The NBA season has been a series of starts and stops. Teams have been scrambling trying to keep enough players healthy from game to game. Even with all of the uncertainty going on in the NBA(really the world), there have still been plenty of great performances that have lead to favorites already for the top NBA awards.
From LeBron James to Donovan Mitchell the NBA has seen its share of amazing performances so far this year. Yes, it is early but MVP and other major awards narratives have already started to take shape. Here are some of the early favorites for some of the major NBA awards from Defensive Player of the Year to MVP.
Top NBA Awards-Rookie of the Year
With barely any training camp or preseason, NBA rookies have had to learn on the fly. There however have been several standouts so far and here are the top three.
James Wiseman is the early favorite for this top NBA award. Wiseman had a slow start to the year but has come on as of late scoring in double digits five straight games while playing excellent defense. Wiseman came off the bench last game but it didn’t matter as he put up a season-high 25 points.
2. LaMelo Ball
LaMelo Ball was the media favorite as the season started. This is not to say his play has completely dropped off but his overall shooting is down and his turnovers are up the last several games. The shooting was already an issue and it is down to 40.3 from the field.
Tyrese Haliburton is the surprise name on this list not because of his play but because coming into the year he wasn’t highly touted like the first two on the list. Haliburton though has been excellent rather than starting or coming off the bench. Haliburton is averaging 11.1 points per game while shooting a whopping 45.7 percent from the 3-point range!
Top NBA Awards- Defensive Player of the Year
This is one of the top NBA awards that has gone to a forward or centers the last several years with Rudy Gobert winning two years ago and Giannis Antentokumpo winning last year. Will it be different this year?
1. Rudy Gobert
The winner from two years ago has not missed a beat. He is first in defensive rebounds and second in block shots. His team is currently on a 10 game winning streak which is the best in the league so far this year.
2. Clint Capela
Even though Capela has been hurt part of the year he still has been one of the most dominant players on the defensive end. Capela is currently fourth in defensive rebounding and third in block shots. Capela has also improved on his coverage away from the basket when being switched onto smaller guards.
For anyone that does basketball betting or daily fantasy sports Capela has been one of the players that has probably made you a lot of money
The Lakers are top five in almost every defensive metric. Team defense is a big part of it but it comes down to Anthony Davis ability to guard players one through five. Davis on a night in and night basis covers the entire floor and never seems to be in the wrong spot on any defensive rotation.
Top NBA Awards-Most Valuable Player
This year MVP award will be a little more special because of all the extenuating circumstances that plagues every team. With the NBA new health and safety guidelines players will be in and out of the lineup all year. It will be a major achievement to still thrive in today NBA. Here is the top three favorites so far for MVP.
1. Joel Embiid
Despite the lackluster play of Ben Simmons and the players that have missed time for the Philadelphia 76ers the team still has the best record in the Eastern Conference after their thrilling win over the Los Angles Lakers in there last game. A big reason for that is the play of All-Star center Joel Embiid who is averaging 27.7 points 11.1 rebounds and shooting 54.6 percent from the field.
Nikola Jokic has somehow improved on last year where he was a top-three center leading the Denver Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals. This season Jokic has been even better almost averaging a triple-double at 25.2 points 11.8 rebounds and 8.9 assists. The entire team revolves around Jokic which is one of the top requirements for an MVP.
3. LeBron James
I know why is LeBron James not number one. Yes he has had another great start to the the season. Actually in some aspects better than last year. James might by the end of the year leapfrog Jokic and Embiid and win another MVP but having another potential top five player on your team drops you in the rankings.
LeBron is still the best player on the Lakers but Davis isn’t for behind and on some days Davis is the top dog. Jokic and Embiid do not have the co star a LeBron James is blessed with. This doesn’t take away from James at 36 still having the ability to be the most dominant player on the court he just doesn’t have to on a nightly basis for the Lakers to win.
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