Smerbeck’s Predictions for the 2018-19 NBA Tilt
Rookie of the Year: Jaren Jackson, Jr., Grizzlies – Doncic will be the best player from this draft, but if Conley, Jr. and M. Gasol are healthy, the Grit’n’Grind Grizz have a decent shot at the playoffs
Sixth Man: Eric Gordon, Rockets – I didn’t want to make a seemingly obvious choice, but…
- Nobody knows who the Sixth Man for the Celtics is actually going to be, and I think Jaylen Brown will force his way into the starting lineup by the trade deadline
- I think JJ Redick will wind up starting too much to really qualify.
- I hope it’s Tyreke Evans, but I’m not sure he’ll be the first man off the bench by the end of the year (Sabonis or Thad Young seems more likely).
- Nobody has repeated as SMOY since Detlef Schrempf, so I lean Gordon over Lou Williams.
Most Improved: Julius Randle, Pelicans – I always thought he was the most talented of the recent Lakers draft picks, and he’s never played with anyone like the Brow. A lot of people are going Brandon Ingram, but he’s going to have to share the LeBron-related improvement with Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma.
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard, Raptors – Even when they were beating everyone but the Cavs, the Drakes never played great defense. Kawhi will be eager to show teams that he’s still the best two-way player in the NBA .
Coach of the Year: Quin Snyder, Jazz.
MVP: Anthony Davis, Pelicans – It’s a lifetime achievement award, which means it’s either AD (7th season) or Kawhi (8th), and it honestly comes down a coin flip. Can both stay healthy? Will their supporting casts hold up? I’m more bullish on the Pels than most, so I give the slight edge to the Brow.
ECF: Celtics over Sixers in 7
WCF: Warriors over Jazz in 5
Finals: Warriors over Celtics in 6