Who Will Take Home The Hardware At The NBA Awards

Trevi Alickolli, Social Media Editor

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The NBA regular season is wrapping up and the playoffs are just around the corner. But even more exciting, for some anyway, the league will announce the regular season awards shortly. With that, let the debates begin.

Here are my predictions for who should be going home with some hardware.

(All statistics as of March 29, 2019, via ESPN)

Most Valuable Player: James Harden, Houston Rockets

The case for Harden to win MVP is very simple and it can almost make itself. The Houston superstar is averaging a league-leading, career-high, 36.2 points per game while almost single-handedly putting his team in position for a deep playoff run. For the defensive critics, he also averages 2.13 steals per game, second to only Defensive Player of the Year candidate Paul George. Sure, he’s not the most dominant defensive guard in the league, but Harden more than makes up for it of the other end of the floor. His competition for this year’s award is Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose main case is that he has led his team to a better position in the standings. If that is the case, Harden should have won the 2017 MVP over Russell Westbrook. Harden had his team in position as the number one seed in the Western Conference but Westbrook was rewarded because of his statistical dominance. Consistency is key: what Harden has done this season, game after game, is unmatched. He should be the MVP. Do not take what he is doing for granted just because he makes it looks so easy.

Defensive Player of the Year: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder

George was in the running for MVP for most of the season, solely because he was such a dominant force on each end of the floor. The MVP campaign, unfortunately, did not stick, but he has undoubtedly been the most disruptive force to offenses this season. As mentioned before, he averages a league-best 2.14 steals per game and he can lock down any position, one through four on the floor. Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard are also contenders, but George’s versatility to lock up guards and forwards alike in an offensive league gives him the edge over Embiid in my opinion and Leonard’s case has been dismissed due to the fact that he has sat out too many games.

Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers

Lou Will is the leading scorer on a Western Conference playoff team, with over 20 PPG. He also leads his team in assists with 5.3 per game. But truth be told, if it was possible, I would give this award to him along with his teammate Montrezl Harrell. They have flat out dominated as a duo off the bench this season.

Rookie of the Year: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks has put together a stretch recently to create some interest in this race, but Doncic has simply put together a longer, more consistent campaign throughout the whole season. He ranks first among rookies with 21.0 PPG and second in rebounds and assists, all while having the highest usage percentage. Luka is very much deserving of this award, but both he and Young will develop into great NBA players in the future.

Most Improved: Paskal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

Siakam has nearly doubled his scoring from a year ago while being one of the more consistent players on his team, the second best on the Raptors next to Leonard. Come summer, if Leonard does, in fact, decide to leave in free agency, Siakam’s development will soften the blow. In fact, he might be a big reason why Leonard might decide to stay with the team.

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee Bucks

Jason Kidd is the last legitimate head coach the Bucks have had and that clearly did not work out. Under Budenholzer, the Bucks have the best record in the NBA and the difference from a year ago to now is evident. They are tied for the number one ranked offense in the league with the Golden State Warriors while being ranked number one in defensive rating. Many believe they have the best shot at the Warriors this post-season.