By Isaac Stolmeier
As the 2021 season begins and a few NBA games have been played, it’s time to predict who will take home the NBA Season Awards! These awards include Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, 6th Man of the Year, and Most Improved Player of the Year.
Most Improved Player of the Year
Christian Wood, PF/C, Houston Rockets
Christian Wood is on his 6th NBA team in 5 years, but his days as a journeyman may be coming to a close in Houston. He signed a 3 year / $41 million contract with the Rockets this offseason after his breakout performance last season with the Detroit Pistons. A high-level rebounder who can score from all 3 levels, he is poised to be a strong running-mate with offensive superstar James Harden.
Honorable Mentions: DeAndre Ayton, Jaylen Brown, Michael Porter Jr.
6th Man of the Year
Lou Williams, G, Los Angeles Clippers
This prediction feels a bit lazy, but the 15-year veteran has proven to be one of the greatest 6th men of all time. In addition to winning the award 3 times already, he was a finalist for this award last year. The other finalists, Dennis Schröder and Montrezl Harrel, are both starters for the Los Angeles Lakers, whereas Williams has maintained his 6th man status for the Clips. There is no reason why Lou Williams can’t win 6MOTY for a 4th time.
Honorable Mentions: Danilo Gallinari, Jordan Clarkson, Goran Dragic
Rookie of the Year
James Wiseman, C, Golden State Warriors
#2 overall pick James Wiseman could not be in a better situation with the Warriors. Superstar Steph Curry will be the primary focus of the opponent’s defense, and Steve Kerr’s offensive system will give the former Memphis Tiger the space he needs to dominate inside. Still only 19, Wiseman should be a franchise building block as the Warriors look to return to contention next season when Klay Thompson returns from injury.
Honorable Mentions: Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, Obi Toppin
Defensive Player of the Year
Ben Simmons, G, Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons is one of the most divisive players in the NBA. His unusual size and skillset for an NBA point guard are the cause of endless debate, but one thing that cannot be disputed is his ability to defend. He is one of the most versatile defenders the league has ever seen, being able to defend the post with his 6’10 and 240 lb. frame, but also having the length (He has a 7′ wingspan) and the agility to keep up with guards on the perimeter. The 76ers star led the league in steals last season, and with the Sixers hiring the defensive-minded Doc Rivers as their new head coach, look out for Ben Simmons to be a defensive force this season.
Honorable Mentions: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Marcus Smart, Anthony Davis
Most Valuable Player
Luka Dončić, G, Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks have done it again, landing another European NBA star with the 21-year old Luka Doncic. After he averaged 29-9-9 for Dallas last season, all eyes are on Doncic to take the next step in his progression. He has it in him to average a 30 point triple double, if he can shoot at an efficient level and lead the revamped Mavericks to a top 3 seed in the West, it would be well within reason for “Wonder Boy” to bring the MVP trophy back to Dallas.
Honorable Mentions: Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, James Harden