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2021 NBA Player Awards predictions

DENVER, CO – JANUARY 8: Luka Doncic (77) of the Dallas Mavericks prepares to play defense against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter at Ball Arena on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz / MediaNews Group / The Denver Post via Getty Images)

What separates the NBA from all other professional sports is often what happens disabled floor. It has grown into a storytelling-driven association, albeit a fast-paced, action-packed contest. There are always a handful of interesting stories, most of which dictate the ever-exciting NBA player award races at the end of the season. With the new season just over a month away, we’re making our predictions for who we think will win each illustrious award at the end of the season.

Rookie of the Year – Cade Cunningham

Few rookies in this draft class are in a better position for immediate success like the one who Cade Cunningham The former Oklahoma Sooner is one of the most physically unique playmakers in the NBA, weighing 6’8 and over 220 pounds. Although he is tall, he has the ability to put the ball into the basket at high volume, while still being able to facilitate an attack.

With the league’s new direction with the prevalence of positionless basketball, Cunningham is very switchable on the floor as he can shoot over 40% from beyond the arc in college. Cunningham runs a young, raw and hungry Detroit Pistons organization as they seek to rebuild the franchise with Cade at the helm. While they’re nowhere near in the playoff contention on paper, fans have a lot to be excited about with their first overall pick. It’s by no means a hot catch, but Cade Cunningham should be considered the overwhelming favorite for Rookie of the Year.

My honorable mentions: Jalen Green, Suggestions from Jalen, Jonathan kuminga

Sixth Man of the Year – Jordan Clarkson

Utah Jazz Guard Jordan clarkson is fortunate to have his name etched among some of the greatest role players in the NBA, historically speaking. The sixth man of the year, despite being one of the most prestigious awards for NBA players, often returns to the same hands season after season before the Following great bench player takes over. After winning the coveted award in 2020-21, Jordan Clarkson is looking to repeat.

Clarkson is a great volume scorer who could potentially start in a handful of teams around the association. Having to save both Donovan mitchell and Mike Conley, there are simply not enough minutes for the three to share the floor together. Clarkson can provide second unit starting minutes, perhaps better than any other role player in the league, and the margin seems to be stretching even further. If Clarkson even offers an identical 2021-22 season, this NBA player award is his to lose.

My honorable mentions: Tyler herro, Terance mann, Tyrese Haliburton

Defensive Player of the Year – Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Greek Freak is one of the most unique specimens to ever set foot in the NBA. It’s amazing when a player is a nightmare to keep offensively and can also take control of games defensively on the other end. Giannis embodies that elite level of two-way prowess that occurs once or twice per generation. His combination of size, speed, strength and athleticism is unmatched as he continues to evolve into one of the best players of this generation.

While the MVP race typically has a handful of faces up for grabs, Giannis is clearly a favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year honors. While there will be the usual suspects by his side, Giannis is the bedrock of a Bucks defense that can lock down any of the other 29 teams on any given night. Whether it’s rim protection, ball assist or perimeter guard, Giannis is one of the elite in all areas and should be given another DPOY to his CV.

My honorable mentions: Rudy Gobert, Bam Adebayo, Ben simmons

Most Improved Player – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Perhaps the most difficult NBA Player Award to predict, the NBA Most Improved Player Award is a career-changing honor for whoever is lucky enough to receive it. But how to measure it prematurely? Which players are ready for a big leap? Who can have such an impact on their team to elevate their organization to new heights? After analyzing many candidates around the association, it’s hard to ignore the growth potential this season for Shai Gilgeous-Alexandre.

The Oklahoma City Thunder won’t win an NBA championship any time soon, sorry to ruin some of your hopes. But there are still many reasons to be excited about this organization, and it starts with SGA. Shai is an All-Star awaiting a breakthrough, and turning into an unmistakable All-Star season should be worthy of recognition this year. Not only if Shai receives All-Star honors, but if he can make this raw and rambling OKC group any headache for the opponents, then all the credit goes to him.

My honorable mentions: Kevin Porter Jr, Collin sexton, Robert williams iii

Most Valuable Player – Luka Doncic

As it stands, Vegas Insider has Luka Doncic as a +400 favorite to win the illustrious MVP award this season. For the Slovenian phenomenon to reach this higher level, it is going to have to go beyond it once again. Aside from Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks don’t have the most talent in the NBA, far from it to be completely honest. They experienced a steady drop in Doncic’s running mate Kristaps Porzingis, and while there is some decent outside shooting around Doncic, there isn’t any other star power needed to win in today’s NBA.

But don’t count the odds of Doncic. Sooner or later he’s going to start racking up MVPs after MVP awards, and that could start as early as 2021-2022. His game was good enough to catapult Dallas to fifth in a busy Western Conference, and played like an NBA mega star in the playoffs despite early elimination. If Doncic can build on a strong playoffs and Olympic performance, he will look terrifying this year, and while the prize has many viable contenders, it could very well be that Doncic loses.

My honorable mentions: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic

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