Annual Predictions


BallnRoll Pick-n-Pod Staff Predicts the 2020-21 NBA Season

Another NBA season is here. In celebration of the league being back for another year, here are our picks for the major NBA hardware up for grabs this season.


Glenn James / NBAE via Getty Images

Kevin Kocherry: Stephen Curry

John Gallardo: Luka Doncic

Richard Birfer: Giannis Antetokounmpo

The MVP will be an interesting race this year, with Luka Doncic looking to build on a historic second season, Giannis Antetokounmpo still as dominant as ever, and with the likes of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant coming back from injury.

Luka enters the season as an early favourite to take home the award, but don’t be surprised if KD makes a statement for the rest of the league by taking home his second MVP award.


Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press via AP

Kevin Kocherry: Giannis Antetokounmpo

John Gallardo: Bam Adebayo

Richard Birfer: Anthony Davis

The DPOY award is generally dominated by a couple contenders every year, but with the emergence of talents such as Bam Adebayo, another name is added to the mix of perennial contenders in AD, Giannis, and Rudy Gobert.

OG Anunoby is a sneaky pick for the award if he takes the leap many are expecting him to take this season, and will see time as the Raptors’ de-facto small-ball centre.


Ashley Landis / Associated Press via The Athletic

Kevin Kocherry: Dennis Schroder

John Gallardo: Jordan Clarkson

Richard Birfer: Lou Williams

Every year, the Sixth Man of the Year award is generally won by the player that scores the most points off the bench, and this year’s field is just as stacked as last year’s.

Williams is always a safe bet to take home the award, but with Jordan Clarkson providing a much needed scoring punch off the bench for a Jazz team that needs his offensive abilities, expect a newcomer (in Clarkson or another player) to win the award this season.


Nhat V. Meyer / Bay Area News Group

Kevin Kocherry: Patrick Williams

John Gallardo: James Wiseman

Richard Birfer: Deni Avdija

This year’s rookie class has faced an unparalleled transition to the NBA due to COVID-19, so expectations may not be as high compared to recent years, but nonetheless, there are some talented rookies ready to contribute from day one.

The Warriors’ James Wiseman is expected to have a large role with the team as the starting centre, and rookies like Deni Avdija and Patrick Williams have flashed some intrigue in the preseason. Obi Toppin and LaMelo Ball are also popular picks as they could also be in prominent roles for their respective teams early on in the season.


Rick Osentoski / USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Kocherry: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

John Gallardo: OG Anunoby

Richard Birfer: Cam Reddish

The field of contenders for the Most Improved Player award seem to grow every year with players continually adding new nuances to their games. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will have an increased opportunity to show off his improvement with Chris Paul and Denis Schroder moving on from the roster.

OG Anunoby also looks to be in position to play a larger role with a Raptors squad looking to remain among the East’s elite despite key departures in the offseason.


Ashley Landis / Pool / Getty Images

Kevin Kocherry: Billy Donovan

John Gallardo: Erik Spoelstra

Richard Birfer: Erik Spoelstra

The Coach of the Year award is generally awarded to the coach that led the NBA’s best record, or to the coach that led their team to the best improvement between seasons. At the start of every season, it’s honestly difficult to predict which coach could win the award due to uncertainties that are beyond a coach’s control.

Regardless, Billy Donovan joins a Bulls team looking to get back to the playoffs after a dysfunctional campaign last year with Jim Boylen, and looks primed to unlock the young Bulls’ potential. Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat look to build on last year’s Finals loss with a revenge campaign.

Rick Carlisle could be a dark horse to win the COTY aided by a dominant season from Luka Doncic and a high playoff seed in the Western Conference.


Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images

Kevin Kocherry: Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers

John Gallardo: Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers

Richard Birfer: Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers

There are five teams that are almost unanimously regarded as the true title contenders this season, with the teams being the Heat, Bucks, Nets, Lakers, and Clippers.

Other teams such as the Blazers, Nuggets, Celtics, and Sixers are knocking on the door of title contention, but are not quite at the same level as the teams mentioned before them.


Kim Klement

Kevin Kocherry: Miami Heat

John Gallardo: Brooklyn Nets

Richard Birfer: Los Angeles Lakers

It’s difficult to dispute the Lakers going back to back this season, especially after their stellar offseason that saw them improve the roster all around, but with the Nets’ version of seven-seconds-or-less basketball, and the Miami Heat seeking vengeance for last season, the path to repeat titles for LA could be more difficult than initially expected.


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