Early NBA Awards Predictions: 2022-23
After a long wait, the 2022-23 NBA season is finally in full swing. We have already seen our fair share of surprises and we are not even through the first month yet. The Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers are actually looking legitimate, while teams like the Philadelphia 76ers have gotten off to a slow start. With all of this in mind, it is never too early to make some early NBA awards predictions. Without further adieu, here are the very early NBA award predictions for the 2022-23 NBA regular season.
Early NBA Awards Predictions
MVP: Ja Morant
The Memphis Grizzlies are a dark-horse pick to come out of the Western Conference. They gave the Golden State Warriors a run for their money. Plus, the team seems to have that gritty, winning mentality back. The leader of the squad is none other than All-Star, Ja Morant. Morant is already off to a hot start to the year with averages of 35.3 points, one steal, 4.3 rebounds, and seven assists. On top of this, he is also shooting an insane 60.0 percent from beyond the arc and 54.8 percent from the field. Considering the Grizzlies are on an upward trajectory and are already three and one, Morant will have a solid case for MVP this season.
DPOY: Mikal Bridges
Mikal Bridges finished runner-up in the Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) running last season behind Marcus Smart. This year very well could be the year we see a wing player return with the DPOY honors. After all, Bridges finished last season with defensive averages such as a 110 defensive rating and a defensive box plus/minus of 1.1. Remember, Bridges is usually tasked with guarding the LeBron’s, Kawhi’s, and KD’s of the league. He has gotten off to a slow start this season. However, it is a long year which means there is plenty of time for Bridges to solidify himself as the best wing defender in the NBA.
COTY: Michael Malone
Michael Malone has came a long way ever since his first head coaching stint with the Sacramento Kings. He deserves a ton of credit for sticking with the Denver Nuggets through a rebuild and helping the team become the contenders they are as of today. The Nuggets improved record-wise every year in his first three seasons as Denver’s head coach. This may be the season we finally see Malone’s genius shine. Now that the Nuggets are fully healthy, the team is primed to make a title run. Especially with the additions in the summer that helped bolster their perimeter defense. If the Nuggets finish as a one or two seed, then Michael Malone has a great shot at securing his first Coach of the Year award.
Sixth Man of the Year: Tyler Herro
Tyler Herro had a great year last season and redeemed himself in the eyes of many NBA peers. It netted him his first Sixth Man of the Year. He averaged 20.7 points, four assists, and five rebounds per game to go along with an effective field goal percentage of 52.5 percent. He has embraced his role well and has grown in terms of his decision making. To start the new season, he is picking up where he left off. Herro is currently putting up numbers of 21.0 points, 3.5 assists, and 8.8 rebounds per game along with an effective field goal percentage of 55.6 percent. The Heat have title aspirations this season and Tyler Herro is going to have a huge role in terms of achieving this goal.
Rookie of the Year: Paolo Banchero
It is hard to argue against the first pick of the NBA Draft for Rookie of the Year. Especially when they are as talented as Paolo Banchero. He is arguably the most exciting draft pick for Orlando since Dwight Howard and the expectations for this kid are sky-high. While the Orlando Magic are still rebuilding, Banchero is the clear center-piece going forward. To start the season, he is already averaging 22.8 points, 1.5 blocks, and 7.5 rebounds per game. Banchero is a safe bet going forward for Rookie of the Year.