Yes, I know the 2019 season just ended and the NBA Awards show just announced all the winners for their regular season performances. But there is disagreement surrounding all of the winners. Some thought that James Harden should have won MVP over Giannis Antetokounmpo. You could argue that Los Angeles Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, should’ve won Coach of the Year over Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. All valid arguments.

Now that the NBA awards show is over and the offseason is three days away, it’s pretty much the beginning of the 2019-20 season. Because of that, why not pick the winners for next year’s NBA awards? Lots of factors will make this list change considering big names like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard being free agents this summer and have the choice to go wherever really.

NBA Awards Predictions

MVP Award

Antetokounmpo put up a stellar year this past season to sky rocket the Milwaukee bucks to best record in the NBA. Unless he picks another skill to his repertoire (like a consistent jumpshot), it’s hard to imagine him getting it again. Leonard is my pick for MVP next season. It’s not the hottest take for that, but it’s hard to not pick him after the playoffs he has had. Regardless if he re-signs with the Toronto Raptors or joins the Clippers, he showed how he can take over games. Leonard makes it look effortless from game winners to just flat out doing everything for the Raptors in the playoffs.

If Leonard ends up in Southern California, the case will be stronger since he’d help elevate the Clippers to title contention. Just by his presence alone and a great coach in Rivers leading the team makes for even a better combo. Leonard, though, will bring in better talent as well, so that’ll help with the record and title contention. But he will be the leader for that squad.

DPOY Award

Rudy Gobert just won the Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season. Now, he has chances for another run at it. The Utah Jazz’s defense is suffocating and it’ll be better with Mike Conley on board. Gobert would be the leader of that killer defense. He is one of the few big men that can switch onto guards in the pick and roll game. With length and the abnormal footspeed for a seven footer, he can cover massive ground to be there help side too. He’s limited offensively, but his defensive talents can make him a future All-star.

ROY Award

This might be an obvious pick, but Zion Williamson looks ready to land the trophy this upcoming year. Williamson already built like a defensive end in the NFL, so the strength of the NBA should be no issue for him. The only thing that might hold him back is he might not be used to competing with players that are just as strong as him.

He wouldn’t be able to overpower defenders like he did in college. Williamson wasn’t always able to showcase his jumpshot in college since it was just easier for him to get to the hoop. When he did use it, it was a very solid option for him. It’s not his strength, but if Ben Simmons with his broken shot can still be effective, then Williamson should have no issue.

With his freakish athleticism, it will him tremendously on the defensive end of the floor. The explosion he has with his first jump and how quickly he can use a second jump will help him with rebounding both defensively and offensively.

Also being on a young team with the newly added former Lakers, they will need a leader right away. The professionalism he already presents himself with shows signs of a polished veteran. Williamson is rumored of landing a spot on team USA for this summer’s FIBA tournament. It will also give him a headstart with competing against professional talent.

Coach of the Year

Lots of candidates that could have won the award this year besides Bucks Budenholzer. This upcoming year, though, Rivers will take the throne. You could argue that he should have won it this year since the Clippers at the beginning of last season were far from playoff contention. By the end of the season, they proved the entire league wrong by his coaching and the heart and grit of his misfit squad. If they can land Leonard this offseason, that alone will launch the Clippers into contention in the crowded western conference.

Rivers earns respect from all players that he’s ever coached He knows how to get the best out of each player on his squad and knows how to manage big name players and big egos. His gameplan is one of the best in the league, which keeps all his team as a threat for serious competition.

Most Improved Player

This is always a hard one to judge because it can be quite random who has the breakout year. I  don’t think too many people thought it would be Pascal Siakim as the winner of the award at the beginning of last season. With that being said, New Orleans Pelicans newest acquisition Brandon Ingram will have a breakout season.

Ingram finally has all the pressure from Hollywood in the past. He is in a smaller market that seems to fit his personality more. All the attention will be on Williamson and fellow former Laker and newly acquired Pelican, Lonzo Ball. Ball alone with his dad Lavar would take attention away. Ingram can finally focus on being that long lanky pure scoreer that he was projected to be when he was selected 2nd overall pick in the 2016 draft.

Sixth Man Award

The sixth man award is another one can really vary who is up for consideration. It really depends on the coach too with that. Like this years winner in Lou Williams, who was playing essentially starter minutes, but was just coming off the bench. As great of a sixth man Williams is, fresh blood is going to take over this upcoming season.

Raptors breakout finals star Fred VanVleet has a great chance to be that guy. VanVleet showed his worth immensely under the big lights of the finals. He had a rough start to playoffs, but after the birth of his son during playoffs, he went off. That performance could lead to a bigger role in the offense. With his three point shooting he showed can lead to more opportunities. VanVleet’s defense is even solid. A pesky on ball defender that can get in the head of players.

Wrap Up

All of my picks could change by July 1st depending on moves made during this crucial free agency. New candidates will emerge as they do every year. Even though the NBA awards ceremony ended, it’s always fun to make picks like this early on.

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Taylor Loeks

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