Regular Season Predictions

With the long boring portion of the offseason still continuing I reiterate there is very little to talk about, so I will keep rolling out the 2014-15 predictions. In this post the predictions that will be made will consist of the major individual awards. They of course include: Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Coach of the Year and both All-NBA and All-Defensive teams. The Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie teams are not included as my predictions have already been made in: http://mjbasketball.com/?p=28.

Sixth Man of the Year: Gerald Henderson

Born Ready is in town and it’s time for Gerald to take his scoring talents to the bench. His game time won’t be impacted to drastically as I still anticipate around 30 minutes a night, and his number should only take a slight drop. It helps that the Hornets have a very interesting team this year and should find themselves very much in the playoff race, so people will be watching. Henderson has always been a very capable shooting guard and in some respects is underrated, but I think his talents are suited perfectly for the sixth man role. He is an explosive scorer which is always a must have off the bench, he can slide into a teams defense and is able to get a respectable share of assists and rebounds for a 2 guard. Hopefully the chemistry between Lance and Gerald is a little better then that of Lance and Turner last year, and if all clicks, there will be no drop off at the guard position this year in Charlotte for the full 48 minutes.

Honorable mentions: Harrison Barnes, Jamal Crawford, Isaiah Thomas and Vince Carter

Defensive Player of the Year: LeBron James

Out of all these picks, most confident about this one, LeBron has said himself that he would like the Defensive Player of the Year award and you could argue he deserved it in 2013, but he is in a situation now in Cleveland where he may need to do even more defensively then he used to (if that’s even possible). Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both have glaring flaws in their defensive games and apart from Matthew Dellavedova and Anderson Varejoe, the rest of the Cavaliers aren’t anything special defensively either. He’s been trimming down in the off-season and looks as though he is making conditioning a big part of his workout program, which is a huge part of defense. He is a very, very rare breed of player who can literally guard every position on the floor; I don’t think I need to explain how big of a deal that is. He is going to be the guy who guards every big shot, he’ll chase down every fast break and rotate when ever a man is beaten. Too put it simply LeBron is going to be everywhere this year, and for anyone wanting to learn how to play defense, watch LeBron James this season.

Honorable mentions: Larry Sanders, Serge Ibaka, Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard

Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau

Always the hardest pick this one. You just never know which way it will go with coach of the year. Coach Popovich is always in the mix and there’s usually always a surprise (such as Jeff Hornacek last year). I’m picking Thibodeau for a few reasons, he is easily the best coach currently in the league without a championship (he will do everything he can to change that this year), he has his superstar back and has been provided with two other terrific offensive talents in Pau Gasol and Doug Mcdermott to go along with his mind numbingly good defense. Being in the Eastern Conference his team should rack up copious amounts of wins, which always helps strengthen the argument.

Honorable mentions: Greg Popovich, Terry Stotts, Steve Kerr and Steve Clifford

Most Improved Player: Kawhi Leonard

Not only does he have the best nickname in the NBA (Sugar Kay Leonard the King Slayer), but he’s also one of the youngest finals MVP’s in league history (only behind Tim Duncan and Magic Johnson) and is the first finals MVP since 2004 Chauncey Billups to not be an All-Star. He only played under 29.1 minutes per game last year because of Popovich’s team oriented system and in part due to his injuries. This year those minutes should see an increase as Tim Duncan will be turning 39 and Manu will be 37 and there has been a slight decrease in Tony Parker’s production from the 2012-13 season. Leonard should take on a larger scoring role and should now have all the confidence he needs to take his game to the next level. He is already a world-class defender, nobody can question his heart and work ethic and he has shown flashes of offensive brilliance (most notably in the playoffs), he now just needs to put it all together for an entire season. I’m betting on Kawhi to make a huge impact on the league this year.

Honorable Mentions: Gordan Hayward, Andre Drummond, Lance Stephenson and Ricky Rubio

Most Valuable Player: LeBron James

Let’s be honest this is a two man race for the foreseeable future until another player can make the leap (most likely Anthony Davis) to being on their otherworldly like level. I’m also assuming Derrick Rose doesn’t come back the same player who won the MVP 3 years ago. Durant stole the regular season crown and Kawhi stole the post-season crown off the King and I’m betting it’s not siting very well with him. He’s back home, he’s comfortable, he’s training and he’s hungrier then ever. While I still have my doubts that Cleveland will win the championship this year, it will be through no fault of LeBron, make no mistake this will be a James dominated year. Their isn’t much else to be said except, sit back and enjoy.

Honorable mentions: Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis

All-NBA 1st team:

Guard: Stephen Curry

Guard: Russell Westbrook

Forward: LeBron James

Forward: Kevin Durant

Centre: DeMarcus Cousins

 

All-NBA 2nd team:

Guard: Chris Paul

Guard: Derrick Rose

Forward: Blake Griffin

Forward: Anthony Davis

Centre: Joakim Noah

 

All-NBA 3rd team:

Guard: Dwyane Wade

Guard: Michael Carter Williams (tiny bit of favoritism here)

Forward: Carmelo Anthony

Forward: Kawhi Leonard

Centre: Marc Gasol

 

All-Defensive 1st team:

Guard: Rajon Rondo

Guard: Jimmy Butler

Forward: LeBron James

Forward: Anthony Davis

Centre: Joakim Noah

 

All-Defensive 2nd team:

Guard: Chris Paul

Guard: Michael Carter Williams (genuinely believe this one)

Forward: Kawhi Leonard

Forward: Serge Ibaka

Centre: Larry Sanders

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