2023 NBA Preseason Awards Predictions

Nikola Jokic

Below, I forecast who could win the various awards for the coming NBA season. I layout five potential winners for MVP, ROTY, 6th Man, MIP, DPOY and COTY.

Most Valuable Player

Nikola Jokic

Although because of defense I have Giannis Antetokounmpo as the NBA’s top player, Jokic has become almost too talented offensively, becoming a 25-plus ppg triple-double machine as a big, and he continues to increase his stats. He also has no all-star teammate – although Jamal Murray should be one this season -, which makes Jokic’s play that much more ridiculous. He’s easily first to start the season.

Jayson Tatum

Tatum is by far the No. 1 player on what could be the team with the most wins in the NBA this season. Because of the depth Celtics lost, I think Tatum’s stats will jump once again, and there’s a strong chance he is first in the league in scoring, while grabbing almost 10 rebounds a game and playing elite defense.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

I’ve already said that Antetokounmpo is the No. 1 player in the world to me, but Giannis Antetokounmpo now has Damian Lillard, who will be a huge help, but will take away some shots and stats from him. Regardless, Antetokounmpo will still average 25-10-5 and play elite defense on the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Joel Embiid

Fresh off his first MVP win, Embiid has reached the potential the Sixers prayed for when they picked him almost a decade ago. He cannot be guarded, scores where and when he wants, and is an elite defender and rebounder. He’s Hakeem Olajuwon, if Olajuwon had possessed a three-point shot.

Stephen Curry

What is there to say about Steph Curry at this point? The four-time champ, two-time MVP and one half of the Splash Brothers shouldn’t have to carry the Warriors like a season ago, but he’s still far too talented to not generate some ridiculous scoring numbers. Also, the Warriors should be excellent.

Rookie of the Year

Victor Wembanyama

With the roster the Spurs have and the fact that he is already their top talent by quite a lot, Wembanyama is very likely to put up very non-rookie numbers. I can easily see him averaging 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two rejections a game. This won’t be a competition.

Scoot Henderson

Henderson likely won’t be the top option for the Portland, as overpaid forward Jerami Grant is more than capable of averaging 25 points, and Anfernee Simons is apt for 20. Henderson will have the ball in his hands and will score in the late teens and have six or more assists per game.

Bilal Coulibaly

I had Coulibaly ranked in the late 20s as a prospect for the 2023 NBA Draft, so in my opinion, he was taken far too soon at No. 7. Regardless, he is on the least talented team in the NBA and should be able to see more time than he can possibly handle. That should yield stats.

Ausar Thompson

Ausar Thompson may or may not start – I have him starting -, but he will give Detroit elite defense and I think he will provide far more offense than most think he can. Thompson was a beast in Summer League, which I think will translate to the NBA game immediately.

Jarace Walker

Walker will very likely come of the bench as the third big man for the Pacers, as they have Obi Toppin, but Walker will come off the bench with a ferocity that’s rare in the NBA. Not only will Walker provide his signature defense, but he should create some very strong stats for a reserve.

Sixth Man

Immanuel Quickley

Just third recently for the award, the Knicks’ young sixth man should continue to improve. An efficient shooter and prolific scorer, Quickley is also a playmaker and a pesky defender who is the protype of a sixth man. He will be in the running for the award for awhile.

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Bogdanovic is a combo guard who has thrived for the Hawks for quite a few seasons. With no John Collins, they only have Dejounte Murray and Trae Young, who can be called pure scorers, so somebody really needs to take a jump. I think De’Andre Hunter and Bogdanovic will split that increase, which could give Bogdanovic the stats needed for the award.

Derrick White

The all-NBA defender was about to be the starting point guard after being the starter at the two a season ago, but the Jrue Holiday trade moves him to the bench. White is one of the league’s finest defenders and a talented playmaker who became an excellent shooter a season ago.

Caris LeVert

LeVert has bounced around as a starter and sixth man, but he will be a sixth man this season for the Cavaliers, one of the East’s finest teams. He will get the most shots in their second unit and will also likely get a lot of minutes with the starters. He should be starting, but the coaches chose Max Strus.

