Miami Heat’s Adebayo, Nunn Among NBA Award Finalists

The NBA released their top 3 finalists for each NBA award today, which included Miami’s Kendrick Nunn and Bam Adebayo. These awards are given based on the player’s play before the NBA shut down, which was when Heat players were rolling. Here’s the award finalists, along with some predictions.

Most Valuable Player Finalists: Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, and James Harden

There was not much of a surprise here, since these three guys have been the best players of the 2020 season statistically. But, this award is not a statistical award. The reason for the award was to reward the player who was the most “valuable” to their team. For example, players like Chris Paul and Jimmy Butler have been two of the most valuable pieces this season due to their leadership to elevate their respective teams. This is not to say that these guys shouldn’t be the finalists, since Lebron and Giannis have lead their teams to the number one seed in their respective conferences. Giannis should have the slight edge over LeBron for reasons that include: a better record, not having a top 5 second option, and a case could be made a harder conference. But, if this award is just based on statistics, maybe it’s best to change the award to Best Statistical Player.

Prediction: Giannis Antetokounmpo

 

Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, Kendrick Nunn

It was pretty clear that Ja Morant and Zion Williamson would be numbers one and two on this ballot, but some questioned the third slot. Kendrick Nunn was the second best rookie in the league before Zion Williamson made his NBA debut, and he was still up their with these guys after his return. Some of Kendrick’s latest play has forced people not to remember his offensive success early in the season, mostly because it’s been about 12 months since the season first began. And as mentioned in the tweet above, he hasn’t had the easiest route to where he is now. Although he’s been great for Miami this season, he didn’t carry the same load that a guy like Ja Morant did, which gives him the slight edge.

Prediction: Ja Morant

 

Most Improved Player: Bam Adebayo, Brandon Ingram, Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic being considered a most improved player surprised some people, but it really isn’t that crazy. Luka went from 21 points a game to 29 points a game, and increased his assist and rebound average by 3 and 2 respectively. But, he hasn’t made the same improvements that Bam Adebayo and Brandon Ingram did. The reason the Ingram and Adebayo race is so close is because their games are totally different. Ingram is a natural scorer while Bam is an all around player. This is another award that the NBA seems to always look in the PPG column, when in reality it’s about total improvements. Bam has went from a back up center to a top 5 center in the NBA, and has played a major role on a contender while Ingram wasn’t even a contender for an eight seed until he had the help of Zion Williamson. Based on an all around improvements, Bam Adebayo clearly has the edge over Brandon Ingram and Luka Doncic.

Prediction: Bam Adebayo

 


Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert

While these three players have clearly been at the front of this award all season, there are some other names that should’ve been considered as well. Ben Simmons and Bam Adebayo are two players that were most likely close behind, since they play both interior and perimeter defense at such a high level. These finalists do this as well, which is why it’s basically a toss up of who you choose. Giannis Antetokounmpo will probably take this award home, due to his strength, quickness, and length on the defensive side. If you asked NBA players who they wouldn’t want to go against out of these three, it would probably be Giannis unanimously, since he’s just a 7 foot athletic freak of nature.

Prediction: Giannis Antetokounmpo

 

Sixth Man of the Year: Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder, Lou Williams

For starters, how can two people from the same team be considered a “sixth” man. Especially when the stats are so close between a bunch of different bench pieces, including Goran Dragic, how does he get the edge. Not saying he hasn’t been great, because if there was a seventh man award, I’d give it to him. Anyway, Goran Dragic has had as good of a year as both Lou and Dennis had, except Goran’s had to carry much more of a load. Not saying Goran should win the award, but a top three finish should’ve been awarded. And between Lou and Dennis, Dennis should have the edge over Lou Williams this year, due to both efficiency reasons and, as said in the tweet above, not having another bench anchor with him.

Prediction: Dennis Schroder

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