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2018-19 NBA Award Predictions

With the 2018-19 NBA Season beginning on Tuesday night, here are NBA Award predictions from a couple of members of our staff:

Dylan Burd – Site Founder/Contributor:

MVP: LeBron James

Outlook: LeBron James really deserves the MVP award every single year, but hasn’t gotten it since 2013. However, moving from Cleveland to Los Angeles, I think everyone will respect LeBron taking a team of young talents and veteran memes to the NBA Playoffs, in the most stacked conference we’ve seen in years.

Rookie of the Year: DeAndre Ayton

Outlook: This seems like such a simple pick, and it is. I just think that DeAndre Ayton was the first overall pick for a reason. He was the best player in the draft class, and the opportunity to start at center for the Suns right away will automatically give him the upper-hand over most rookies. This guy’s an athletic freak (40+ inch vertical), and has the tools to become the NBA’s next great big.

Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens

Outlook: Brad Stevens wasn’t even a finalist for Coach of the Year in 2017-18, which in everyone’s opinion was a joke. Dwane Casey won the award instead, as Toronto was the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Now, with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back, the Eastern Conference is Boston’s to lose. Brad Stevens is the best coach in the NBA that isn’t Gregg Popovich, and I think he’ll get the award as long as Boston gets a #1 seed.

Comeback Player of the Year: Gordon Hayward

Outlook: There’s no other player that I see taking this from Gordon Hayward. After such a devastating injury on opening night last season, the world is rooting for him to have a great comeback, and on such a good team, he’ll have no problem easing back in. Expect Hayward to be an all-star this season, and win this award.

Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard

Outlook: Kawhi Leonard is the best defensive player in the league when he’s on the floor, and I’m excited to see what he can do with the Raptors this season. With Leonard in a contract year, he’ll have a lot to prove, and that all starts on the defensive side of the ball for him. I think two steals per game and a block per game is entirely possible.

Most Improved Player: Markelle Fultz

Outlook: Markelle Fultz forgetting how to shoot after a shoulder injury is one of the most bizarre storylines you’ll ever hear. However, based on the information I’ve heard, and highlights I’ve seen, it looks like he’s jumper might return this season. Fultz has a lot of pressure to perform, but I don’t think it’ll be a problem for a guy who’s extremely explosive and averaged 23-5-5 in college.

Ryan Barone – Site Contributor:

MVP: Victor Oladipo

Outlook: I believe the Pacers take a huge step up in the East this year, and their all-star guard will be a big reason for that. During the age of “Super-Teams,” Oladipo will lead an Indiana team as the lone All-Star to a top-four finish in the East while doing a little bit of everything on the court.

Rookie of the Year: DeAndre Ayton

Outlook: The first thing to look at while predicting Rookie of the Year is playing time, and Ayton will get a ton of that on a rebuilding Suns team. After averaging a double-double in the preseason, Ayton should continue the fill up the box score as a key player for his team.

Coach of the Year: Quin Snyder

Outlook: In my opinion, the Northwest division is the toughest in the NBA going into the season. I expect Quin Snyder’s Jazz to outplay the stars in Oklahoma City, Minnesota and Portland to not only win their division, but earn a top-3 seed in the West.

Comeback Player of the Year: Gordon Hayward

Outlook: Of all the stars that saw their season shortened last year due to injury, Gordon Hayward stands out to me as the Comeback Player of the Year. After missing an entire season, Hayward will pick right up where he left off with the Jazz as a top two or three scoring threat on the team that I believe will win the East.

Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert

Outlook: Gobert has been known as a strong defensive presence during his tenure in the NBA. I believe the Jazz will end up a top-three seed in the West, and Gobert will get a full season under his belt as a shot-blocking threat in the paint.

Most Improved Player: Jamal Murray

Outlook: The third season in the NBA is where a lot of good players make the transition to being great. Murray has seen all facets of his game dramatically improve over two seasons, but this year he’ll finally break out as a high-profile scorer for an underrated Denver Nuggets team.

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