5-on-5 Baseline Edition: Early Season Award Predictions 5-on-5 is back and this time we ask 5 of the best bloggers out there to once again peak in their crystal ball and actually pick some award winners for us. Let’s tip off! 1. So this rookie class has been scoffed at, written off as terrible, and as a whole just not respected. However, the Rookie of the Year award must still be given out. Who gets it and do they prove us wrong and show us that there are in fact potential superstars in this class? Blaza, KnicksNow.com: This is a tough one. Coach JFace has proven to be one of the most talented coaches in the NBA and the Cavs are a team that should do very well this season. In that respect, Anthony Bennett would seem the ideal choice for ROY. Bennett is a very talented big who moves like a cat at 6’8” 240 lbs. I expect great things for Bennett down the line, but he just has too many other big dogs on that Cavs team with the likes of Kyrie Irving and Andrew Bynum. Move quickly down to Central Florida, and lets take a look at Victor Oladipo. The Indiana product is a 6’4” D-Wade clone with range that the Heat man doesn’t possess. In my opinion, ‘Dipo is easily the best rookie talent wise, and combined with Coach Bondzai who is not only a coach but a fan of his game, I see big things in Oladipos future this season. Victor will be the main man from jump street and could average 20 and 8 with a couple steals as well. I see him running away with the ROY award. RyanC, MavsInsider.com: So far Ben McLemore has looked ahead of the class, but look out for Anthony Bennett and Victor Oladipo, as well as Tim Hardaway, Jr as a darkhorse if Coach JrRawlins gets into a rhythm with him. sonn, GoldenStateOfMind.com: Sacramento doesn’t have a lot going for them this year, but I think Ben McLemore provides a glimmer of hope for the future and is a lock to win the ROY this year. I don’t know if he has superstar potential but he will be the best player in the ’13 draft class. bringbackjimmy, HipsterWorldNews.com: I think this is going to end up a 3 man race between Trey Burke, Ben McLemore, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. The trade to Detroit really helps Hardaway’s chances, but I think McLemore will take the award. McLemore is in a system that will let him put up shots and with the Kings defense, he will get a lot of chances to score. JFace907, FearTheSword.com: We’re not going to see any superstars in this class, but there are definitely some quality players in it. I love both Bennett and McLemore’s skillset. If Noel can develop an offensive game, he will be a great piece for the Philly future. The thing I do love the most about this class is its depth. There are guy who will be logging quality minutes in this class that were drafted in the second round. Even guys who were drafted more for long road potential current skill will log some good minutes. In fact, right here in Cleveland Sergei Karasev is already putting in some good minutes for the Cavalier second unit. As far as the award? It ultimately goes to Ben McLemore. Coach ryalaman has him playing top notch ball the first month of the season and I think the hot start will carry him to the trophy. 2. Is this the year LeBron James wins Defensive Player of the Year? He seems to be tooting his own horn for it an awful lot. If not him, who takes it? Blaza: While LeBron has shown his effectiveness on the defensive side of the ball for years now, I think there are just too many other more experienced coaches who will inspire their players on the defensive end. I think Tyson Chandler and Andrew Bynum have a good chance at making a run at the award. Ultimately, I think Andre Iguodala will win the award. Iggy is a versatile player who can guard 4 positions effectively. He should see a ton of minutes now that David Lee and Harrison Barnes have been shipped to Dallas. Ryan: LeBron is up there, but look out for Thomas Robinson. bringbackjimmy has him looking solid so far this on D. Sonn: No player can guard 1-5 like LBJ can and that alone makes him the best defensive player in the league. Guys like Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Tyson Chandler and Andre Iguodala will be in the conversation, but the award should be heading to South Beach this year. BBJ: I think this award goes back to Dwight Howard. With him finally healthy he changes a lot of shots. LBJ will be too worn out from the offensive game to play any kind of D that would be award worthy. JFace : LeBron is a physical freak that can guard really ANYONE in the NBA. Unfortunately he’s always been the type of guy that will only get a steal or block if he’s helping on the weakside and the stat geeks that vote on the award don’t see that in a box score. I like Andrew Bogut for the award. He seems healthy this year and his ability to protect the rim and end possession by smothering rebounds will be what gives him the edge. 3. A special award to follow in these day and age is the Sixth Man Award with guys almost specializing as the spark plug off the bench. Who do you like for this award and why? (Bonus Points: Could a sixth man ever be an MVP?) Blaza: An obvious