Before the start of the 2020-21 season, our NBA.com Staff made their predictions for each end-of-season award.
Now that half of the season is in the books, it's time to check in on those predictions.
Which ones are we sticking with and which ones are we changing? Below are our updated picks, followed by our explanations as to what the toughest calls were.
|Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)||Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)||Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694)|| |
|Benyam Kidane (BenyamKidane)|
|MVP||Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers||LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers||Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets||Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets||Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers|
|DPOY||Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz||Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz||Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz||Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers||Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers|
|6MOY||Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz||Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz||Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz||Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz||Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz|
|MIP||Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons||Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics||Julius Randle, New York Knicks||Christian Wood, Houston Rockets||Julius Randle, New York Knicks|
|ROY||LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets||LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets||LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets||LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets||LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets|
|COY||Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz||Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers||Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets||Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns||Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz|
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): MVP is by far and away the toughest call. Right now, I'm leaning towards Embiid, who has been a two-way force this season and has the 76ers at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, but Nikola Jokic and LeBron James aren't far behind him. I mean, Jokic is averaging a near 30-point triple-double - with ridiculous efficiency, I should add - while LeBron continues to defy Father Time with his play on both ends of the court. This race is far from over.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I'm with Scott here, MVP is for sure the tightest awards race at the midway point of the season. I picked Anthony Davis to win the award prior to the start of the season, but it quickly became evident that if the award was going to go to a Los Angeles Lakers player, it would be LeBron James. And while I believe that right now, Joel Embiid is the league MVP, the award isn't given out at the All-Star break. I still think that when the season comes to a close, it will be James who takes home his fifth MVP trophy - especially if the Lakers catch the Utah Jazz in the standings.
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): As Scott and Kyle mentioned, the MVP pick was the toughest to choose but my selection is Jokic. The team record isn't on his side but I believe he's been far more available and effective this season for the Denver Nuggets than the other two candidates. Jordan Clarkson and LaMelo Ball, both of whom were my predictions at the season tip-off, look like locks for the Sixth Man of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards respectively. I've got Steve Nash for my Coach of the year, simply because he's been able to lead the Nets through injuries, and numerous adversities to the second seed in the East - just 0.5 game behind the 76ers.
Kane Pitman (@KanePitman) The one reason for pause with the Nikola Jokic MVP argument in the early part of the season has been team record. Expected to be a top seed in the West, the Nuggets have been slow out of the gate, but a recent 4-0 road trip with wins in Milwaukee and Indiana indicate they are back on track. Jokic is a triple-double threat every single night and bends the opposition's defence with his perimeter shooting and elite passing like no other big man in the game. Jokic has been an absolute joy to watch this season and deserves his place on top of the MVP ladder at the halfway mark. I'm giving Christian Wood props for genuinely becoming a nightly 20-10 guy before an ankle injury forced him to the sideline, resulting in an immediate 13-game losing streak for the Rockets. As for Coach of the Year? Just look at the standings and think about how strange it is to see Phoenix near the top of the conference. Monty Williams is my pick at this point.
Benyam Kidane (BenyamKidane): This could be the tightest MVP race in recent seasons. Between LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, each player is balling at a ridiculously high level, but I'm going with Embiiid for now….just. He's become the go-to guy down the stretch for Philly and delivering against the league's best teams.
Meanwhile, Clarkson and Ball are running away with Sixth Man and Rookie of the Year. Rudy Gobert has been awesome defensively for the Jazz, but I'm giving the slight edge to Simmons. His versatility and ability to shut down some of the league's best offensive guards has been a big factor in the 76ers' early success.
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