The 2021-22 NBA season was one for the ages. Who would've thought we'd have 5 clear-cut MVP candidates? Who predicted the Lakers to not even make the play-in tournament? And who ever dreamed of such a tight race for Rookie of the Year?
Offensive outbursts, injuries, fights, and even a fan gluing herself to the floor. These past months have had it all, and even though we're sad it's coming to an end, the best is yet to come in the Association.
With that in mind, let's take a look back at every single thing that happened since the start of the season. Here, we share our picks and predictions for all the awards that will be handed out over the next couple of weeks.
NBA Awards 2022: Predictions For Every Award
Coach Of The Year - Monty Williams
Team Record: 64-18 (.718%), 114.8 PPG, +7.5 Net Rating
The Phoenix Suns wanted to prove that last year's success wasn't a fluke and they did so. Monty Williams doesn't get enough credit for the incredible turnaround he's orchestrated in this franchise, but that will change now.
The Suns have been the most consistent team on both ends of the floor. They spent a chunk of the season without Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul also missed plenty of time, yet they never even flinched.
Most Improved Player - Jordan Poole
Stats: 18.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.0 APG, 2.8 3PG, 44.8% FG, 36.4% 3FG, 92.5% FT
While Darius Garland was an early favorite to win this award, Jordan Poole's surge in the second half of the season put him right on top. He's become one of the most explosive, efficient scorers in the league.
The fact that Poole was considered one of the worst shooters in the NBA just two seasons ago speaks volumes as to why he deserves this award. All that time in the G-League sure did him well, as he's now a walking bucket lining up for a massive payday.
Sixth Man Of The Year - Tyler Herro
Stats: 20.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 2.7 3PG, 44.7% FG, 39.9% 3FG, 86.8% FT
Tyler Herro vowed to prove his doubters wrong this year after a down season in 2020-21. Needless to say, it seems like he's succeeded. Back to full strength after an injury-plagued season, he once again proved to be one of the most promising players in the league.
Herro can efficiently score from all three levels and is a willing a solid playmaker as well. He can get scorching hot in the blink of an eye and isn't a defensive liability anymore. He'll be an All-Star next season.
Rookie Of The Year - Evan Mobley
Stats: 15.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.7 BPG, 50.8% FG
This one was a tough one. Scottie Barnes did great merits to take home the award, yet his injury took a toll on his chances. Evan Mobley, on the other hand, was money from start to finish, making an impact on both ends of the floor.
Mobley looks like a generational big man in the making. He showed glimpses of Kevin Garnett-like defense and Anthony Davis-like offense. Any time you're in the same sentence as those two, you're doing things well.
Defensive Player Of The Year - Marcus Smart
Stats:1.7 SPG, 107 Def. Rating, 1.7 Defensive Box Plus-Minus, 3.7 Defensive Win-Shares
Mikal Bridges didn't miss a single game and locked up some of the best scorers in the world this season. Then again, Marcus Smart was the best defender in the best defensive team in the league, so he should get the award.
Smart locked down the perimeter like the best of them. He's also one of the few players who can efficiently guard one through five, even despite his lack of size. It's time we finally give him his flowers after all the beating he endures by running over screens night in and night out.
MVP - Nikola Jokic
Stats: 27.1 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 7.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.3 3PG, 58.3% FG, 33.7% 3FG, 81.0% FT
To be completely honest, I'd like Devin Booker to win MVP and he made a strong case for it, but no one was better than Nikola Jokic. He led the Denver Nuggets to the playoffs despite having no stars beside him and was even better than during his first MVP campaign.
Jokic made great strides in the defensive end, was even more aggressive offensively, and continued to cement himself as the best passing big of all time. He's the first player to score 2,000+ points with 1,000+ rebounds and 500+ assists in one season, and led the NBA in nearly every single advanced stat. He's the MVP by a landslide.