MVP- LeBron James
Max: It’ll be interesting to watch how much Cleveland tries to manage his minutes, but I think LeBron plays enough to win his fifth MVP. If he plays 70 games and averages 20-8-5, given the likelihood of Kevin Durant and steph curry splitting votes and the unlikelihood of the thunder winning 50 games, that will be enough.
MVP – Giannis Antetokounmpo
Kelly: I know, I know I’m going a little out on a ledge here, but hear me out. Giannis is moving to a new position, better known as “point Giannis.” He along with Jabari Parker will be the focal points of Jason Kidd’s offense. He averaged 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.9 blocks per game in the second half of last season – that’s getting close to a double-double or even a triple-double per game! Right now, the East is pretty open outside of Cleveland and if Giannis can lead the Bucks on a resurgent year, getting them in the top 4, I think he has to be in consideration.
DPoY- Draymond Green
Max: Kevin Durant is going to fit into the Warriors offense flawlessly. He’ll take all of Harrison Barnes’ shots and steal a few from Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Where Golden State needs to work is on defense. Enter Green, one of the most versatile and intimidating defenders in the league. Look for him to play a lot of center minutes in Golden State’s updated version of the Death Lineup. With Andrew Bogut gone it will be on Green to protect the rim. I expect him to be more than up to the task.
DPoY – Anthony Davis
Kelly: I’m trying not to pick the same guys as Max so when he takes LeBron and Draymond he makes my life a little difficult. Still, Anthony Davis, the Brow, had a down year last year, but just a year before he was averaging just under three blocks per game and about 10 rebounds. Davis will be the centerpiece of the Pelicans offense – no surprise there – but where he can really make his mark is using his incredible unique skill set and pick up the defensive player of the year nomination.
RoY- Brandon Ingram
Max: New coach Luke Walton will bring a much-needed and refreshing West Coast vibe to a young Lakers team and his offense should put up lots of points. D’Angelo Russell is poised for a breakout season and Ingram will be on the receiving end of lots of passes from the young point guard. Ingram, with Ben Simmons nursing an injury, will put up more numbers than anyone else in this class and that may be enough to win this award.
RoY – Jaylen Brown
Kelly: The Boston Celtics are another team that has a chance to make a run in the East and Jaylen Brown could very well be a crucial part of that team. The rookie has veterans like Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford to learn from, but in a team that doesn’t have a ton of stars, Brown could be the bright one.
Sixth Man- Andre Iguodala
Max: No player impacts the game more off of the bench than Iguodala. His defense and willingness to put the team first unlocks so many key ingredients that make the Warriors a special team. He’ll face another set of high-scoring challenges, from Jamal Crawford to maybe even Brandon Knight, but Andre should come away with this award.
Sixth Man- Andre Iguodala
Kelly: I did a really good job of picking someone different than Max in all the other categories so I’m jumping on board this train. People will forget about Iggy with Durant in town, but that’s a mistake. I think he’ll continue to be a crucial part of this team, especially without the other players they had last year like Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli.