NBA Today’s preseason award picks and rankings: Love for LeBron, Spurs, Bulls

SiriusXM NBA Radio’s Shane Connolly takes readers through the award and postseason predictions, and preseason power rankings, of the SiriusXM NBA Radio NBA Today team.

CONSENSUS PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Los Angeles Clippers
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers
  5. Golden State Warriors
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder
  8. Memphis Grizzlies
  9. Dallas Mavericks
  10. Houston Rockets
  11. Toronto Raptors
  12. Phoenix Suns
  13. Washington Wizards
  14. Charlotte Hornets
  15. Atlanta Hawks
  16. New Orleans Pelicans
  17. Miami Heat
  18. Denver Nuggets
  19. Brooklyn Nets
  20. New York Knicks
  21. Detroit Pistons
  22. Sacramento Kings
  23. Indiana Pacers
  24. Minnesota Timberwolves
  25. Utah Jazz
  26. Milwaukee Bucks
  27. Los Angeles Lakers
  28. Boston Celtics
  29. Orlando Magic
  30. Philadelphia 76ers

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

LeBron James has been the dominant MVP candidate recently, winning four out of the last six and two out of the last three MVP awards. With the reigning MVP, Kevin Durant, out for a reported six-to-eight weeks, our analysts predict another easy MVP for LeBron’s mantle. A fifth MVP award would tie James with Michael Jordan and Bill Russell for second most all-time.

NAME MVP PICK
Justin Termine LeBron James
Eddie Johnson LeBron James
Mike Dunleavy LeBron James
Nancy Lieberman LeBron James
Mateen Cleaves LeBron James
Brian Geltzeiler LeBron James
Noah Coslov LeBron James
Shane Connolly LeBron James

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Despite going No. 2 in the NBA Draft, Jabari Parker is an overwhelming favorite to win Rookie of the Year according to our analysts. Brian Geltzeiler was the lone believer in the top overall pick, Andrew Wiggins. History might be on Wiggins’ side though: Since the NBA Draft lottery started in 1985, 13 No. 1 picks have gone on to win Rookie of the Year, while only four No. 2 picks have won the award.

NAME ROY PICK
Justin Termine Jabari Parker
Eddie Johnson Jabari Parker
Mike Dunleavy Jabari Parker
Nancy Lieberman Jabari Parker
Mateen Cleaves Jabari Parker
Brian Geltzeiler Andrew Wiggins
Noah Coslov Jabari Parker
Shane Connolly Jabari Parker

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Our analysts like Serge Ibaka to take home his first Defensive Player of the Year award. Perhaps it’s because he declared winning DPOY to be his goal on the NBA Radio Camp Tour; or maybe it’s because he’s been in the top five in voting each of the past three seasons. Either way, Ibaka narrowly edges out Dwight Howard, who is gunning for his fourth DPOY award, which would tie him for the all-time lead with Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo.

NAME DPOY PICK
Justin Termine Serge Ibaka
Eddie Johnson LeBron James
Mike Dunleavy Anthony Davis
Nancy Lieberman Serge Ibaka
Mateen Cleaves Joakim Noah
Brian Geltzeiler Dwight Howard
Noah Coslov Dwight Howard
Shane Connolly Serge Ibaka

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR

The analysts were far from a consensus on this one, as Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford each received two votes. Crawford, the reigning 6th Man of the Year, has already won the award twice and could become the first ever to win three times. Crawford would also be the first back-to-back winner since Kevin McHale in 1983-84 and 1984-85. Gibson has been a big piece off the bench the last few seasons, finishing second in 6th-man voting last season, and fifth in the voting in the 2011-12 season.

NAME SIXTH MAN PICK
Justin Termine Taj Gibson
Eddie Johnson Jamal Crawford
Mike Dunleavy Andre Iguodala
Nancy Lieberman Taj Gibson
Mateen Cleaves Jamal Crawford
Brian Geltzeiler Wilson Chandler
Noah Coslov Ryan Anderson
Shane Connolly Isaiah Thomas

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

Another category with lots of different answers from our analysts, Jonas Valanciunas gets the nod with two votes from Justin Termine and Brian Geltzeiler. Valanciunas is coming off an impressive FIBA World Cup in which he averaged 14.4 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game for his native Lithuania. Valanciunas will be 22 when the season tips off and will turn 23 during the season; three out of the last four winners have been either 22 or 23.

