If you haven’t noticed, the New York Knicks have a superstar leading them to the playoffs. The Unicorn, Kristaps Porzingis, is going to be a problem for NBA defenses for years to come. In the absence of Carmelo Anthony, you would have thought things would have gotten more difficult for Porzingod, but it’s been the opposite. Kristaps has upped his point total by 10 points per game, and doing it with a higher percentage from three. Kristaps Porzingis is remarkable and deserves major votes for MVP by also leading the Knicks to an impressive 10-7 start.
Leading the Houston Rockets to a Western Conference best 14-4 is James Harden. Harden has consistently been the best offensive player in the league putting up video game numbers. Not only does Harden have a chance to gain the MVP, but the Rockets are a sleeper to win everything this year. Don’t be surprised if adding Chris Paul makes James Harden an NBA champion this year.
Rookie of the Year
There’s no catching Ben Simmons in the race for ROY. He’s putting up intense numbers and leading the 76ers to a surprising 10-7 start. Joel Embiid may get a lot of attention for his on-court antics and quotable personality, but make no mistakes, Ben Simmons is the spoon that stirs the 76ers pot. Get ready for the Sixers to make noise this playoffs with Simmons leading the way.
Jayson Tatum has been a legit starter for a title contender and played a big role in the Celtics’ recent win streak. Tatum is shooting an incredible 50% from three and makes scoring seem effortless. If he could improve in one area it would simply be to shoot the ball more. Everything considered, if you redrafted for the 2017 class, Tatum almost certainly goes #1.
Defensive Player of the Year
What’s that? Injured Rudy Gobert for DPOY? Have you seen the Jazz defense lately? In the absence of Rudy Gobert the Utah Jazz defense has taken a dip while playing weaker competition. With Rudy Gobert, the Jazz have the 3rd best defense in the NBA. Without it they fall to 11th. The defense will take an even bigger dip in the month of December when the the competition rounds up even more.
Leading the Boston Celtics to the #1 defense in the NBA is Al Horford who has been the centerpiece of an incredible defensive scheme. Horford has always been a smart, savvy player and with Brad Stevens’ coaching, along with the talent around him, he’s taken it to another level. Kyrie Irving receives all the accolades and highlights, but Horford’s defensive presence is as much a reason for the win streak as anything.