Bobby Portis

Portis is the top bench big in the league by a pretty solid margin. He would start on most teams and could easily average 17-11 in a starting role. Going 14-10 off the bench for arguably the NBA’s No. 1 team was a bigger feat; he just lacked the shots and gaudy numbers of his smaller counterparts. His value to the Bucks is massive.

Most Improved Player

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards is a star, but he’s about to take the jump to superstar. He’s a monstrous athlete and scorer, and he seems to now have the role as the No. 1 option. He jumped from 21 to 24 points a season ago, but I think he will average more than 30.

Ben Simmons

If a former multi-time all-star becomes a quality role player again, rising from the depths of NBA purgatory, is that man eligible? Simmons went from a legitimate franchise player to a guy who couldn’t help his team. He seems healthy though and eager, and I think we will see some semblance of the all-star guard this season.

Evan Mobley

As I’ve said many times, Cleveland’s only chance to jump tiers in the East is for Evan Mobley to become the all-star his talent says he should become. He has the ability to become a 20-10 big man with a couple blocks added.

Christian Braun

In the playoffs, Denver really only used seven men, and one was rookie Christian Braun. Obviously, the Nuggets love him, and he should be their biggest second-unit piece this season. He was a huge steal.

Grant Williams

Williams is one of the elite three-and-d players in the NBA; he just couldn’t get consistent minutes on a stacked Boston team. He is now a huge piece on the Mavericks, and I can easily see him jump to 15 points, while providing excellent defense. If so, he’s a legitimate candidate.

Defensive Player of the Year

Jaren Jackson Jr.

The reigning winner of this award, Jackson is becoming a superstar. He is the league’s elite rim protector and is incredible.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

With his ridiculous size, athleticism and length, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a monster of a defender when he wants to be; it’s really not fair. His defense is why I consider him the No. 1 player in the world.

Joel Embiid

Embiid’s massive size and athleticism make him a big problem inside. His effort and skill help the 76ers field a strong defense to go with their elite offense.

Grant Williams

Williams is one of the elite perimeter defenders in the league and should almost double his minutes with Dallas. He could have a season similar to how Dillon Brooks became well-known.

Brook Lopez

Lopez seems to have merged with his brother, as he has somehow become one of the league’s elite big men defenders; Robin was the defender of the two for more than a decade. Brook Lopez rivals Jaren Jackson Jr. as the league’s best rim protector.

Coach of the Year

Frank Vogel

Most assume that Vogel’s job will be easy, but looking at the roster, if the Suns are to reach their potential, they need coaching. First, they are dealing with a squad that has not been together long, as only half the team is still there, then there is the fact that they have no point guard, and lastly he has to manage three star personalities, but that is where he thrives as a coach.

Erik Spoelstra

Spoelstra to me is the No. 2 coach in the NBA after Gregg Popovich, and after his brilliant playoff coaching, Spoelstra has a ton of of work to help a lacking roster play like a contender, which I assume he will.

Adrian Griffin

There is a lot of reiteration from the Vogel section here, as the Bucks have the talent to win the East, and to me, the NBA’s No. 1 roster, but managing and making Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard thrive will be no easy task. Griffin will also need to somehow find defense among guards who simply aren’t defenders; the Bucks lost Jrue Holiday, JeVon Carter and Grayson Allen.

Taylor Jenkins

The first item on Jenkins’ list is filling Ja Morant’s shoes for the first 20 games that he is barred due to his Instagram scandals. Yes, Jenkins has Marcus Smart and Derrick Rose to work with, but he will need to get a boost of offense from star power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and guard Desmond Bane. If Jenkins handles those 20 games well, he deserves credit.

Billy Donovan

Much maligned and a betting favorite to be fired quickly, Donovan has to have some tricks coming Chicago’s way, mostly on how he decides to use his three stars. Big seasons from Pat Williams and Coby White are coming as well.