- With the 2020-21 NBA season set to begin Tuesday night, it’s time to offer up some picks on player awards for this season
- Which players are the best bets to gain accolades during the 72-game shortened season?
- See the picks for MVP, ROY, Most Improved, Sixth Man and Defensive Player of the Year below
With the NBA season about to get underway, it’s time to scour the board for futures bets that you can look back upon fondly come playoff time.
While we could take the safe (and boring) route of placing money down on Giannis Antetokounmpo for another MVP and DPOY winning campaign, we’ve assembled some of the best bets a little down the board that can bring you some bang for your buck.
2020-21 NBA Player Award Picks and Odds
|MVP||Anthony Davis (LAL)||+1000|
|ROY||Killian Hayes (DET)||+950|
|Most Improved Player||Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC)||+1200|
|DPOY||Bam Adebayo (MIA)||+950|
|Sixth Man of the Year||Caris LeVert (BKN)||+1200|
All odds taken from DraftKings and FanDuel as of Dec. 21st
AD for MVP
Anthony Davis seemingly has it all right now. His first NBA Championship just two months ago, a brand new five-year, $190m extension, and a starring spot on the league’s marquee franchise alongside LeBron James.
There’s just one thing missing for the 27-year-old superstar – the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
Currently sitting as the fourth favorite in NBA MVP odds behind Antetokounmpo, Doncic and Curry, the perfect storm may be brewing for AD to add the accolade to his resume.
Davis has looked sharp in the preseason, and figures to be the Lakers primary option most nights – at least early in the season as James eases into action after the short offseason.
If he’s able to produce a slight uptick on averages of 26.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG and 50% FG percentage from last year, he should be right there among top candidates in the league.
More than anything, MVP in the Association is narrative driven, and voters may have Giannis fatigue with his letdowns the last two postseasons. While Curry could have the Warriors back as contenders in the West and Doncic might be posting monster lines in Dallas, if Davis is the best player on the league’s best team, it will be hard for voters to say no to the Brow.
Killian Hayes Running the Show in Detroit
LaMelo Ball is likely going to suck up all the media coverage and headlines this year, but the rookie point guard on the team that cut his brother LiAngelo is my pick for ROY.
Killian Hayes’ preseason games have made clear how he can win offensively in this league: with strength, rhythm, craft and brilliant passing pic.twitter.com/2QPKiv71ri
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) December 14, 2020
On a rebuilding Pistons squad, Hayes will be the starting PG, with a supportive head coach in Dwane Casey and Derrick Rose as a mentor behind him coming off the bench. Delon Wright’s game is much better suited to playing off-ball as well, leaving Hayes to be the floor general.
While his shooting still has a ways to go, his size will make him an immediate playmaking threat – and his passing honed in Europe is already impressive. With Blake Griffin (hopefully) staying healthy, he has an elite partner in the pick-and-roll game and should play upwards of 28 minutes a night.
As the Rookie of the Year odds are currently inflated towards Ball and Obi Toppin in New York, Hayes presents great value at +950 with potentially the most touches of any rook in the league this year.
SGA Ready to Explode in OKC
Sam Presti has collected what feels like 56 draft picks the past two off-seasons, but the real gem of the Thunder rebuild is their Canadian guard. With Chris Paul now a Phoenix Sun, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is in for a monstrous season as he face of OKC.
He’ll likely sport a massive usage rate, and the 22-year-old should get his scoring average up over the 20-point per game plateau as Darius Bazley is arguably their second best scorer.
If he can keep his percentages shooting percentages near the 47-34-80 slash line with the increased workload and focus from opposing defenders, SGA makes a great bet at +1200 to capture MIP honors.
Known to hardcore fans as an emerging defensive force over his first few seasons, Bam Adebayo burst into national consciousness with his game winning block last season vs the Celtics in the postseason.
Everything that makes Adebayo’s game impressive was on display – the shear strength, anticipation and instinct and athletic ability to turn Tatum away. The former Kentucky Wildcat should only be stronger as a rim protector this coming season.
He’ll likely see major minutes for Miami all season long, and having been inside the top ten in both defensive boards and blocks last season bode well for his DPOY case.
The advanced stats like the 23-year-old as well, as he ranked tenth in Defensive Box Plus/Minus – which measures defensive points contributed by a player per 100 possessions.
While the three favorites ahead of him in Davis (+240), Gobert (+300) and Antetokounmpo (+340) sport much shorter odds, Bam has a chance to take a leap and become the best defensive player in the league this season.
Caris LeVert Could Be Straw That Stirs Nets Drink
Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the 2020-21 Brooklyn Nets. Will Kevin Duran be heavily load managed coming off an achilles tear? How will Steve Nash function as a first time head coach? Will Kyrie Irving quit midseason to chase a prophecy across the world?
In a team that figures to be the most fascinating both on and off the court, the one guarantee we will have is that Caris LeVert will be a microwave scorer and playmaker off the bench.
Expected to run the second unit for Brooklyn, LeVert can get hot in a hurry – and we know from Lou Williams history of success that scoring is a direct line to winning 6MOY.
During his run in the bubble he showed he can create on offence at a near All-Star level, and with the KD/Kyrie soaking up most of the defensive game planning, LeVert could find his niche going into his age 26 season.