Thursday, October 22, 2009

NBA '09-'10 Predictions: Awards

MVP: LeBron James- SF (CLE)
King James is the ultimate competitor. Rather than resting on his laurels and relying on his God-given athletic ability, LeBron continues to push both himself and the limits of what seems "possible" in today's NBA.
Each season, James returns to the court an new man. He finds his flaws and systematically eliminates them.
Last season Cleveland won 66 games and was the best defensive team in the league. This off-season, they added Jamario Moon to improve their already stellar defense and Anthony Parker to take some offensive pressure off of LeBron on the perimeter. They also added a center, but his name eludes me at the moment.
Long story short, there's no reason Cleveland shouldn't be even better this year than last. If they can stay healthy, they may win 70 games and even challenge the NBA record of 72. If so, there's no way to deny King James his 2nd MVP.

ROY: Tyreke Evans- PG (SAC)
Evans will be playing out of position on what promises to be an abysmal Kings team. However, he has a blend of size, speed, and athleticism that reminds me of Dwyane Wade.
Blake Griffin was the consensus top pick and is the popular choice to win this award, but don't forget- he's a Clipper. And that fact can only lead to one conclusion: he will falter, somehow, someway.
Griffin sustained multiple injuries last year at the University of Oklahoma, and while I'm as big of a fan as the next guy, I do have serious concerns about his durability and toughness. If he can stay healthy, Griffin wins the award going away, but if he misses any significant time, it's Evans' to lose.

Coach: Flip Saunders (WAS)
A (presumably) healthy Gilbert Arenas and a new stable of perimeter weapons looks very appealing. The Wizards may still be a quality big man away from being a title contender, but they should be in contention to host a first-round playoff series, which would be a marked improvement over last year's 19-63 debacle.

Defensive Player: Dwyane Wade- SG (MIA)
Miami will likely be a lottery team this year, but Dwyane Wade couldn't spell the word quit. He'll likely have to carry quite an offensive load, but if Michael Beasley makes the strides many expect, Wade can convert some focus onto his defense. He averaged an impressive 3.5 steals + blocks per game last year coming off an injury. If he can stay healthy this year, I expect him to maintain or even improve on those numbers and continue to be a defensive headache for opposing guards.

Most Improved: Rodney Stuckey- PG (DET)
Stuckey was thrust into a much higher-responsibility position last season after Allen Iverson's disappearance, and he seemed to be able to handle the pressure. This year, the team has added shooters in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, which should mean more assists for Stuckey. He is also the team's only proven point guard, so he should see a lot of minutes. If he can improve his outside shooting, he has a chance to be an 18 point and 8 assist per game player and a franchise cornerstone.

6th Man: Jason Terry- G (DAL)
Terry is Mr. Dependable for Dallas, so he is always in the discussion for this award. Manu Ginobili could challenge for the title, but his healthy is always an issue, so Terry is most likely the pick. Chris Douglas-Roberts could be a dark horse for this award (or the previous one).

NBA Champion- Cleveland over San Antonio in 6 games.

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