Early NBA 2020-2021 Season Awards Predictions

The calmest time of the NBA has arrived but the countdown to a season restart is almost aligned with the countdown to Christmas 2020! Never too early to start some NBA 2020-2021 season Awards predictions right?

Update: Our full staff predictions of the NBA 2020-2021 season awards predictions are now live. Click here to view them!

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Executive of the Year

Rob Pelinka
Let’s see here, shall we? Assembling a Championship team in 2019-2020 and then in the short off-season, you sign the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in Montrezl Harrell. Shameless plug, I’ve ranted and raved about the Lakers already winning the 2020 off-season so far. This is a no brainer pick as the Lakers roster is better on paper after winning a championship. Regardless of the Lakers repeating this season or not, Pelkina did what all defending Championship ballclubs should do.

Runner-Up:
Pat Riley
While Bam Adebayo was offered a max deal he would still need to complete a few tasks to get the max money. I mean, like winning MVP to tap into the full amount. Also, Pat didn’t overspend or make crazy moves to stay in contention. He patiently signed Avery Bradley and Mo Harkless to supplement the loss of Jae Crowder. Bradley’s contract is valued at around $12 with a team option the second year. Harkless signed a one-year, $3.5 M deal. Important to keep this in mind, we might give him this award next season should he sign an All-Star next off-season.

Coach of the Year

Rick Carlisle
Hear me out. This is one of those years we see the Mavericks take a leap into the high rankings of the West. Most of it would fall on Luka Doncic leading the way but also can garner for Carlise to win the Coach of the Year award.

Carlise won the award in 2002 while coaching the Detroit Pistons but in that short stint, he couldn’t get that team over the hump to a championship. Also that year Ben Wallace won the Defensive Player of the Year and Corliss Williamson won the Sixth Man of the Year. Can Carlise repeat a Coach of the Year with one of his own players winning an award too?

Runner-Up:
Steve Kerr
Most recently winning the award in 2016, Kerr can capture another Coach of the Year if the Warriors overachieve. Well, what is overachieving to the Warriors? Finishing with a top 3 record in the NBA with a roster featuring a rookie in James Wiseman and without Klay Thompson helps. Obviously, winning is needed to win this award and certainly, it can be done with Kerr and Curry.

Rookie of the Year

James Wiseman
With Klay Thompson most likely not returning for the 2020-2021 season Wiseman’s opportunity to provide meaningful minutes looks promising. Sure, playing next to Stephen Curry and Draymond Green helps. Can Wiseman be a significant enough of a role to see Rookie of the Year consideration?

While Wiseman only played in three games prior to his suspension from the NCAA, we know what he brings to the table. The Warriors currently have no other skilled Centers on their roster. While he’s a rookie, the benefits of playing with a current championship contender helps.

Runner-Up:
LaMelo Ball
The room to freely fly like a butterfly is in Charlotte where the chance to shine is all for this Ball. Sure Big Baller Brand exists but welcome to the world of Michael Jordan and his Jordan Brand affiliates. Ball has shown signs of being more than just a shooter but also a playmaker.

Sixth Man of the Year

Montrezl Harrell
This award seems to rarely be passed around lately as Harrell’s former teammate Lou Williams won this award repeatedly. Do they change teams often when doing so? The last time someone besides Lou Williams or Harrell won this award was in 2017 when Eric Gordon was awarded the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. Gordon was employed by the Houston Rockets in 2017 and still his current team. The same is to be said about Williams who has won the back-to-back award while with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Harrell joins the defending champions, Los Angeles Lakers and his prime role will be to support a second unit while LeBron James gets some rest. I mean how can we not say that Harrell is primed to win this award yet again for a different team this year?

Runner-Up:
Dennis Schroder
Can Los Angeles stop taking over this category? Last season Harrell and Williams were two of the favorites to win this award with the Clippers. This season Harrell is the clear favorite to repeat meanwhile last year’s potential runner-up is yet again Harrell’s teammate.

No Rajon Rondo and the Lakers lacking a true point guard on their roster means Schroder can come off the bench with Harrell and be in competition with his own teammate. Fancy that huh?

