The Score’s 2018 NBA Awards predictions by Jaelin McDonald & Jarod Hamilton
Guard James Harden (HOU)- “Fear The Beard”, Harden has been on a phenomenal roll the last three years, but the wins just weren’t there. But this year even with a tough Western Conference schedule, it seems to have made Harden become more aggressive and poised.
Averaging 30 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game and around 9 assists per game, Harden has lead the Houston Rockets to the best record in the NBA. His case is stronger than his competition because of his performances against top teams; dominant games against Warriors, Cavs, Spurs and Raptors have shown that he shows up at all time. The Rockets are the only team that has under 20 losses.
Rookie of The Year
Guard Donovan Mitchell (UTAH)- “The Amazing Spida-Mitchell”, Donovan Mitchell was not a favorite for this award when the season started. Many people speculated that Philadelphia 76ers guard, Ben Simmons, would walk away with this award. The Utah Jazz lost the lone star they had in Gordon Hayward to free agency and had no idea where they were going.
But Mitchell shocked everyone, averaging 20 ppg and breaking the record for most three pointers in a season. But the biggest surprise was him leading the Jazz to a number 4-seed in the Western Conference… add insult to injury, Mitchell was apart of All Star Weekend and won the 2018 Slam Dunk Contest.
Sixth Man of the Year
Guard Lou Williams (LAC)-“Sweet Lou” should be receiving his second Sixth Man of the Year award in four years as the Clippers guard is putting up over 22 points per game on 43% shooting from the field.
At the age of 31, Williams’ 13th season has proved to be his best one as he kept the Clippers in the playoff hunt until the last week of the regular season. Williams deserves some recognition after being snubbed for the 2018 All-Star game and this award would do him some justice.
Coach of the Year
Head Coach Dwane Casey (TOR)- The Toronto Raptors have claim to the number one seed in the Eastern conference, a conference that most people would have thought to be won by LeBron and the Cavaliers or the new look Celtics featuring Kyrie Irving.
Casey also coached team LeBron in the All-Star game which is a first for him. The Raptors ability to lock up the number one seed when they were projected by most fans and analysts to be no better than third speaks to the testament of the coaching by Casey.
Most Improved Player
Guard Victor Oladipo (IND)- “The Conqueror” is exactly the word to describe Victor Oladipo. The Indiana Pacers going into the summer knew that a rebuilding stage would be in play after former franchise player Paul George was testing free agency and ended up signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder; where Oladipo formerly played last season.
This season was the best in every category for Oladipo as he averaged 23 ppg and lead the league in steals, while also helping to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 4th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Being the star on his team and making an All Star appearance for the first time shows how much value Oladipo holds. His peers speak highly of the changes he has made and how much of threat he is. Oladipo is clearly the runaway winner for this years M.I.P.
Defensive Player of the Year
Forward Anthony Davis (NO)- “The Brow “ is looking at a few awards this season including the All-NBA First Team and MVP. While he may not get the MVP, and there is a small (but unlikely) chance that he gets snubbed for the All-NBA First Team, an award he should be a lock for is 2018 Defensive Player of the Year. Along with Davis’ 28 points per game, 11 rebounds per game, and 53% field goal percentage, the New Orleans big man is also averaging a league-leading 2.6 blocks per game and 1.5 steals.