NAME MIP PICK
Justin Termine Jonas Valancuinas
Eddie Johnson Andre Drummond
Mike Dunleavy Trey Burke
Nancy Lieberman Reggie Jackson
Mateen Cleaves Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Brian Geltzeiler Jonas Valanciunas
Noah Coslov Harrison Barnes
Shane Connolly Giannis Antetokounmpo

COACH OF THE YEAR

If you thought the analysts differed on the last few awards, it’s nothing compared to Coach of the Year. Not one coach received multiple votes in this category. Reigning COY Gregg Popovich is looking to become the all-time leader for the award if he wins his fourth this season. If David Blatt won the award, he would be the first coach to win it in his first season since Tom Thibodeau in 2010-11. Rick Carlisle and Doc Rivers are each looking for their second COY trophy.

NAME COY PICK
Justin Termine Gregg Popovich
Eddie Johnson Monty Williams
Mike Dunleavy Tom Thibodeau
Nancy Lieberman David Blatt
Mateen Cleaves Stan Van Gundy
Brian Geltzeiler Rick Carlisle
Noah Coslov Mike Budenholzer
Shane Connolly Doc Rivers

ALL-NBA 1ST TEAM

NAME ALL-NBA 1ST TEAM
Justin Termine LeBron James
Russell Westbrook
Stephen Curry
Kevin Durant
Dwight Howard
Eddie Johnson LeBron James
Russell Westbrook
Stephen Curry
Kevin Durant
Anthony Davis
Mike Dunleavy LeBron James
Stephen Curry
Chris Paul
Kevin Durant
Joakim Noah
Nancy Lieberman LeBron James
Stephen Curry
Kevin Durant
Kevin Love
Anthony Davis
Mateen Cleaves LeBron James
Derrick Rose
Kevin Durant
LaMarcus Aldridge
Dwight Howard
Brian Geltzeiler LeBron James
Russell Westbrook
John Wall
Blake Griffin
Dwight Howard
Noah Coslov LeBron James
Russell Westbrook
Chris Paul
Blake Griffin
Dwight Howard
Shane Connolly LeBron James
Russell Westbrook
Stephen Curry
Blake Griffin
Anthony Davis

EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS

NAME EAST PICKS
Justin Termine Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Toronto Raptors
Atlanta Hawks
Washington Wizards
Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat
Brooklyn Nets
Eddie Johnson Cleveland Cavaliers
Chicago Bulls
Washington Wizards
Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat
Atlanta Hawks
Toronto Raptors
Brooklyn Nets
Mike Dunleavy Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards
Miami Heat
Toronto Raptors
Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta Hawks
Brooklyn Nets
Nancy Lieberman Cleveland Cavaliers
Chicago Bulls
Washington Wizards
Toronto Raptors
Miami Heat
Atlanta Hawks
Indiana Pacers
New York Knicks
Mateen Cleaves Cleveland Cavaliers
Chicago Bulls
Washington Wizards
Miami Heat
Toronto Raptors
Charlotte Hornets
Brooklyn Nets
Detroit Pistons
Brian Geltzeiler Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards
Toronto Raptors
Miami Heat
Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta Hawks
New York Knicks
Noah Coslov Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Atlanta Hawks
Toronto Raptors
Washington Wizards
Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat
Detroit Pistons
Shane Connolly Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Toronto Raptors
Charlotte Hornets
Washington Wizards
Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat
Brooklyn Nets

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS

NAME WEST PICKS
Justin Termine Los Angeles Clippers
San Antonio Spurs
Golden State Warriors
Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder
Memphis Grizzlies
Portland Trail Blazers
Phoenix Suns
Eddie Johnson San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers
Oklahoma City Thunder
Golden State Warriors
Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets
Phoenix Suns
Mike Dunleavy San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers
Oklahoma City Thunder
Golden State Warriors
Dallas Mavericks
Portland Trail Blazers
Memphis Grizzlies
New Orleans Pelicans
Nancy Lieberman San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers
Golden State Warriors
Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder
Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks
New Orleans Pelicans
Mateen Cleaves Los Angeles Clippers
San Antonio Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers
Golden State Warriors
Houston Rockets
Dallas Mavericks
Memphis Grizzlies
Brian Geltzeiler Los Angeles Clippers
San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers
Memphis Grizzlies
Phoenix Suns
Noah Coslov San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers
Golden State Warriors
Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers
Memphis Grizzlies
Phoenix Suns
Shane Connolly Los Angeles Clippers
San Antonio Spurs
Golden State Warriors
Oklahoma City Thunder
Dallas Mavericks
Portland Trail Blazers
Memphis Grizzlies
Houston Rockets

NBA FINALS PREDICTION

NAME FINALS PICK
Justin Termine Spurs over Bulls
Eddie Johnson Cavs over Clippers
Mike Dunleavy Spurs over Bulls
Nancy Lieberman Clippers over Cavs
Mateen Cleaves Bulls over Clippers
Brian Geltzeiler Spurs over Bulls
Noah Coslov Spurs over Bulls
Shane Connolly Bulls over Clippers

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