NBA Awards Front Runners After The All-Star Break

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NBA Awards Front Runners After The All-Star Break

Andrew Bailey, Reporter

After a fun weekend of All-Star festivities, the NBA regular season is back into full swing. It seems like now is a good of a time as any to venture some guesses: who will win a trophy at the NBA Awards Show?

So my job isn’t super hard, I’ll be writing in three potential finalists, and the winner will have his name in bold. The predictions will be for Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year, and Sixth Man of the Year, as well as All-NBA, All-Defensive, and All-Rookie first team.

Most Valuable Player- LeBron James, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo. LeBron could surge into the lead with a strong second half of the season, but for now, Harden gets the nod for leading the league in scoring and taking the Rockets into the league’s best record.

Rookie of the Year- Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum. Simmons has the superior stats, but Mitchell has the most influence on his team, having become the Jazz’s go-to scorer and a top defender. Winning the dunk contest will help his case.

Most Improved Player- Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram, Victor Oladipo. No question about this one; Oladipo has emerged as a star with the Pacers after an underwhelming Year last year with the Thunder.

Defensive Player of the Year- Kevin Durant, Paul George, Joel Embiid. This year, the two best DPOTY candidates are not big men, but Paul George has the edge just based off of the one game where he shut down the Warriors.

Sixth Man of the Year- Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, Jordan Clarkson.  Even though he’s been starting at shooting guard for the Clippers recently, Williams has had a massive scoring impact for the Clips off the bench.

Coach of the Year- Brad Stevens, Dwayne Casey, Quin Snyder. At the start of the year, the Raptors were predicted for about 44 wins all season long. At the All-Star break, they’re 41-16, and first in the Eastern Conference.

Executive of the Year- Masai Ujiri, Koby Altman, Danny Aigne. Aigne made the 76ers look like fools trading up for Markelle Fultz, and has made many roster-building moves to put the Celtics in championship contention.

All-NBA First Team- James Harden, Demar DeRozan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid. Harden is the likely MVP, DeRozan is the best player on the best team in the East, James is a given after making his 14th straight (!!!!!!!) All-Star appearance, Giannis has singlehandedly taken the Bucks to a top-four seed in the East, and Embiid is dragging the 76ers into the playoffs. Easy

All-Defensive First Team- Marcus Smart, Paul George, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert, Joel Embiid. Marcus Smart is the #1 ranked defensive player, by NBA.com, George, Embiid, and Durant are the front-runners for DPOTY, and Gobert is allowing the lowest opponent field goal percentage in the paint of anyone in the league. EASY.

All-Rookie First Team- Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, Lauri Markkanen. Simmons leads all rookies in points per game, rebounds per game, and assists per game, Mitchell is the most influential of all rookies, Tatum is an influential starter for the finals-bound Celtics, Kuzma is scoring 12 points per game off the bench for the Lakers, and Markkanen has been very impressive as a stretch-four for the (very bad) Chicago Bulls. EASY!!!