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NBA Player Awards Watch: Donovan Mitchell for Rookie of the Year

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Donovan Mitchell is making a big case for Rookie of the Year

NBA: Utah Jazz at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

MVP

Lebron James

It’s time to stop messing around. The King has made his presence felt and brought the Cleveland Cavaliers back from their mediocre start to almost first place in the Eastern Conference. It won’t be long till there on top, either.

Lebron James has been on a mission this season to gain his fifth MVP award. If he keeps up this level of play, he may not just get the MVP but might be considered the greatest to ever play the game.

James Harden

The Houston Rockets are the best team in the NBA and that’s been due to James Harden melding so well with Chris Paul and his return. They’ve been so good that Chris Paul hasn’t seen the Rockets lose this year. And that’s part of why the nod for MVP goes to Lebron James this week. He’s doing it himself.

Harden may very well end up with the MVP, but for now it belongs to Lebron James

Rookie of the Year

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell’s month to month improvement has been remarkable. At this point of the season, he’s not just competing for Rookie of the Year but for an all star spot (as Mylo wrote about here). Mitchell has BLOWN BY Jayson Tatum in rankings. While Tatum has benefited from playing across stars like Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, Donovan Mitchell has had to be THE guy with opposing defenses focusing solely on him. And how has he done? He’s only gotten better.

Donovan has also done all of this while dealing with injuries to the best players on the Utah Jazz. But even with those injuries he’s found a way to get better, and win.

It’s only the beginning for Donovan Mitchell.

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons been the resounding Rookie of the Year this season putting up an incredible line of 17.3 points/8.9 rebounds/7.8 assists while helping lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a .500 record.

Surprisingly, that’s only been good for 10th place in the Eastern Conference. It’s also clear that Simmons has benefited from playing with Joel Embiid. When Embiid has rested this season, the 76ers are 1-4.

Defensive Player of the Year

Andre Roberson

Roberson is one of the least effective offensive players in the NBA. His shooting is abysmal allowing those who guard him to take a break on the defensive end. And he’s vital to the success of the Thunder.

Probably the most feared defender in the NBA, Roberson is a lockdown defensive player responsible for one of the best defenses no one expected in the Thunder. His length and smarts on the defensive end are incredible and make him a legitimate candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

Marcus Smart

When a player shoots as poorly as Smart has, but still has incredible plus-minus numbers that tells you he’s doing something well, defense.

Marcus Smart has incredible defensive instincts and does everything on the defensive end of the floor to win. He’s a major part of the Celtics #1 rated defense that flies around getting steals and making stops. Without a traditional rim protector to shore up their defense, it takes incredible wing defense to be good and that’s what Marcus Smart brings.