We are well into the 2019-2020 NBA season, which means contenders and favorites for each of the major awards have started to emerge. The major awards include Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year.
As the rest of the season progresses, players will have the opportunity to prove why they are worthy of each award. With recent trends and the current style of play in the NBA, this has become a point guard’s league. The way the league stands today has point guards contending for each of the major awards, and point guards may be able to win them all.
MVP Award: Damian Lillard
While the Portland Trail Blazers did not start this season as well as they had hoped, they now sit just three games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
This is a big year for Portland and all of its players after their Western Conference Finals appearance last season. Their resurgence this year is largely due to the play of their superstar point guard Damian Lillard.
Lillard happens to currently be on the hottest stretch of his career, which will boast well for him in the MVP ratings. He is averaging over 41 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds in his last ten games. He has also shot 52% from 3-point range over that stretch.
Lillard is on a ballistic tear right now, and if he can continue his historic play and lead the Blazers to a decent seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, then he has a real chance at winning the MVP Award this season.
Defensive Player Of The Year: Ben Simmons
Yes, Anthony Davis is the current favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year. He should be, given his outstanding play for the Los Angeles Lakers so far this season.
However, Ben Simmons is also having a great year on the defensive side of the ball. He is averaging 6 defensive rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. He can lockdown defend 1-4 and the 5 as needed.
Simmons has proved this season how dominant he can be when he is the focal point of an offense given Embiid’s absences due to injury. If Embiid continues not playing, and Simmons is able to lead the Sixers on both ends of the floor, then he will be able to win Defensive Player of the Year.
Rookie Of The Year: Ja Morant
Ja Morant is the clear favorite for Rookie of the Year so far this season. Even with the return of New Orleans’ Zion Williamson, Morant has proved why he should win the award. Memphis was immediately written off this year, and as the All-Star break approaches Morant has them as the eighth seed in the playoffs.
It would take a historic finish to the year for Zion for him to win the award over Morant. Putting up 17.6 points, 7.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game, Ja has made a convincing case for Rookie of the Year.
Most Improved Player: Devonte’ Graham
The NBA sophomore out of Kansas, Devonte’ Graham did not start his career as well as he wanted to. Averaging only 4.7 points, 2.6 assists and 1.4 rebounds for a below-average Hornets squad, Graham was barely contributing on a non-playoff team.
However, with the departure of franchise player Kemba Walker to the Boston Celtics, Graham filled that absence and cemented himself as a legitimate NBA point guard. He is averaging 18.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists this season, all resounding career highs. Even though Charlotte will likely be a lottery team this season, at least they have one promising young guard in Devonte’ Graham.
6th Man Of The Year: Lou Williams
This is nothing new to Lou Williams. He has won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award three times already throughout his career and is making a great case this season for his fourth. Playing alongside fellow 6MOY candidate Montrezl Harrell, Williams is averaging 19.5 points, 5.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds off the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers made some serious moves this past offseason, securing superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, which makes the damage Lou Will does off the bench that much deadlier. The Clippers are currently third in the Western Conference standings.
If Lou Williams can continue his great play off the bench and help lead the Clippers to a deep playoff run, then he should have no problem securing this award. Again.