| Post No. 3 |
So much of the offseason is spent speculating about what’s to come between the months of October and June. A good percentage of these discussions take place prior to us seeing any of the 30 NBA teams in preseason action.
At times I ask myself, “Why do I engage in these conversations about what could be?” Then seconds later, I quickly answer by saying, “Because it’s fun.”
There’s no better prelude to the season than a fiery debate about why he is better than him, or they are better than them. Truth.
Now imagine if we as fans displayed the self-control and patience to have these exchanges a week into the season? You know … waited for something factual to base our arguments off of.
I’m not referring to the notion that if healthy, the Golden State Warriors will be crowned the 2018 NBA Champions. Concrete is conclusive.
The only difference is that the reigning champions will finish with a playoff record of 16-6, instead of 16-1.
I’m talking about the extras. For example, the regular season awards.
Below are my 2017-18 “PreGuessTimations” for the most coveted individual trophies handed out each year.
Most Valuable Player
Giannis Antetokounmpo | SF | Milwaukee Bucks
Late in August, retired Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tweeted out challenges to various celebrity athletes and entertainers. But Giannis was initially left out of the pack, causing him to reach out the Black Mamba himself.
He is progressing rapidly, and after seeking out a challenge from one of the most demanding superstar athletes ever, he’s clearly not lacking in the confidence department either.
Giannis has yet to drop anything less than 30 in a game and is already leading the league in scoring. So I take it that he’s up for the challenge.
Defensive Player of the Year
Draymond Green | SF | Golden State Warriors
Not only has he shown that he’s capable of guarding multiple positions, but he also terrorizes his opposition while he’s at it.
Unless there’s a player that breaks out and shows they’re capable of doing the same but better, this is Draymond’s award to lose.
Sixth Man of the Year
Louis Williams | SG | Los Angeles Clippers
Williams earned this crown in 2015 and is coming off of a career year in scoring.
With Chris Paul gone to the Rockets, it seems he’ll play plenty of minutes behind the underwhelming Austin Rivers.
Rookie of the Year
Ben Simmons | PF | Philadelphia 76ers
After flirting with triple-double in his first three regular season games as an NBA player, he managed to pull it off against the Raptors with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Oh … and the man shot 72% from the field.
Find me a rookie who even comes close. Go ahead. I’m waiting.
Most Improved Player
D’Angelo Russell | SG | Brooklyn Nets
He showed flashes of his potential in his first two seasons in Los Angeles, and now with Brooklyn, he’s set up for a breakout year.
The Nets are centering their offense around him and it’s paid great dividends so far.
In the the season-opener he scored 30 points, five assists, three rebounds and snatched one steal versus the Pacers. Russell followed that performance up with 17 points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals against the Magic.
A lot more of that can be expected as he takes on an even heavier workload in his third NBA season.
Coach of the Year
Brad Stevens | HC| Boston Celtics
The Celts made big moves during the summer by bringing in Gordon Hayward and NBA Champion Kyrie Irving. But after Hayward’s left tibia injury in the season-opener, Boston has quite a mountain to climb in order to contend for the eastern conference title.
If Coach Stevens manages to lead the Celtics out of this hole to win 50 or more games, it’d be hard to argue against him.