It’s time for NBA awards predictions 2021. As we go back to the 82-game season, fans can expect individual players to put up unreal performances all throughout the 2021-22 NBA season.
NBA awards predictions 2021
NBA awards winners are forever cemented to history. It might be a team sport, but individual performances are recognized to the highest level each year. Winning the championship and MVP are two completely different feats a player can get.
Now, let’s predict who will win the MVP, DPOY, MIP, COY, and ROY awards respectively. Check out my early NBA awards predictions in 2021 below…
Most Valuable Player: Luka Doncic
It’s no secret that Luka Doncic is the favorite to win the 2021-2022 MVP award—and it’s not entirely farfetched. After all, he did put up monstrous stats last season while leading the Mavericks as fifth-seed in the West. He averaged 27.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.6 assists on 48% shooting.
In addition, Dallas has added key role players in their lineup such as Reggie Bullock, Sterling Brown, Frank Ntilikina, and Moses Brown. There are also rumors that Goran Dragic might join his fellow Slovenian in Texas. As you can see, it may not be an ideal offseason for them but it’s definitely an improvement from last season. These are enough to make them competitive in the tough Western Conference. We might also see Kristaps Porzingis bounce back after struggling last year.
Barring injuries, Doncic’s remarkable play will definitely continue next season. He’s already a complete player with great size and feel for the game. If he can improve his free-throw percentage (currently at 73%) to the 80% range then expect Luka to average 30 next season. He’ll definitely be in the MVP conversation all year long.
Lastly, the MVP award has been won by European players for the past three years. It’s not surprising anymore to see a European player dominate the league nowadays.
Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Simmons
Albeit lacking shooting, Ben Simmons has been a disruptor on the defensive end. He’s an elite defender mainly due to his size and wingspan. Standing at 6’11” with a 7′ wingspan, he can guard multiple positions on the floor. He’s already a matchup nightmare for opposing guards due to him being a point guard in Philly’s rotation. At the same time, he’s big and strong enough to battle against opposing big men in the paint.
Last season, Simmons averaged 5.6 defensive rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 0.6 blocks. It’s on par with Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s DPOY year in 2019. In addition, he had a Defensive Win Shares of 3.3 (9th in the league) and a Defensive Rating of 106.1 (5th in the league) while leading the Sixers as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
Unlike Gobert, Simmons’ defensive versatility to guard 1-5 positions are very valuable to whatever team he may be in.
He simply brings more to the table when it comes to defense—and that’s what it should be when considering someone an elite defender. As long as Simmons stays healthy, he’s a legit Defensive Player of the Year contender. We might see him get traded to a new team first before the NBA tip-off.
Most Improved Player: Michael Porter Jr.
Michael Porter Jr. is a clear favorite to win the Most Improved Player award, and we can see why. Last season, he averaged 19.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists on 54% shooting. It was his breakout season.
Porter’s shooting is his bread and butter. He likes to pull up anywhere on the floor even if there’s a defender in front of him. His size combined with his high release makes his jumper unstoppable. Simply put, his game is Kevin Durant-esque without the shifty handles.
Before the 2018 NBA Draft, Porter was projected to go first overall. However, he suffered a major injury in college which lowered his draft stock. Still, he’s a clear lottery talent when healthy. Denver simply took the risk in taking him with their 14th pick. Now, they are reaping the rewards as they got an All-Star caliber player next to reigning league-MVP, Nikola Jokic.
Without Jamal Murray, Porter is the clear second option on offense. We expect him to continue his breakout season this year. Porter winning MIP is one of the NBA awards predictions in 2021-22 that makes a lot of sense.
Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan
Billy Donovan winning COY is one of my underrated NBA picks. After so many rebuilding seasons, Chicago finally pulled the trigger in the offseason. They improved their entire roster in the hopes of ending their playoff drought. Some notable names they acquired in free agency are Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso.
As you can see, the Bulls have a deep lineup. This makes Donovan a legit Coach of the Year candidate. Given the right talent, he can elevate the team to the playoffs—just like what he did in his five seasons with the Thunder. He had a 60% winning percentage in the regular season and reached the playoffs in every season he has been there.
There’s no reason he can’t replicate the same success in Chicago. Let’s face it, he’s not a developmental coach. Rather, he’s a playoff coach who has been leading All-Star caliber players his entire NBA coaching career. The arrival of Ball and DeRozan on the team and the emergence of Zach LaVine as an All-Star make the Bulls a competitive team.
If Chicago finishes as a top seed in the East, the panel of sportswriters will definitely take notice and cast their votes to Donovan. Just like what happened last season with Tom Thibodeau winning the COY award.
Rookie of the Year: Jalen Green
Jalen Green: “I feel like I’m the best player in the class. I didn’t go No. 1, so I’m going to go get the Rookie of the Year.”
Those are big words from the 19-year old rookie but we definitely can see where his confidence is coming from. Green’s game is Vince Carter-like with his elite scoring and crazy athleticism. He already played in the G-League which makes him ready enough to play in a grown man’s league.
We already saw a glimpse of his elite scoring ability in the G-League where he averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game on 46% shooting. In his three games in the Summer League, Green averaged 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2 assists per game on 51% shooting. As you can see, he’s already NBA-ready based on his prior experience as a pro. Still, he’s still barely scratching the surface with his upside.
Green winning the Rookie of the Year award is one of my favorite NBA season predictions. In the latest ESPN poll, he had 72% first-place votes to win the award.
As a young team, Houston will definitely give Green all the minutes he can handle. With Wall getting shut down, Kevin Porter Jr. will act as the main primary ball-handler in the backcourt. Meanwhile, Green will play as a shooting guard and do what he does best—get buckets. The Rockets are a fun team to watch this year and expect a lot of highlights from him.