choice would be JR Smith who has won the award in the past with the Knicks, but JR’s attitude off the court saw the NY staff make a shocking trade to acquire Ricky Rubio, sending Smith to Minnesota. JR will be a start in Minny and should explode the way James Harden has after being given the keys in Houston. My vote for 6th man would have to go to LAC combo guard Jamal Crawford. There’s a reason why Craw is known as J.Crossover in NBA circles. Even in the latter years of his career, Crawford is one of the most talented dribblers in the NBA. If Coach Dru can work out the kinks in his offense, Crawford should have a huge year off the pine. Ryan: Gonna safely assume that Andrea Bargnani is coming off the bench in his new Detroit home and will likely take the award. As far as the bonus question, no. Sonn: Veteran Ray Allen is my pick to win the 6th Man this year. His shooting ability coupled with the amount of open looks he gets courtesy of the Big 3 will let Allen rack up the points. I don’t think it’ll ever be possible for a bench player to win the MVP. Guys coming off the bench are usually gunners or defensive specialists and rarely impact both sides of the ball. BBJ: He might not get my vote for ROY, but I believe Tim Hardaway, Jr gives Coach JrRawlins a great bench scorer. He will get great tutilige from Coach JrRawlins and take home the award. JFace: Now what is intriguing about the ROY award race is that McLemore starts, but the guy likely to finish 2nd in the voting, Anthony Bennett, comes off the bench. He’s had some great production off the bench in the first month of the season and I look for him to continue that production through the season and capture the 6th Man Award. As far as the Bonus Points. No. 6th Men are generally one dimensional players. They definitely can have a big impact on the game, but not enough to declare them Most Valuable. 4. Coaching demands are at all an all time high with the advanced information in terms of tendencies, trends, hot spots, etc becoming more readily available. Who rises up and takes home Coach of the Year? Blaza: I’m going to go with a darkhorse here and go with Ghost out in Denver. Ghost is a young coach, with a talented young team at his disposal. After spending extensive time with Denver, he knows the ins and outs of most of the squad. As of now, Ghost is a bit under the radar, but his team is loaded and he’s played some top teams close so far. If Ghost can get his head on straight and learn to close out games (as he did against Cleveland), he could be a threat in the West. Ryan: Early favorites include Coach JrRawlins and Coach BBJ. Both are quality coaches and have their teams playing well early on. Sonn: I’m going to echo my colleague from Portland and say that Coach JrRawlins will be winning the award this year. Detroit is playing well above their heads so far in this early season and it’s a testament to the great job done by the coaching staff in the Motor City. BBJ: I think Coach JrRawlins this award also. Not afraid to move a star for some working cogs in his system and is always hard to coach against. I do love what that coach in Portland is doing JFace : Detroit made a sexy hire when hiring Baseline great JrRawlins. The offensive genius has already brought great production to the Motor City and this won’t be temporary. There will be hardware coming to Detroit, maybe not the Larry O’Brien trophy but definitely the Coach of the Year. 5. Last time we met we discussed potential darkhorses for the MVP award. Let’s just come out and say it. Does LeBron continue his dominance? Does Rose return and re-claim the crown? Who wins? Blaza: There are a ton of names I’d like to mention here as there are several players who could step up and win the MVP. Out in Sac-Town, Greivis Vasquez does major work on the offensive end night after night. A lanky PG who’s length makes him a mismatch. Vasquez can light it up from the outside or facilitate the offense. In Detroit, Alec Burks has lit the league up scoring at will and defending his position well. In Indy, Paul George is a complete freak whose power and explosiveness make him a major threat. Portland doesn’t have many marquee wins just yet, but Lillard will definitely do wel in the hands of Coach BBJ, who loves his PGs. Ryan: LeBron, unless Melo works some magic. Sonn: I’m going the homer route and picking Steph Curry to win the MVP this year. He’s averaging over 20 points and 11 dimes so far in the early season and the addition of Dirk should open up even more space for him to operate. BBJ: Steph Curry. Probably the best player not named LeBron or Kevin Durant. He will steal the title from the King as the Warriors will be fighting for a top spot while the Heat try to mesh in Coach Papa Perry system. JFace: They don’t call him the King for no reason. No one is close to LeBron when it comes to most valuable. He could step on any team and they instantly become a title contender. The same cannot yet be said for guys like Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant. Rose’s return however will keep the award from being unanimous. That’s a wrap for this edition of 5-On-5.