Detroit, where Killian Hayes is out for the season and Detroit’s current best point guard is Delon Wright. Smith, Jr can play well when he has the ball in his hands, and his energy and will to play will hopefully give Detroit a boost they desperately need.

On the New York side of the trade, Thibodeau has been reunited with his former MVP point guard, again. It’s no secret in the NBA that Thibodeau wants to remake his early 2010s Bulls with a young Jimmy Butler and an MVP Derrick Rose. Rose has already played under Thibodeau once after departing from the Bulls, in Minnesota. This time around, New York also has Taj Gibson, who was on the early 2010 Bulls team as well. Who knows? Maybe New York will be able to sign Jimmy Butler. Whatever the case, Rose brings veteran leadership and can distribute the ball, as well as score when necessary.

Both teams are middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference, though the Pistons are considerably worse. This trade most likely won’t cause too much of an impact, but Smith, Jr’s stats should go up a hefty amount and the Knicks might just make the playoffs, as unfathomable as it sounds.

Comment down below if you think the Knicks will make the playoffs, don’t forget to follow the blog, and as always, have an awesome day!

Markelle Fultz Tears ACL, is out for the Rest of the Season

In a game against the Cavaliers, Markelle Fultz drove to the basket, collided with Cavaliers Rookie Isaac Okoro, and fell to the ground. Immediately, people knew that this was serious, as while Okoro got up fine, Markelle was rolling on the ground in pain, holding his knee. Markelle Fultz had just suffered a torn ACL. In case that sounds familiar for reasons you don’t fully realize, Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the 2012 playoffs, leaving the league’s youngest MVP robbed of his explosiveness.

The first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Markelle Fultz was originally considered a bust in Philadelphia, where he had shoulder problems and had to learn all over again how to shoot a basketball. His form never looked the same, but he started looking something like the player he once was when he was traded to Orlando. In his first season where he played over 70 games, Markelle averaged 12.1 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.3 rebounds on 47% shooting. This season, in eight games, Markelle averaged nearly identical stats as the year before, with 12.9 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.1 rebounds on 40% shooting.

It was very disappointing at first to see Markelle struggle in the NBA, so when he started to make a comeback on the Magic, everyone was rooting for him. Unfortunately, the comeback might take a little longer than expected; or never happen at all. Let’s all pray for Markelle Fultz right now that his surgery goes as expected and he will be able to get back on the court, as last night he was taken off the court in a wheelchair.