Since the pre-season is underway, we are taking time to predict what the awards will be like at the end of the year! Last time, we went over who we thought might be the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and who could end up with the Lead Scoring Award. This time, we are assessing who will step up as sixth man and Most Improved Player of the year. Will a surprising rising star appear or will a major MVP candidate get injured? Here we have our top four predictions for every single award, ranked by who we think will take home the big awards!
Most Improved Player
The most improved player is an award given out to a player that has had a drastic change over the course of the season. The most improved player is one given to someone who might have switched teams or adjusted their role.
Why We Think He’ll Win: Harrison Barnes was put on the Warriors’ chopping block and signed a hefty deal with the Dallas Mavericks. He’s been put in the spotlight. During this transition, it is important for him to step up. The front office will build the team around him helping him only succeed.
Why he won’t win: He’s too big of a star. Harrison Barnes might not be the most amazing player ever but, after signing a mega deal, will he really turn around? Dallas also has a habit of ruining stars. Will Harrison Barnes change that? Only time will tell.
Why We Think He’ll Win: Jabari Parker has everything he needs to be a top superstar. He is right at the end of jumping into stardom. This season might be the one! He was a top pick in the draft and a player from Duke. He has the experience on his plate. Now, he just needs to play the game and breakout.
Why we think he won’t win: The Bucks might not give him the opportunity to do so. With LaMarcus on the trade rumors, there is talk about possibly sending Monroe or Parker to the Spurs. This might help Parker big time in his career. However, it might not be the time for him to win the award then.
Why we think he’ll win: Myles Turner is a scary man. He can be a great center in the NBA. Coming out of Trinity High School and then UT Austin, he can play in whatever capacity he’s in. Now, he just needs to show it! With a tougher division slowly being formed, the team will need him to step up now more than ever. The Eastern conference has a lot of competitive big men. Myles Turner can easily be a leader if he wants.
Why we think he won’t win: Due to many competitive players in the Eastern conference, Myles Turner could fade into the background. With Al Harford, Hassan Whiteside, and Kevin Love all competing to rule the East, Myles Turner can easily become an afterthought for us. His most improved season will only work if he puts out stellar numbers. He needs to shows us that great change is not only possible but very likely. Myles Turner is also only a sophomore. He can easily develop still, maybe passing him up on this title.
Why we think he’ll win: Now that the world-famous Kobe Farewell Tour has come to an end, its time for Russell to show us why he was drafted. He’s not there to replace Kobe Bryant as a star but as a player. D’Angelo needs to truly up his game and step up as a leader. Russell has the possibly of making this season monstrous.
Why we think he won’t win: D’Angelo winning this award depends heavily on his teammates. He needs everyone to do well overall and preform to the best of their capabilities. If the Lakers have a horrible year, which is possible, D’Angelo will be called up for questioning on why he hasn’t stepped up.
Honorary mentions: Anthony Davis, Dennis Schroder, Patty Mills
6th Man of the Year
Why we think he’ll win: The Raptors are entering a big year as their conference gets harder. They must realize the potential in Cory Joseph. Joseph showed signs of greatness that last year. He scored 18 points in a playoff game. As a former NBA Champion, he has what it takes to help a team from the bench and will display that leadership on the team. Coming in for Kyle Lowry, he’ll make sure that the energy never dies down and that your “secondary” lineup is just as strong.
Why we think he won’t win: The back court of the Raptors is already strong. Cory Joseph might not get the playing time he deserves, since Kyle Lowry will be taking a heavy load this year. The Raptors know that this is a big year for them and they need to excel.
Why we think he’ll win: He deserves it! If there is one person who is often overlooked at 6th man, its JJ Barea. The Mavericks have made Barea a priority. He has shown time and time again that he is one of the toughest guys on the court. He can rip through the paint for a layup and doesn’t mind getting hit along the way. Just go back and watch Andrew Bynum attack him during the playoffs!
Why we think he won’t win: His role isn’t defined on the team. The Dallas Mavericks are struggling for their identity. Over time, JJ Barea gets lost in the shuffle. Dallas has two possibilities for 6th man. Instead of letting one take over, they’ll rotate them and they are okay with that. Dallas isn’t there for the awards but for the wins and the fans.
Why we think he’ll win: Brandon Knight is arguably a quality starting player. He can come off the bench and be just as impactful as anyone on his team, which is a major reason he should be considered for this honor.
Why we think he won’t win: Just like his friend, Jabari Parker, there are rumors about Knight possibly being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, Spurs, or 76ers. He has the capability of being a solid starting Point guard but it just comes down to his team.
Why we think he’ll win: Predicted as one of the highest possibilities for this award, he has been someone who on the watch for a while. He serves as a solid anchor on the court and is very dependable. He might not break out and put up crazy numbers but he’ll always be there to help his team. That’s what OKC needs right now.
Why we think he won’t win: He’s going to have a solid role in Oklahoma but it’s unclear how big of a role. With Kevin Durant gone, the OKC front office is ready to make changes to bring some supporting staff. Enes Kanter is a great piece of bait to help bring in talent. Whether he will be traded or pushed further down, nobody knows. That causes a lot of ambiguity.