MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo
2018-19 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is due for a repeat as NBA MVP for the 2019-20 season. Giannis’ Milwaukee Bucks were the #1 seed in the eastern conference and won 60 games last year. They managed to keep the roster together and seem to be destined for another 60 win season. If that is the case, then Giannis Antetokounmpo will repeat as NBA MVP as he will clearly be the most valuable of the best players on one of the top teams this season. LeBron James and James Harden will also be in the running again this year as the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets are projected to be at the top of the NBA’s this season as well. Giannis will outperform both LeBron and Harden because he is the lone superstar on his team. LeBron James has Anthony Davis and James Harden has Russell Westbrook. The Milwaukee Bucks are built around just Giannis and Coach Mike Budenholzer has a four out one in the offensive scheme is centered around Antetokounmpo for his own benefit.
Rookie of the Year: Zion Williamson
The #1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft was a young prodigy, Zion Williamson. He was the consensus number one and the New Orleans Pelicans were given the opportunity to draft him through the lottery. All projections point towards Zion Williamson winning the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year. The New York Knicks #3 overall pick RJ Barrett should also be in the running as well. He formed a dynamic duo with Zion at Duke this past college season and should have a strong rookie campaign. The Miami Heat #13 overall pick Tyler Herro is this year’s dark horse for the award based on his standout performance at this past NBA Summer League. But, when the season is over, Zion should be the top rookie and take home the award.
Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams
The three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year should run away with his 4th award after this up and coming season. Lou Williams will be the first man off the bench for the Clippers this season and should play the minutes of a starter. He will play the pivotal role of being the fallback option for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. This should earn him open shots and opportunities less defensive attention while he is on the floor with Leonard and George. Although a downfall of playing with Leonard and George may be less useful, open shots should come easier and much more often for Williams this season.
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard will receive his third Defensive Player of the Year award this year as his defensive prowess should be on full display this year and will receive much more attention in the Los Angeles media. As a Raptor, Kawhi did not receive as much credit as he deserves for his defense and this year he will receive it. Kawhi is an elite on-ball defender on the perimeter and down low. He racks up blocks and steals with ease and this year, this will award him Defensive Player of the Year.
Most Improved Player: Pascal Siakam
Pascal Siakam won last year’s Most Improved Player award after improving tremendously. He went from averaging 7 points and 5 rebounds in the 2017-2018 season to averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds in the 2018-2019 season. This of course came with a lot more opportunity and minutes on the court. With Kawhi Leonard, undoubtedly the best player on the Raptors leaving for the Clippers, Pascal will become the face of the franchise and receive an even bigger role in the team’s plans. Expect Pascals numbers to jump significantly again and do not be surprised if he shows enough improvement to win the Most Improved Player award for the second consecutive year.
Coach of the Year: Doc Rivers
This award does not take much explaining as it is awarded to the best coach throughout the entire season. Doc Rivers’ Los Angeles Clippers are projected to have a large improvement in the record and should be much higher than the 8th seed in next year’s playoffs. As long as the Clippers have a top three record in the NBA, Doc should win this year’s Coach of the Year.
This year’s playoffs will include predictions on the Eastern and Western Conference champions as well as who will win the NBA Finals. After this past offseason, the entire landscape of the NBA has changed and teams who were not in contention last year are projected to take that leap this year and vise versa. My prediction for the Eastern Conference Champion is the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks were slighted of their chance to reach the NBA Finals last year because of Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors. Since Kawhi has since moved on from Toronto to Los Angeles, the Raptors are no longer the same team. Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the best player in the east and there is no reason that the Bucks shouldn’t reach the Finals this year barring injury. My prediction for the Western Conference Champion is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have shaken up their entire roster and have built it to the best of their ability around LeBron James. Adding Anthony Davis was a huge move because it gives LeBron a co-star. It cost the Lakers their young core but they have replaced them with proven veterans who have playoff experience. Playoffs LeBron James is like no other and when everything is set and done, LeBron James and the Lakers should be in the Finals. Out of the NBA Finals matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, the Lakers will come out on top as NBA Champions. LeBron James will be extra motivated to win a championship this year as it is one of his last years in prime shape and this win will give him a championship with three different teams which is extremely hard to do. The Lakers are way more experienced than the Bucks and in my opinion, the Los Angeles Lakers will win the 2019-2020 NBA Championship in 7 games.