Who is the favorite for MVP and the major NBA awards? Who is winning the Finals: the Golden State Warriors or the field?
We polled the ESPN Forecast panel of experts for their votes halfway through the season.
Who is most likely to win MVP?
MVP is quickly becoming a two-player race between Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden. Our panel gives Antetokounmpo the slight edge for now, but Harden has a chance to build his case if he keeps the Houston Rockets afloat with starting center Clint Capela out four to six weeks.
Who is most likely to win Rookie of the Year?
Who is most likely to win Sixth Man Of the Year?
Lou Williams is a slight favorite to claim his third career Sixth Man Award, though this should remain a close race throughout the second half of the season. Derrick Rose, Domantas Sabonis and Spencer Dinwiddie all have time to make cases while thriving on competitive teams.
Who is most likely to win Defensive Player of the Year?
This is an abnormally deep DPOY race. Usually a clear contender or two emerges early on, but any of these five players could end up taking it. ESPN's real plus-minus (RPM) gives Rudy Gobert the edge among this group, but Paul George has the benefit of providing rare, elite defense on the wing.
Who is most likely to win Most Improved Player?
Pascal Siakam is having a breakout third season on the league-leading Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are 12.8 points per 100 possessions better when he's on the court as compared to when he sits, and he's up to No. 24 in RPM. There's a long list of strong MIP candidates. They're all chasing Siakam.
Who is most likely to win Coach of the Year?
The Milwaukee Bucks have the best point differential in the NBA, a remarkable feat considering they were merely average last season and returned mostly the same roster. Head coach Mike Budenholzer has helped develop a top-5 offense and defense around Antetokounmpo. Budenholzer's new system is working wonders. In a deep season for impressive coaching jobs, Budenholzer stands out.
Others receiving votes: Doc Rivers, Terry Stotts, Luke Walton
Who are the most likely Eastern Conference champions?
The East was declared wide-open when LeBron James headed to L.A., and our panel likes Toronto to take the crown. The Raptors likely have the fewest weaknesses among these contenders. Milwaukee is unproven in the playoffs, while Boston and Philly have dealt with some drama so far.
Who are the most likely Western Conference champions?
Yep, it's the Warriors. But who are they going to face in the West finals? No clear No. 2 has emerged. The Feb. 7 trade deadline could have a significant impact on the cluster of teams trying to knock off the champs.
Who is most likely to win the NBA Finals?
Projection systems are split on just how strong Golden State's title chances are. FiveThirtyEight gives the Warriors a 55 percent chance to win it all -- No. 2 Toronto is only at 15 percent -- while ESPN's Basketball Power Index pegs the defending champs at just 15.7 percent likely to repeat, trailing Milwaukee (29.8 percent).
Warriors vs. the field: Who are you taking to win it all?
This is the first time since Kevin Durant joined Golden State that this feels like a real debate. Our panel is still favoring the Warriors over the collective field of NBA teams, but their grasp is a little weaker than usual.
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