The 2023-24 NBA season has kicked off with a bang, offering fans a wide range of storylines to follow. From rookies Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren making their mark to established stars like Nikola Jokic and Tyrese Maxey shining, the early season has been filled with excitement.
Here’s a look at some of the key early-season narratives and who our NBA insiders believe are the front-runners for major awards.
– Ramona Shelburne: Nikola Jokic, the reigning MVP, is her early pick, citing his consistent excellence.
– Ohm Youngmisuk: Jokic continues to impress and is showing no signs of slowing down.
– Kevin Pelton: Jokic’s dominant performances make him a clear choice for MVP.
– Andrew Lopez: Jokic has already recorded multiple triple-doubles this season, setting the bar high.
Rookie of the Year:
– Youngmisuk: Victor Wembanyama is expected to improve further as the season progresses, despite some ups and downs.
– Lopez: While Chet Holmgren and the Thunder have been strong, Wembanyama’s standout performances give him a slight edge.
– Bontemps: Chet Holmgren’s all-around contributions make him the top choice.
– Pelton: Holmgren’s recent outstanding performance against the Warriors has solidified his rookie of the year candidacy.
– Shelburne: Holmgren’s exceptional shooting and defensive skills make him a front-runner.
Defensive Player of the Year:
– Youngmisuk: Mitchell Robinson’s impact on the Knicks’ defense makes him a leading candidate.
– Pelton: Rudy Gobert’s presence has transformed the Timberwolves’ defense, making him a strong contender.
– Bontemps: Gobert’s dominance on the defensive end has been a game-changer for the Timberwolves.
– Shelburne: Anthony Davis, with his league-leading shot-blocking, is a candidate if he remains healthy.
– Lopez: Herbert Jones’ defensive prowess and ability to take on tough assignments make him a standout.
Most Improved Player:
– Youngmisuk: Tyrese Maxey has taken on a larger role in Philadelphia and is flourishing as a scorer.
– Shelburne: Maxey’s growth in various aspects of his game makes him a strong contender.
– Pelton: Scottie Barnes’ impressive development and impact on both ends of the floor stand out.
– Lopez: Barnes’ all-around contributions put him in a unique category alongside NBA legends.
– Bontemps: Maxey’s emergence as a star for the 76ers has been a game-changer.
Sixth Man of the Year:
– Lopez: Bobby Portis continues to make a significant impact off the bench for the Bucks.
– Youngmisuk: Tim Hardaway Jr.’s consistent scoring off the bench for the Mavericks sets him apart.
– Bontemps: Immanuel Quickley’s scoring ability and impact on the Knicks’ performance make him a contender.
– Pelton: Alex Caruso’s elite defense has been instrumental for the Bulls.
– Shelburne: Austin Reaves has provided valuable contributions off the bench for the Lakers during their recent wins.
These early-season awards race predictions provide an exciting glimpse into what promises to be a thrilling NBA season ahead. With plenty of basketball left to be played, the competition for these prestigious awards will continue to heat up on the hardwood.