Column: NBA award predictions

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry celebrates after scoring against the Houston Rockets during the first half in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The NBA Playoffs are officially underway. So without further ado, here are my 2015-16 NBA regular season award predictions: 

Rookie of the Year

Karl-Anthony Towns is my hands-down pick for Rookie of the Year. The number one overall pick out of Kentucky in 2015 has taken the league by storm in his freshman year campaign. The big man averaged 18 points and 10.5 rebounds in the 32 minutes he averaged this season. He also recorded nearly two blocks per game.

Towns is a shoe-in future NBA All-Star. He is going to be one of the best big men the association has seen in years. There should be no more talk, whines or drama about Dwight Howard’s dominant play in Houston. Towns and Detroit Pistons center, Andre Drummond, are the future at the center position.

Coach of the Year

This category is the most difficult due to the plethora of great coaching candidates this season. I believe the award will go to Steve Kerr because his team broke the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 regular season record with a 73-9 finish. However, I do not think it is fair. Kerr missed nearly half the season. I do not think he is a bad coach by any means, but lets be real, my mother could have coached the Warriors to at least 60 wins. That team is built with selfless veterans who have only one goal in mind, winning. They have the deepest and the most talented roster in the league. They were unstoppable with and without Kerr this year.

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens reacts on the sidelines in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

My personal pick would be Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics. Stevens has turned that team around 180 degrees in the past three years. The Celtics finished with a 48-34 record, a 23-game improvement from two years ago.

Sixth Man of the Year

This one is a toss up. My two finalists are Jordan Crawford and Andre Iguodala. I am going to go with Iguodala strictly because of the Warriors remarkable season. He has picked up exactly where he left off in last year’s NBA Finals. His stats do not jump off the page (7 ppg, 3.4 apg and 4 rpg), but they are proof of how well rounded he is on the floor. He is simply a play maker.

Iggy’s defensive prowess also cannot be overlooked. He is 6’6’’ and 215 pounds of pure muscle. He is capable of covering small quick forwards on the perimeter and deep in the post. He reminds me of Kawhi Leonard on the defensive end at times.

Most Improved Player

This may be an absurd answer, but the most improved player in the NBA is the reigning MVP, Stephen Curry. Curry hit 402 three-pointers this season. He broke his own regular season record of 286. That is not a typo. He absolutely smashed his own NBA record by 116 threes. Curry also averaged nearly seven more points per game this season, a jump from 23.8 ppg to 30.1 ppg.

Defensive Player of the Year

Kawai Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs has proven during the past two seasons that his lock down performance of LeBron James in the 2013-14 NBA Finals was not a fluke. Leonard is the most versatile, driven and most of all, humble, defensive player in the NBA.

Most Valuable Player

Does this even need an answer? Steph Curry, hands down. The man has had one of the most unbelievable stat-stuffing seasons of all time. I can’t even do him justice by writing all the records and performances down in a single paragraph.

However, other players did have remarkable seasons during the “Year of Curry.” Kawhi Leonard emerged as a defensive and offensive superstar. Russell Westbrook recorded the most triple-doubles in a season since Magic Johnson. However, Curry is the pick without a hesitation. It will be interesting to see if he is unanimous or not. 


Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at edward.leonard_iii@uconn.edu. He tweets @EddieLeonard23.