2020-21 NBA Standings, Awards Predictions


Ethan Schwam

The short offseason in the NBA has officially concluded as the season tipped off on December 22. The offseason saw many moves occur and new faces moving to new faces along with various head coaching vacancies being filled, but the question is the impact that each of these moves will have on each team vying for a playoff run in this upcoming season. Here are my predictions for the eastern and western conference standings, as well as the winners of each major NBA award for the 2020-21 shortened campaign.



  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Miami Heat
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Boston Celtics
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Atlanta Hawks 


There is not a doubt in my mind that the Bucks have the ability to repeat as the Easter Conference’s number one regular season team. With the addition of Jrue Holiday, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has more help to drive the Bucks into a favorable playoff position once again. Also, look for the Hawks to sneak into a playoff spot after adding valuable pieces such as Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallonari to fill out their rotation this offseason, while also having star point guard Trae Young running the floor.



  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Utah Jazz
  • Houston Rockets
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Portland Trail Blazers


The defending champion Lakers seem poised to repeat as not only the top seed in the Western Conference, but also the top team in all of the NBA. It’s hard to argue against LeBron and Anthony Davis, especially since the team added solid role players such as Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroeder. Also look for the Suns to surge into playoff contention with the addition of star point guard Chris Paul in an offseason blockbuster trade with the Thunder. 




NBA MVP: James Harden, Rockets

There is so much star level talent in the NBA this season, but the person that stands out the most to me this year is Harden. With the departure of ball-hungry guard Russell Westbrook to Washington, Harden will once again be the main guy on a Rockets team ready for success, on-court issues aside. Now, if Harden gets traded, this could be an entirely different story, but if not, Harden will put up scoring numbers too great for voters not to consider Harden as the NBA’s top player. 


NBA Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Rudy just got his money from the Jazz, signing for over $200 million, and now he will add another DPOY to his resume after snagging 2 straight in 2018-19. A premier shot blocker and rebounder, Rudy is a force in the paint that can compete with anybody that stands in his way. Gobert may very well make it a hat trick for the league’s top defensive award this season. 


NBA Most Improved Player: Kyle Kuzma, Lakers

Although Kuzma is often lost in the fold due to a stacked Lakers rotation year after year, Kuzma showed flashes of improvement last season that I think he can build on further this year. He will make great strides in his lower post defense and shooting ability, and his positional versatility should be looked positively upon as fans watch him play throughout the upcoming season. He should make enough of a stride to edge out more breakout candidates to win the award.


NBA SIxth Man of the Year Award: Caris LeVert, Nets

While LeVert started most of last season due to injuries to star players Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, he has moved into a more prominent role of being the primary bench piece for this star-studded Nets squad. His scoring is high-level, and while he can do more off the ball with defense and also passing, he will play a huge role in the Nets’ success this upcoming season, earning him his first career 6MOTY award in the NBA.


NBA Coach of the Year Award: Mike Malone, Nuggets

MIke Malone will finally take his denver team to the elite of the Western Conference this year. The talent is there with the star-studded duo of Jokic and Murray, and Malone has showed the ability to manage them as well as other key players in the Nuggets’ successful season last year. Look for him to build upon his coaching success with the team and earn some hardware in the process. 


All in all, this is how I see the NBA playing out for the 2020-21 season. Tune in starting December 22 to see how your favorite NBA players and teams will turn out with a slate of fabulous games coming up as the season gets underway.