With the 2019-20 NBA regular season on hold and basketball lovers like you likely curled up in the fetal position because of the lack of roundball action, you’re going to have a brief, light-hearted moment to take your mind off of the global coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the globe thanks to this fun-filled look at the 2020 NBA awards Odds that would be handed out if the season ended today!
NBA Awards If Season Ended Today
With that said, let’s get started with what wins championships in the NBA – defense!
Defensive Player of the Year NBA Odds
The Defensive Player of the Year Race looks like a done deal to me with reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo as my winner over reigning two-time winner Rudy Gobert, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and the LA Lakers Anthony Davis.
While it is the Greek Freak’s nearly unlimited offensive ability that garners him the lion’s share of the adoration he gets, make no mistake about it, Antetokounmpo is a fierce competitor at the defensive end of the floor.
Milwaukee’s main man can do it all at the defensive end of the floor, from jumping into passing lanes for timely steals and meets opponents at the rim with regularity when he isn’t chasing them down for highlight-reel making blocks. Opponents are only scoring 96.5 points per 100 possessions against Milwaukee with him on the floor and his outstanding defense hasn’t taken away from his game at the offensive end of the floor.
For Gobert, his blocks are down to 2.0 per game which is his lowest number since his rookie season in 2013-14. Anthony Davis doesn’t necessarily show up every night – nor does he show up when it matters most in the fourth quarter. My No. 2 finisher is Philadelphia point guard Ben Simmons, a player that can and often does, guard every position on the floor for the Sixers. Still, for me, Giannis is the clear-cut winner here!
- Pick Defensive Player of the Year NBA Odds: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
Most Improved Player of the Year NBA Odds
While it’s a virtual certainty that Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo will win the league’s official MOP award, I’m thinking this one could very well go to New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram or Charlotte Hornets point guard Devonte Graham. Adebayo is averaging a career-high 16.2 points and 10.5 rebounds while chipping in 5.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game after putting up just 6.9 points per game as a rookie two years ago and 8.9 points per game last season.
Graham is averaging 18.2 points and 7.5 assists per game, although he’s shooting an ice-cold 38.2 percent from the field in his second season with one of the league’s worst franchises. This is a huge jump for a player that didn’t even average 15 minutes per game a year ago.
While the arrival of Zion Williamson has garnered all of the headlines in New Orleans, it is now, fourth-year shooting guard Brandon Ingram that has made the leap from good to really, good this season by upping his scoring average from 18.2 points per game a year ago to 24.3 points per contest while shooting a solid 46.6 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from beyond the arc. Ingram has improved his free throw shooting percentage from the high 60s to 85.8 percent this season. Yes, he’s in his fourth season and that alone will rule him out for this award in the eyes of many, but really, Ingram’s improvement this season has been as good, if not better, than almost anyone’s.
In the end though, I’m going with Adebayo simply because I don’t think anyone ever suspected we’d see anywhere near the all-around skillset that we’re seeing from the blossoming third-year star. Make no mistake about it, the future is as bright for Adebayo as it is for any of the game’s young stars.
- Pick Most Improved Player of the Year NBA Odds: Bam Adebayo – Miami Heat
Coach Of the Year NBA Odds
I won’t waste a lot of time beating around the bush since there’s only one pick to win this year’s NBA Coach of the Year award – and that would be none other than Toronto’s Nick Nurse. Despite losing superstar leader Kawhi Leonard after he led the franchise to a stunning upset of Golden State in last season’s NBA Finals, Toronto has remained one of the best teams in the league and it’s been no accident. Nurse has been absolutely masterful in leading his team in a new direction as Pascal Siakim, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet have become the central figures of a raptors team that has looked like a real finals contender all season long. At the hiatus continues, Toronto has the league’s third best record (46-18) and No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. All of that talk about Toronto taking a big step backwards this season has been complete hogwash and that’s in large part because of the coaching of Nick Nurse.
- Pick Coach Of the Year NBA Odds: Nick Nurse – Toronto Raptors
Rookie Of The Year NBA Odds
This one is a no-brainer as well with electrifying Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant the easy winner of the Rookie of the Year Award. The former Murray State floor leader and No. 2 overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft is averaging 17.6 points and 6.9 assists per game while shooting a blistering 49.1 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. Just as important as his highlight reel making plays has been his singularly focused desire on winning which has the Grizz in the eighth and final spot in the race for a playoff berth in the loaded Western Conference. While Zion Williamson looks like he’s going to have a fine career, he’s also played in just 19 games and that’s not nearly enough for him to win this award even if he is putting up an impressive 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
- Pick Rookie Of The Year NBA Odds: – Ja Morant – Memphis Grizzlies
Sixth Man of the Year NBA Odds
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Dennis Schröder has averaged double digits in scoring in six straight seasons, including the 19.4 points per game he put up for Atlanta in 2017-18. Still as the Thunder’s sixth man, the 2013 first round draft pick has found a new lease on life be coming off the bench to put up 19.0 points per game on while shooting 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. Schröder leads all reserves in points off the bench per game and looks like the guy that will bring Lou Williams’ two-year reign as Sixth Man of the Year Award to a screeching halt.
- Pick Sixth Man of the Year NBA Odds: Dennis Schröder – Oklahoma City Thunder
MVP NBA Odds
Sure, there’s been a groundswell of support for LeBron James to win this award seeing as how the four-time league MVP is putting up 27.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game in his 17th season, but for me, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo is my pick to claim his second straight league MVP award. The Greek Freak is averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game while adding one steal and one block per game this season. Simply put, Antetokounmpo is the best player on the best team in the league and he does all of this without the help of a legitimate second superstar sidekick.
- Pick MVP NBA Odds: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks