2019-2020 NBA Season Awards Predictions

The 2019-2020 NBA season is right around the corner and its fair to say this could be one of the most exciting seasons we’ve seen in a while. The NBA offseason played host to a number of big name changes and some of the most surprising acquisitions that have changed the landscape of the NBA. The Los Angeles Clippers acquired reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard from the Toronto Raptors then shocking literally everyone by trading for Paul George, the Brooklyn Nets acquired All-Stars Kyrie Irving , Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan, and the Los Angeles Lakers trading for Anthony Davis and acquiring a slew of other free agents.

These are just a few of the big name acquisitions that rocked the offseason I didn’t even mention the Golden State Warriors trading for D’Angelo Russell, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder trading for Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul respectively, the Miami Heat acquiring Jimmy Butler, and the Philadelphia 76ers acquiring Al Horford. In addition to the moves made in free agency, the NBA draft saw the introduction of players like Duke’s Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett to the New Orleans Pelicans and New York Knicks respectively, Murray State’s Ja Morant to the Memphis Grizzlies, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish to the Atlanta Hawks (Hunter via trade), and the first Japanese born lottery pick Rui Hachimura out of Gonzaga to the Washington Wizards just to name a few.

I could go on and on about the number of game changing moves made this offseason because there were so many. These moves will definitely impact who finishes the season taking home the NBA’s awards. Last season international players took home four of the five top honors with Lou Williams, who took home his third Sixth Man of the Year award, being the only player born in the United States to win an individual award. Will lightning strike twice with the NBA awards turning into an international takeover? Let’s find out here are my prediction for the winner of each NBA award!

Executive of the Year: Lawrence Frank, Los Angeles Clippers

Starting off with the Executive of the Year award, I have Los Angeles Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank to take home the win. Lawrence Frank and the Los Angeles Clippers were quite possibly the MVP of the NBA offseason. Last season, the Los Angeles Clippers gave the Golden State Warriors a run for their money taking them to six games in the first round of the playoffs. Ultimately, it was the dominance of Kevin Durant that was too much for the Clippers to handle. This offseason, the Clippers front office went to work this offseason making moves left and right starting off with what was possibly the biggest acquisitions of the offseason in signing reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and trading for multiple time All-Star Paul George. In addition, the Clippers re-signed Patrick Beverly and Jamychal Green and acquiring Maurice Harkless in a trade to boost a team that already featured dynamic sixth men Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell taking them from being a solid playoff team to an instant title contender. For these reasons, I expect Lawrence Frank to receive the NBA Executive of the Year award.

Coach of the Year: Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz

Since the 2000-2001 season, every Coach of the Year winner coached a team that won 50 or more games in that season. I think that trend continues with Utah Jazz head coach winning the Coach of the Year award this season. I have the Jazz winning 50+ games this season and being a top five seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Like the Clippers, the Jazz also had a good offseason adding Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jeff Green, Ed Davis and Emmanuel Mudiay to a roster that already included Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Since Quin Snyder took over as head coach of the Utah Jazz, the Jazz have been one of, if not the best defensive team in the NBA today. This roster along with Quin Snyder’s ability as a defensive coach will surely continue that trend and make them a top five seed that could be a contender in the Western Conference.

Most Improved Player of the Year: Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets

Kicking off the player awards, I have “Scary” Terry Rozier taking home the Most Improved Player award. Following what was a very good 2017-2018 regular season and an amazing playoff run, Terry Rozier had a very disappointing 2018 season. His points and rebounds per game numbers decreased from the season before and his impact in the postseason dropped significantly. In the defense of Terry, Kyrie Irving played more games in the ’18-’19 than he did in the season that preceded which means Rozier’s minutes took a hit but even that is not a good excuse. With that being said, I do see Rozier redeeming himself now that he is a member of the Hornets taking over the starting point guard duties. While I do not see the Hornets having much team success, Terry Rozier will prove why he deserves to be a starting point guard in the NBA winning the Most Improved Player award in the process.

Sixth Man of the Year: Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

I’m going with a wild card pick for Sixth Man of the Year in Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie. Spencer Dinwiddie was among the finalists for the Sixth Man award last season but lost out to Clippers guard Lou Williams who won his second straight and third overall. While Lou Williams could possibly be in line to win his third Sixth Man award in a row this season, the one thing that has changed going into this season is he will no longer be the primary scorer for the Clippers this season. The additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for the Clippers could see Lou Williams’ production take a slight hit to the benefit of Spencer Dinwiddie. With the likelihood that Kevin Durant will be out for the entire of the 2019-2020 season and could significant minutes to preserve Kyrie Irving who is known to be injury prone, I fully expect Dinwiddie to take advantage of the minutes given to him off the bench and take home the Sixth Man of the Year award for the 2019-2020 season.

Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Rudy Gobert has won the last two Defensive Player of the Year awards playing a huge role in the aforementioned Utah Jazz remaining one of the top defensive teams in the NBA. This season will be no different as I have Rudy Gobert taking home his third straight DPOY award. Since his second year in the NBA, Gobert has been in the top five in blocks per game four of the last five seasons and has been in the top ten in total blocks each of the past five seasons. Gobert could have some stiff competition for the DPOY award with guys like Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo also being top contenders for the award. However, I think that along with the aforementioned new additions of the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert will have a very good defensive season on his way to winning the top defensive award.

Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

Most of the hype coming from the 2019 NBA Draft class is going to top pick Zion Williamson and rightfully so. For a guy his size, he is one of the most athletic players in the league today. However, the hype given to Williamson means that the other rookies are underlooked by default. Case in point second pick Ja Morant who is my pick for Rookie of the Year. Out of Murray State, Ja Morant is a dynamic guard with playmaking abilities, supreme athleticism and is a solid shooter. With the Grizzlies rebuilding, Ja Morant could be the first step in the right direction in bringing Memphis back to playoff contention. With Morant receiving big minutes, I think he will have a great first season leading all rookies in assists and will be among the top rookies in points, rebounds and steals on his way to winning Rookie of the Year.

Most Valuable Player: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

We get into the top individual award the NBA has to offer the Most Valuable Player award. The last time the MVP award was won by a true center was in 2000 when Shaquille O’Neal won his first and only MVP (Tim Duncan was a power forward when he won the MVP in 2001 and 2002). I have Joel Embiid bucking that trend winning the MVP for the 2019-2020 season. Since Joel Embiid debuted in the NBA after missing his first two seasons with injury, he has helped turned the Sixers franchise around from being an embarrassment to a title contender. His numbers have continued to improve each season and the Sixers have continued to get better. With the Eastern Conference considerably weaker this season from last season, Joel Embiid will be able to capitalize on this leading the Sixers to one of the top two seeds in the East on his way to winning the MVP award.

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