Welcome to The Coin Toss, where I make some bold, unlikely predictions every week about some of your favorite professional sports. First, a quick recap of last week.
I had the Browns topping their season high in total offense. They didn’t perform horribly against the Bengals, but their 352 yards were about 80 short of my prediction. I said the Vikings would record seven sacks on Carson Wentz and this was nowhere close to true, as they didn’t record a single sack. I was, however, right about my last prediction: Matthew Stafford led the Lions to a win over the Redskins.
This time, I’m changing it up a bit. Basketball is upon us, so I’m going to make some bold predictions about this NBA Season! Who will win the major awards and the championship?
MVP: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Many would pick Stephen Curry here, but he’ll be deferring fairly often to new teammate Kevin Durant. Kawhi Leonard came in second in last year’s MVP voting. He’s the best perimeter defender in the league and his offensive game is improving constantly. I’m betting he’ll have a good enough season to clinch his first MVP award.
Defensive Player of the Year: Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
Whiteside is now the lone star in Miami, so he’ll anchor the defense basically on his own. He will have to average an insane number of blocks to beat out Kawhi for DPOY, but I think he will. Whiteside is one of the NBA’s emerging stars, and he is definitely in the running for this award.
Most Improved Player: Dennis Schröder, Atlanta Hawks
Schröder is stepping into a starting role in Atlanta after Jeff Teague’s departure and he’s playing in a system that tends toward moving the ball, which allows for plenty of assists. This pick is dependent on Schröder improving his shooting, but he is my candidate for MIP.
Rookie of the Year: Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers
Following Ben Simmons’ foot injury, the field is much more open for other players. Ingram has the best shooting stroke in his class by far. The Lakers don’t have many shooters, so Ingram will get plenty of chances to knock down shots from the perimeter and should be the best rookie this season.
Sixth Man of the Year: Enes Kanter, Oklahoma City Thunder
Kanter probably should have won this award last year, but he placed third. He averaged 13 points and eight rebounds in just 21 minutes per game. Kanter is an efficient player off of the bench and will get another chance at the award this year.
Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves look like a serious contender going into this season, with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins improving and Thibodeau at the helm. If Minnesota makes noise this year, he’ll contend for Coach of the Year.
NBA CHAMPION: San Antonio Spurs (def. Cleveland Cavaliers)
This is bolder than bold. The Warriors WILL NOT make the NBA finals. Rather, the Spurs will win the Western Conference and beat out the Cavaliers to win the title for the sixth time since 1999. The Coin Toss’ pick is in: the Spurs will win it all in 2017.