It’s that time of the year where fans and media members make their early predictions on the upcoming NBA season. The 2020-2021 season is set to begin on December 22 and it will be a fresh start for players in the game to make their mark on the league. While next season will not follow an 82-game schedule, it will still feature an action-packed season. With that said, let’s take a look at the predictions of the major awards heading into 2021.
Coach of the Year: Steve Nash
Among the various NBA predictions, the potential is there for Nash to break out into the coaching world and win the prestigious award for coaches in his first season. It’s not even that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are the main reasons either. Both players are superstars and healthy, which is most important. However, a coach is only as good as his assistants and the first-year coach surrounded himself with some solid assistants.
Jacque Vaughn took over as the interim coach after the team fired Kenny Atkinson midway through the season. Vaughn helped lead a team that had no Irving or Durant down the stretch and qualified for the playoffs. Former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni joined. Say what you want, but D’Antoni can almost serve as an offensive coordinator, while Ime Udoka was one of the most highly regarded assistants in the league.
Taken from Pixabay
Rookie of the Year: LaMelo Ball
Some of you could see Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman in the fold, but Ball is going to have the most asked out of him. The Timberwolves have Karl Anthony-Towns Jr and D’Angelo Russell. The Warriors will have Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green. Even though both Edwards and Wiseman will be starters, both of them have a significantly lighter load to handle.
What does Ball have? Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward? LaMelo has the highest expectations of going into a franchise. Ever since Ball scored 92 points in high school, NBA teams have waited for this moment for Ball to prove he can be a dominant scorer on the highest stage. Ball shot 25% from three-point range in the NPL, which likely scared Minnesota from taking him No. 1 overall. However, he played only 12 games last year. We can’t look past that he has played international basketball in the last two seasons. Ball maybe 19 years old, but he is somewhat of a veteran.
Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Last season, Giannis led the league in field goals, two-point field goals, defensive rebounds, player efficiency rating, usage percentage, win shares per 48 minutes, box plus/minus, defensive rating, and defensive win shares. While we know that he may never be a great outside shooter, Giannis is one of the best post players of our generation.
Without Giannis, the Bucks are not favored in most NBA game predictions. It would be a historic feat if Giannis can win the award for the third year in a row. The last person to do that? Larry Bird won the last three-peats from 1984-1986. Giannis isn’t even 30 years old. This could be a transcendent season, especially with it being a contract year for the Bucks big man.