A look into the future: The Philadelphia 76ers 2017-18 NBA Awards Show

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The first ever NBA Awards show was held this past June. Russell Westbrook took home MVP honors, Draymond Green won Defensive Player of the Year and Eric Gordon won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. Now it’s time to predict the winners for the Sixers version of the upcoming 2017-18 NBA season.

 

Most Valuable Player

Winner: Joel Embiid

Runner Up: Markelle Fultz

Joel Embiid should perform at an All-Star level next season. After nearly making the All-Star game last season averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in only 31 games last year, he will be ready to prove the haters wrong about his health. Even though he might not play all 82 games of the season, he should be able to play in at least 60 of them if he suffers no significant injuries. He should improve from last season, especially since he will have a better team around him this year. If he can put up anywhere close to the numbers he put up in the small sample size we saw from him last season, there’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that he will be the MVP for the Sixers.

 

Defensive Player of the Year

Winner: Joel Embiid

Runner Up: Robert Covington

Joel Embiid was an absolute menace on the defensive end last year. He averaged 2.4 blocks per game and a whopping 3.5 blocks per 36 minutes. That is more blocks per 36 minutes than Rudy Gobert, who only averaged 2.8 blocks. He also had a defensive rating of 99.1 and provided defensive win shares of 0.048, which is good for 15th best in the league. Without being limited by minutes, he should expand on his defense capabilities next season and provide a defensive anchor for the team.

 

Most Improved Player

Winner: Dario Saric

Runner Up: T.J. McConnell

Dario Saric had a couple of breakout performances last season after Joel Embiid went down with a knee injury. He showcased his passing ability and craftiness in the open court and really carried the team when they performed poorly. With J.J. Redick and Markelle Fultz on the team, his assists numbers are sure to go up. He should also receive some more looks with Ben Simmons running the offense. Look for Saric’s overall play to increase next season with more productive teammates.

 

Sixth Man of the Year

Winner: Dario Saric

Runner Up: T.J. McConnell

Brett Brown will probably elect to keep Robert Covington’s defensive ability in the starting lineup over Saric’s. Saric could be extremely successful coming off the bench. He will be the focal point of the second unit. After averaging 12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 26 minutes, those numbers should slightly increase next year. He should give the Sixers a big boost off the bench.

 

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Markelle Fultz

Runner Up: Ben Simmons

Markelle Fultz played well in Summer League. He averaged 20 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3 assists per game in Utah. He showcased all the off the dribble shooting and creative scoring abilities he showed in college. Ben Simmons will give him a run for his money but Fultz will come out on top thanks to his explosive scoring production.

 

Coach of the Year

Winner: Brett Brown

Runner Up: N/A

There is no other head coach on the team. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Brown is a great NBA coach. He just hasn’t been given quality NBA players to work with before now.

 

Executive of the Year

Winner: Sam Hinkie

Runner Up: Bryan Colangelo

We are still reaping the benefits of The Process. He died for our sins. #TTP

 

Sportsmanship of the Year Award

Recipient: Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor will win. He will. It might be a fictional award but Jahlil Okafor is a winner. He was composed throughout all of the trade rumors surrounding him last season. With trade rumors to continue into next season, expect Okafor to stay professional as he cheers on and supports his teammates from the bench.

 

NBA Cares Community Assist Award

Recipient: Robert Covington

Robert Covington is not only a good NBA player but also a great person. He is very invested in the youth in Philadelphia and interacts often with fans on social media. He participates in the Sixers Youth Foundation as often as possible, even meeting the winner of the Sixers My Brother’s Keeper Mentoring Art Contest in a meet and greet.

 

Sager Strong Award

Recipient: Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid lost his younger brother, Arthur, in October of 2014. He was only 13 years old. Embiid also suffered a stress fracture that same year just a few months before his brother passed away. The injury sidelined him for the year. Speaking to ESPN Radio, he said that he thought about quitting basketball after that. He grieved through his brother’s passing and was supported by the Sixers staff, his teammates and his personal friends and families. It took a lot of strength and courage for Embiid to remain positive when things were looking bleak.    

 

Lifetime Achievement Award

Recipient: Moses Malone

The late Moses Malone was a pioneer not only for African Americans in the league, but African Americans all over the world. Moses Malone led the Sixers to a championship in 1983, was a 3x MVP, 12x All Star, was named one of the top 50 NBA players in 1996 and is a Hall of Famer. His impact on the court was huge, but so was his impact off of it. Rest in Peace Mr. Malone.

 

Best Playoff Moment

Winner: Ben Simmons’ 32 point, 15 rebound and 12 assists performance in Game 7 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs

This is a fun one. It isn’t too difficult to see the Sixers in the playoffs next year with some previous playoff teams from last year losing some key pieces. Ben Simmons can easily put up a triple double on any given night. His driving, rebounding and passing ability should allow him to do so. Imagining Ben Simmons taking over and getting the win in an elimination game is a beautiful thing to think of.

 

Performance of the Year

Winner: Markelle Fultz scores 45 points and collects 5 steals and 5 blocks in a crucial win against the Boston Celtics

Markelle Fultz can score. No surprise there. Somewhat surprisingly though, he is also an exceptional chase down blocker. It isn’t too crazy to think he can put up 45 points and have 5 blocks against Isaiah Thomas, one of the shortest players in the league.

 

Game Winner of the Year

Winner: Robert Covington hits a contested 26 foot 3 pointer against the Portland Trailblazers

We’ve seen Robert Covington make some game winners for the Sixers in the past. One of those game winners came against the Portland Trailblazers in January of 2017. Who’s to say he can’t do it again?

 

Hustle Award

Winner: Richaun Holmes

Come on. When doesn’t Richaun Holmes hustle. Seriously?

 

Dunk of the Year

Winner: Ben Simmons posterizes the living bejesus out of Brook Lopez

Ben Simmons is extremely athletic. Brook Lopez is extremely posterizable. It’s a match made in heaven.

 

Block of the Year

Winner: Ben Simmons chases down Kyrie Irving and swats his layup into the stands

Ben Simmons is often compared to Lebron James, one of the best chase down blockers of all time. He also happens to be Kyrie Irving’s teammate. Let’s give Kyrie a taste of something he sees The King do on a nightly basis.  

 

Assist of the Year

Winner: Ben Simmons passes it behind his back to a cutting Dario Saric who throws a no look pass to J.J. Redick on the wing for 3

Just picture it. Then just picture it in the playoffs! Then in the Finals!

 

Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award

Recipient: Amir Johnson

Amir Johnson is known to be a fantastic teammate, no matter what team he is on. He had a big influence on the young players on the Celtics roster last season and should also have a big impact on the youngsters on the Sixers.

 

Best Style

Winner: Joel Embiid

We saw enough classy and smooth suits all those games he spent on the sideline. Expect to see some more of that in playoff press conferences next year.

 

Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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