Most Improved Player

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
I’ve seen Jamal Murray recommended as an ideal candidate for this award in 2021. However, The expectations for Murray should already be ready to come into the 2020-2021 season playing at a high level. Especially, if he’s showcased himself with a great playoff run.

SGA has the next up in Oklahoma City as Chris Paul is gone. Sam Presti traded for Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre Jr. only to turn around and trade both of them away. Danilo Gallinari signed with the Hawks. The Thunder are now stuck with finding a new identity.

Last season, Brandon Ingram won this award despite the Pelicans struggling to make the playoffs in the NBA Bubble. Although, I thought Luka Doncic should have won last season it appears the voters will side with the players who weren’t expected to have a season as Ingram did. This is why I’m going with SGA this year.

Runner-Up:
Michael Porter Jr.
I almost wanted to put Porter Jr. up as the winner but the opportunity for him maybe a little uncertain as his health is a concern. He definitely had a promising bubble appearance and also with Denver’s loss of Jerami Grant, this is a good thing for MPJ. If he has to “load manage” throughout the season this can cost him a shot at the Most Improved Player award.

Defensive Player of the Year

Anthony Davis
A huge part of the Lakers success last season was how impactful Davis was on the defensive end. It almost seemed at times Davis is primed to take over for the Lakers instead of LeBron James. However, James would run away with his fourth Finals MVP despite the run Davis had.

Because the Bucks and Giannis Antetekounmpo had such a successful season defensively Davis was slightly overshadowed. The Bucks also had the best defensive rating at 102.5, in the NBA. However, Davis trailed Giannis in defensive win shares by a mere .6 last season.

Runner-Up:
Giannis Antetokounmpo
This is another award that may not be fair to the field unless AD or Giannis has an injury or disappointing season. Barring injuries the duo here are the best defensive players the league has. Sure Bam Adebayo and Rudy Gobert are still around but the overall impact these two play for their teams is much more important.

The interchangeable one and two between AD and Giannis is undisputed until teams like Miami or Utah also fare at the top of the league in defensive ratings. Last season, the Lakers finished third and Bucks finished first in the NBA Defensive Team ratings. The impact is much greater when these two are on the floor for their respective teams.

Most Valuable Player

Luka Doncic
The future “GOAT” has been primed for the MVP this year. The Mavericks enter a slightly reshaped Western Conference. Luka can lead the Mavericks to a successful season and put the Mavericks at the fourth seed at best in a stacked Western Conference.

We saw without Kristaps Porzingas he led Dallas into the playoffs. Enter the NBA Bubble and Doncic was still the prime reason for Dallas’ success. Porzingas couldn’t finish the first-round matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers due to a knee injury. Luka’s Game 4 game-winner helped push the series to six games. Look for the Mavericks to take the next step towards contenders this season under Luka’s leadership and play.

Runner-Up:
Stephen Curry
Finding a guy who will matter more to his team more than anything start to drift away beyond Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry. With the return of a partially healthy Warriors roster and James Wiseman the newest addition the Warriors will be in battles night in and night out.

Curry, arguably the best shooter of all-time, has his work cut out this season to push the Warriors back to contenders. Can he average around 28-30 points per game? Can he knock down 3-5 three-point field goals a game? Why am I questioning this? I’m not he’s going to do this! A revenge season for Curry and attempting to return the Warriors back atop of the West will ride on his play.


Staff Picks

Chevall Kanhai

Cody Guinn

Gabe Lloyd

Rhoby Sala

Most Valuable Player

Luka Doncic

LeBron James

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

Rookie of the Year

James Wiseman

Obi Toppin

LaMelo Ball

James Wiseman

Defensive Player of the Year

Anthony Davis

G. Antetokounmpo

G. Antetokounmpo

Anthony Davis

Most Improved Player of the Year

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.

Sixth Man of the Year

Montrezl Harrell

Tyler Herro

Spencer Dinwiddie

Montrezl Harrell

Coach of the Year

Rick Carlisle

Taylor Jenkins

Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra




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