PBT predicts 2014-15 NBA award winners

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It’s time to pull out the Ouija board and hope that things go better than in the new movie of the same name.

The NBA season tips off Tuesday night so we here at PBT are throwing out our predictions for the coming season. We’re actually going to do that for the next couple days, but today we focus on the big end of season awards — MVP, Rookie of the Year, etc. (tomorrow we get into who makes the playoffs and who wins what Steve Ballmer affectionately calls “Larry”).

Even before the first game tips off are some clear frontrunners for several of the NBA end-of-season awards… but we didn’t aways go with them. Here are our calls, followed by a few comments.

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MVP: This has been a two-person race for the past couple years, and with Kevin Durant now out for a couple of months, most of us chose LeBron James as the guy who gets the hardware. However, if you’re looking for a good dark horse candidate — and if the Clippers do turn out to be elite contenders — Chris Paul is a good call. So Brett Pollakoff chose him and bet on Ballmer’s team

Rookie of the Year: Jabari Parker drew three of our votes and after his strong preseason looks like the guy to beat in this category. I went another way with Nerlens Noel because he was the guy that most impressed me at Summer League, and because he had a full year on the sidelines to build up his body and study the NBA game. Like with Blake Griffin I think it’s a huge advantage. Bottom line here, I’d be shocked if the award didn’t go to one of three guys: Noel, Parker or Andrew Wiggins.

Most Improved Player: Sean and I both chose Anthony Davis, but not really because he may be the most improved player, he already averaged 20.8 points and 10 rebounds a game last season (although I do expect him to take another leap forward this year). This is really about some voters finally noticing and recognizing him and what a beast he is becoming — he will be the third best player in the NBA within two years. He’s not getting the MVP this year (although I think he gets votes) so voters will slot him in here.

Sixth Man of the Year: This race seems wide open but three of us think Taj Gibson could be the man, with Dan Feldman going with Greg Monroe (which is an interesting choice in Detroit, so long as he isn’t traded). That said, there are a number of players — Isaiah Thomas in Phoenix, Jamal Crawford with the Clippers — who also will be in the mix.