NBA Playoff/Award Predictions

 

What a wild NBA season it has been. With a four-way race for MVP coming down to the wire, and a multitude of trades, injuries and drama, it has all come down to this.

Awards

Sixth Man of the Year: Isaiah Thomas, Celtics

Standing at just 5’9”, Isaiah Thomas took the league by storm last year. For some reason, this season he has been coming off the bench. But it hasn’t hindered his performance in the slightest. While averaging around 16 points and 4 assists a game, he is only playing around 25 minutes for the Celtics, which is extremely odd because he is a rising star in this league.

Comeback Player of the Year: Pau Gasol, Bulls

Recently leaving LA to play for the Bulls, Gasol does not regret his decision in the slightest. Averaging 18.5 points and about 12 boards a game, Gasol has really stepped up his game from last season and is contributing much to Chicago’s success despite Jimmy Butler’s breakout year. I can’t see anyone else receiving this award.

Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Davis, Pelicans

Anthony Davis has put the entire league on notice and will soon be the best player in the world. He is a candidate for MVP and averages 24 points and 10 boards. He is also accumulating about 3 blocks and 1.5 steals a game, and is only 22-years-old. That’s scary.

Most Improved Player of the Year: Hassan Whiteside, Heat

Hassan who? That would have been the response from NBA fans if you asked that question last year. Going from a bench player on the Kings to a profound center on the Miami Heat and averaging about 12 points a game along with 10 boards and nearly 3 blocks, Whiteside has come out of nowhere and has been very impressive. He has improved the most out of any other NBA player.

Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins, Wolves

This one was easy. Although the Wolves are the NBA’s worst team, Wiggins did all he could to propel the team. With a sweet move by the Wolves to trade Kevin Love for this young gun, Wiggins has impressed with his supreme athleticism and speed. He averaged about 17 points a game, but still has room to grow. He is a great young player.

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer, Hawks

Last year, the Hawks was an 8th seed in the East. This year they are a 1 seed, getting to 60 wins with Jeff Teague, Al Horford, Paul Milsap and Kyle Korver. If you ask me, that’s pretty impressive for a coach.

Most Valuable Player of the Year: Stephen Curry, Warriors

This MVP race has been by far the closest it’s been in years. James Harden was spectacular this season. However, I don’t think the Warriors would be the same without Steph Curry running the show. Helping the Warriors achieve 67 wins, he averaged about 24 points, 8 assists and 4 boards; but he also shot 44% from 3-point range which is 4th in the NBA, as well as attempting the most by a long shot in the NBA. He also has the 2nd highest field goal percentage at roughly 59%. Yes, James Harden and Russell Westbrook were fantastic. However, I have to give the nod to Curry, although James Harden could win as well. As for Lebron James, you cannot give it to him just because he impacted his team the most unless you’re willing to give it to him every year, which I am fine with.

Playoff Predictions:

1st round

Warriors vs. Pelicans:

With the Pelicans clinching their first playoff birth as a franchise, and Anthony Davis having an MVP-type season, Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon are simply outmatched by the splash bros and the Warriors’ depth.

Warriors in 5

Hawks vs. Nets:

With the best Eastern Conference record, the Hawks need to prove that they’re worthy of the number 1 seed and need to take care of business early. With a coach of the year candidate leading them, they cannot lose to a beaten down Brooklyn.

Hawks in 5

Rockets vs. Mavericks:

MVP candidate James Harden has led the Rockets, and has had little help all season. Dirk Nowitzki is a former NBA champion with a squad best equipped for the postseason, unlike the poor free throw shooting Rockets (a la Dwight Howard and Josh Smith). With Chandler Parsons on the other side this time, the Rockets will have to guard too many different weapons and James Harden will need to share the ball with his much less talented teammates. This is going to be a great series.

Mavericks in 7

 

Cavaliers vs. Celtics:

The Cavaliers are a far superior team to the Celtics and should easily beat them.

Cavaliers in 4

 

Clippers vs. Spurs:

The Clippers have had limited playoff success, as the former champion Spurs are the worst matchup ever. Popovich will figure out a way to rise above the 6 seed aspirations and will beat the Clippers by doing so. This will be another series that goes down to the wire.

Spurs in 7

Bulls vs. Bucks:

With Derrick Rose returning, this will make the series far more lopsided than it already is. The inexperienced Bucks will not know how to handle Chicago and the win will happen relatively quickly.

Bulls in 5

Blazers vs. Grizzles:

With Portland losing Wes Mathews, the series will be much more difficult for them. Although Damien Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are stars, Memphis’ physicality will wear on the young Blazers.

Grizzles in 6

Raptors vs. Wizards:

This series will be the worst. Although two exciting backcourts are going head to head, the Raptors are simply a better team and will finish the struggling Wizards.

Raptors in 7

Image via Wikipedia.

About Me: I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

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