The highly anticipated 2023-2024 NBA regular season is just a few days away (or just starting, depending on when you are reading this). Around this time last year, I wrote an article for KZSC giving my regular-season award predictions–none of my prophecies came to fruition–I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this year will be different.
Last year, out of caution of not producing too long a text, I only offered my predictions for Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY); however, this time around I’m going to condense my explanatory context for each pick and use that newly generated space to include my picks for other award categories (such as Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, etc.)
The NBA and NBPA reached a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) this past season, which includes stipulations pertaining to regular season awards. One of these newly instituted rules is that a player must play at least 65 games in order to be eligible for the MVP award. There are some further rules, such as that player must play at least 20 minutes in all of those games (preventing teams from checking a player in for 2 seconds in order for the player to have technically played that game. With that said, there are some exceptions that would allow a player to win one of the coveted awards without meeting the thresholds (on an appeal basis). Regardless though, these new rules do change the way we hoop-heads make our predictions. For instance, when choosing between Anthony Davis and Mikal Bridges for Defensive Player of the Year, taking these new CBA stipulations into consideration, I would lean towards Mikal because of AD’s injury history and my distrust in him being able to surpass the played-games threshold, while Mikal on the other hand is an iron man (that man doesn’t miss games!). With all of that being said, let’s get to the fun!
Most Valuable Player: Jayson Tatum
Where my Celtics fans at? This feels like Tatum’s season to win MVP. He’s had the talent and stats for some years now, its just about the other stuff. His team got exponentially better this offseason, at least I would argue so, and is almost guaranteed (more so than anyone else) a top-3 seed in the East–team standing, of course, being a huge determiner of the MVP award.