Friday, October 26, 2007

2007-08 NBA Award Predictions

As the 2007-08 NBA season approaches, here's a look at who should be taking the various awards at the end of this season. With some top talent entering the Eastern Conference it makes several of the awards tougher to call. Here's a look at which teams, players and coaches will take home hardware in 2007-08.

NBA Champions - Phoenix Suns - While it's tough to pick the same team that a video game simulation (EA Sports NBA Live 08) has winning the championship, Phoenix seems poised to do it. They return their core three players in Nash, Stoudamire and Marion along with talented players like Raja Bell, Leandro Barbosa and now Grant Hill coming off the bench in relief. Expect this team to continue to put up huge scoring numbers, a ton of shots and three pointers and use their fast paced run and gun offense to win it all.

Runner Up - Chicago Bulls - Although the team lacks a true go-to scorer, the talents of Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and improving Tyrus Thomas will surely make this a top of the Conference team this season. The Bulls have had defensive standout Ben Wallace for a full season, giving him time to gel with the rest of the team. They have a mega-talented lineup which now adds Joakim Noah to its roster. The Bulls have fresh legs capable of outlasting other benches, making them easy favorites to make the Finals for the East. However those legs will be no match for the fast scoring Phoenix Suns, and the Suns will take the NBA title match.

Most Valuable Player - Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers - Because he's that good of a player, people overlook just how much better he makes the team. Lebron will continue to have amazing statistics in all categories and shoulder the major responsibility of making sure his team wins. The Cavs should once again be contenders and it will be thanks to King James.

Scoring leader - Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers - Assuming Kobe stays with the team, he will continue to be their "heart and soul" and continue putting up loads of points against opponents. He's the main man for the team so he will continue to carry their scoring load. Expect Kobe to take this award while his team will probably not make it past round 1 of the playoffs.

Rookie of the Year - Kevin Durant, Seattle Supersonics -
Perhaps the easiest award to forecast with Portland's Greg Oden out for the season. The #2 pick, Kevin Durant will be on a rebuilding team and will easily become their new leading scorer and star, now that guys like Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis have departed. Seattle will look to the new star to carry them and he will lead all rookies in at least a few categories statistically giving him this award.

Coach of the Year - Stan Van Gundy, Orlando Magic - This team will perhaps make the biggest leap this season (beyond the obvious Celtics) as they move into the top tier of the NBA's Eastern Conference. While it will be largely in part to their big man, Dwight Howard, their new coach should be able to help them find more success and a playoff berth this season. Van Gundy is famous for helping another young team from Florida make a successful playoff run, the Miami Heat, and he will be doing the same here. Look for the Magic to finish in the top half of the NBA Eastern Conference.

Sleeper team - Charlotte Bobcats - This team still has a bunch of younger players but is loaded with talent. They will most likely be close to the playoff hunt as the season comes to a close, now that they have added the services of the ultra-exciting high-flyer, Jason Richardson. Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace, Adam Morrison and Raymond Felton will look to contribute in major ways making this a heavily talented nucleus.

Sixth man - Daniel Gibson, Cleveland Cavaliers -
Always a tough award to predict, last season's playoff run by Cleveland showcased his talents off the bench. If he continues to come in for the team as a spark, he most likely will improve upon last year's success and take the award. A player like Chicago's Ben Gordon may compete as well, but it really depends on who's starting and who's coming in as relief.

Most improved Player - Tyrus Thomas, Chicago Bulls - Last year saw Golden State's Monta Ellis take the award. This year look for sophomore sensation, Tyrus Thomas of the Bulls to claim it with a strong second season. Thomas was putting up impressive numbers in the summer leagues and they will most likely continue as the Bulls look to contend for "top team in the East". Thomas should improve upon last year's stats easily and take home the award as he helps contribute to a contending team.

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