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2022 NBA Awards Race: Giannis Is The Favorite To Win The MVP, Draymond Green Deserves Defensive Player Of The Year

2022 NBA Awards Race: Giannis Is The Favorite To Win The MVP, Draymond Green Deserves Defensive Player Of The Year

As the regular season reaches the halfway point, we are getting closer to crowning the best players in the league for their achievements. Every year one standout player captures the MVP, while other dominant players capture the Defensive Player of the Year Award, Sixth Man of the Year Award, and Most Improved Player. For the best performing coach in the league, we crown him as well.

This season will have a ton of close races, in every award category, and we have seen enough this year to predict the top-3 players in each award category. With only three players making the cut for each award, it is time to crown the winner of each one. Here are all the likely award winners at the end of the 2021-2022 NBA season.

Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Player Stats: 28.5 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.5 BPG

Skip Bayless Trashes Giannis Antetokounmpo After Bucks Lose To Knicks: "Giannis' Team Is About To Lose Its FOURTH STRAIGHT Home Game. Best??? MVP???"

2nd place: Stephen Curry

3rd place: Kevin Durant

The MVP race is extremely close at the halfway mark of the season. Kevin Durant is doing his usual thing, dropping 30+ point games left and right while leading a very talented (yet inconsistent) Brooklyn Nets offense every night. The Nets have started dropping games and fell to the 2nd spot while the Bulls climb to the top spot in the East.

Stephen Curry then made it incredibly close again, snowing his value to the Warriors by playing some of his best basketball as the best three-point shooter in the world. As good as his teammates have been, Curry is the MVP of the team and without him, the Warriors would not be the first seed in a very competitive West.

But Giannis is the best player in the NBA right now because he has no weakness on both ends. He is 3rd in the league in points (28.4 PPG), 7th in rebounds (11.4 RPG), and the undisputed king of the East for the Bucks. His team is the number 4 seed in the East, and Giannis Antetokounmpo's consistency from day 1 most likely gifts him his 3rd MVP award. The Bucks have suffered from roster inconsistencies, but Giannis has been the single best talent in the world at this stage of the season.

Defensive Player Of The Year: Draymond Green

Player Stats: 7.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 7.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.2 BPG

Draymond Green

2nd place: Giannis Antetokounmpo

3rd place: Rudy Gobert

Draymond Green will never win an MVP award in his career, but he is the most likely winner of the Defensive Player of the Year Award this year. No player has had the impact that Green has had on his team this year, through his leadership and basketball IQ. His defensive numbers are solid, but what makes him exceptional is his versatility. Draymond can legitimately guard five spots on the floor and has the size and defensive awareness to be an impact player. But most importantly, Green’s defense has been the second-biggest reason the Warriors are the best team in the NBA (behind Steph Curry’s greatness).

Giannis has been his usual dominant self on defense by posting 1.1 SPG and 1.5 BPG, while Rudy Gobert has been extremely dominant for the Utah Jazz. Gobert is posting 2.3 BPG this year, but both players have not dominated as much as Green has. Giannis and Gobert bring greater size and physical presence than Green, but the proof is in the pudding because Draymond is playing elite-level defense this year.

Rookie Of The Year: Evan Mobley

Evan Mobley

Player Stats: 14.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.8 BPG

2nd place: Scottie Barnes

3rd place: Cade Cunningham

Many will feel that the likes of Scottie Barnes and Cade Cunningham keep it close with their numbers, but this one will end up in favor of the No. 3 overall pick. Mobley has been the most consistent and exceptional rookie since the start of the year. The center is a truly fantastic scorer and defender who has helped the Cavaliers to the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference despite missing the postseason last year. Mobley is an untouchable talent to his team since he showcases his raw talent every game and plays with heart and hustle.

Credit goes to Scottie Barnes for having a spectacular season, and he is a key part of a Toronto Raptors squad that is currently fighting for a playoff spot. The swingman is one of the most underrated rookies, averaging 14.7 PPG and 8.0 RPG. Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick, also has solid numbers (15.2 PPG and 5.9 RPG). Evan Mobley is playing fantastic basketball and he will most likely be an All-Star big man in short order.

