Updating NBA award predictions in the season’s second half

Frontrunners for NBA season awards have changed since teams returned from the All-Star break.



Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) drives against Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

The 2021-22 NBA season is past the halfway mark and there are about 20 games left till the playoffs start in April. There have been a lot of surprising players this year, such as Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Cavaliers guard Darius Garland and San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray. 

Here are my new predictions on who will win awards once the season comes to a close:

Most Valuable Player: DeMar DeRozan 

(Previous pick: Stephen Curry)

Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan has proved all the doubters wrong that said his signing to Chicago over the summer was the worst signing of the 2021 free agency. DeRozan has brought winning culture back to the Bulls as they are currently 39-24, making them second in the Eastern Conference. 

DeRozan is having the best season of his NBA career with the Bulls. He is averaging a career-high in points with 28.1 points per game and leads the NBA with the most points of the season at 1,655. He has also become the master of the mid-range with a 49.7% shot percentage from the mid-range. 

Chicago has dealt with many injuries and Covid protocol problems but has still been able to battle adversity. The Bulls had players such as guards Alex Caruso, Zach Lavine, and Lonzo Ball out because of injuries, but DeRozan still managed to keep his team on a winning track. 

DeRozan just broke a record held by Wilt Chamberlain, scoring 35+ points in seven straight games. DeRozan scored 37 points against the Hawks on Feb. 24 to beat Chamberlain’s record. 

He is currently on a ten-game streak of scoring at least 30 points. If he continues to keep up his scoring performance he will win MVP. 

Most Improved Player: Miles Bridges

(Previous pick: Miles Bridges)

Charlotte Hornets Miles Bridges is still the favorite to win the most improved player. Bridges is averaging 19.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists for the season.

Bridges has shown this season that he is capable of scoring. He had six 30-point games and 33 games scoring at least 20 points. Bridges will continue to blossom and become a front runner for the Most Improved Player.

Defensive Player of the Year: Jaren Jackson 

(Previous pick: Bam Adebayo)

This season, Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson is a top-five defensive big man in the NBA. He has averaged 2.2 blocks per game and is leading the NBA in blocks with 138. 

Jackson is an excellent on-ball and off-ball defender and gives players a hard time scoring around the paint. He will win Defensive Player of the Year if he continues to lead the NBA in blocks. 

Rookie of the Year: Evan Mobley

(Previous pick: Scottie Barnes)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley has played great basketball throughout the entire season. He is averaging 14.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

Mobley is a great two-way player because he is a three-level scorer and a great defender. He has been an essential factor for the Cavs as they are in sixth place in the East at 36-26. He will keep being an important piece to his team and win rookie of the year at the end of the season. 

Executive of the Year: Marc Eversley

(Previous pick: Marc Eversley)

The Chicago Bulls general manager Marc Eversley brought a lot of new additions to the Bulls such as guards Lonzo Ball, Ayo Dosunmu and Alex Caruso. 

This new Bulls team has a lot of talent and has shown they can work together as a team. They have been going through a lot as a team, dealing with injuries, but they still managed to be a top-five team in the Eastern Conference. 

Eversley brought all these talented players together, and they have all managed to get along and play so well together. This Bulls team has no ego and they play for one another. Eversley will win Executive of the Year because of the Bulls’ success this year. 

Sixth Man of the Year: Tyler Herro

(Previous pick: Montrezl Harell)

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro is having a great third season, averaging 20.6 points per game off the bench. Herro has shown whether he is starting or not, he can get you buckets. 

Herro averaged 21.1 points for February and had 27 points in a 57.9% shooting performance against the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 26. He has been able to still be an important piece for the Heat despite the team having a lot of talented players. Herro will win the sixth man of the year because he is the greatest bench scorer in the NBA this season.  

Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan

(Previous pick: Eric Spoelstra)

The Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan has done an excellent job coaching his team. He is a great coach because he knows how to get his players to play for one another and play hard. 

The Bulls have been a surprising team this season because they haven’t been a good team since Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler was on the team. Guard Zach Lavine and forward DeMar Derozan are the best duo in the NBA right now because of the great scoring they provide for the Bulls. 

Donovan has coached this team well and has brought confidence to young players such as guards Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White. If the Bulls finish top three in the East, Billy Donovan will win Coach of the Year.