Sixth Man Of The Year: Tyler Herro

Tyler Herro

Player Stats: 20.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.9 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG

2nd place: Montrezl Harrell

3rd place: Kelly Oubre Jr

This award is a no-brainer at his stage of the season. Herro has been a beast all year, as the main perimeter presence for the Miami Heat who hold the third seed in the West. The sharpshooter is having a career year, and his impact has been undeniable for his squad. With a contract year coming up, Herro is almost forcing the Heat to shell out max dollars for the 21-year-old. Averaging 20.6 PPG while starting only 10 games is amazing, and the young man is clearly a natural scorer for his age.

Meanwhile, Montrezl Harrell is playing big minutes for the Washington Wizards as he puts up 14.5 PPG and 7.3 RPG. The big man comes in, hustles for rebounds and easy buckets, and does not take any play off. The former Clipper and Laker is out to prove his worth in the league, and that means he will be on the tail of Tyler Herro all season long. Kelly Oubre Jr is also having a great year, putting up 16.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG in only 10 games out of 40 played. The swingman is also one of the best players on his team, helping Charlotte to place themselves in position for the play-in tournament.

Most Improved Player: Ja Morant

Ja Morant Took A Shot At Lakers Fans Who Showed Up At FedEx Forum: "It Is Even Better To Send All Of Those Yellow, Gold Jerseys Home Sad. You Can Take That Back To L.A."

Player Stats: 24.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.4 BPG

2nd place: Miles Bridges

3rd place: Darius Garland

This award was supposed to be a toss-up earlier on between Grizzlies superstar Luka Doncic and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland. But Ja Morant clearly deserves this award for his elevated play and it is truly a shame only one player can win it this year. Ja has improved his shooting percentages, scoring, and all-around impact on the court. The point guard has taken his scoring from 19.1 PPG to 24.7 PPG, steals from 0.9 SPG to 1.4 SPG, blocks from 0.2 BPG to 0.4 BPG, rebounds from 4.0 RPG to 5.8 RPG, and three-point shooting from 30.3% to 38.3%.

Clearly, Morant will be an All-Star this year because his improvement on the court has been tremendous to witness. Miles Bridges has shown tremendous improvement this season as well, averaging 19.6 PPG and 7.2 RPG for a budding Charlotte Hornets team. Bridges is key to what Miami does, and he is the second-best player on the team that is 8th in the East. As great as Bridges has been, he has not taken his game to superstar level as Morant has.

Finally, Darius Garland deserves credit for continuing to climb towards his All-Star potential. The guard is putting up 19.6 PPG and 7.2 APG on 38.6% shooting from three, and he has helped Cleveland get close to clinching a playoff spot so far. Garland is one of the Cavaliers’ brightest players, and he deserves a shoutout for his play.

Coach Of The Year: Billy Donovan

Win-Loss Record: 26-11 (1st in the East)

(via Bleacher Report)

(via Bleacher Report)

2nd place: Steve Kerr

3rd place: J.B. Bickerstaff

If this award could be split into three, everyone would be happy. But it simply isn't possible. Billy Donovan is the coach of the best team in the Eastern Conference, while Steve Kerr has led the Golden State Warriors to the best record in the NBA as the team will compete as a legitimate contender without the presence of Klay Thompson until this point. Both coaches have been sensational and deserve all the praise they get, with props going to Cleveland’s J.B. Bickerstaff.

There is no doubt that nobody expected the Chicago Bulls to play as well as they have, even if they brought in DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso this offseason. Billy Donovan has been the man this year as he has the Bulls ahead of the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks in the East. Donovan has also brought out the best in DeRozan and Zach LaVine as a duo, and his players compete at an elite level for him. Steve Kerr is a close second, but we have seen how great Stephen Curry is as a player and Donovan does not have that luxury. Because the Bulls do not have a top-5 talent in the game, Donovan deserves Coach of the Year. 


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