ROUNDBALL DAILY

NBA Preview: Why Kevin Durant will win this year’s MVP

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Friday, Oct. 14, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Warriors will be historically good this season, and our MVP choice will be a main reason why. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

How many days left until the NBA season?

3-1.

And that means just two more days to make annoying NBA Finals jokes, before the Warriors start going all ’60s Celtics on everybody.

Here at Roundball Daily, we couldn’t be more excited for basketball to be back again. So, we’ve taken the time to make some preseason predictions below. Check them out, and then hit us up @RoundballDaily if you’ve got beef.

It might come as a surprise to some, but the oft-injured Embiid can really play when he's healthy. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

It might come as a surprise to some, but the oft-injured Embiid can really play when he’s healthy. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Rookie of the Year: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers.

Sure, the 22-year-old hasn’t seen the court in a regulation NBA game since he was drafted in 2014, and sure, he’s likely going to be on a strict minutes limit, but hey–this dude can really play.

Did you see Embiid balling out during the preseason?

He put up 18 points and 9 rebounds in 18 minutes against the Heat on October 21. He scored 15 on 5-of-8 shooting in 20 minutes against the Pistons, and put up 11 points and 12 boards in 14 minutes at Washington on October 13. If you’ve still yet to see him play, the kid has terrific footwork, a reliable shot, and an array of post moves that make him look like a baby Hakeem Olajuwon out there. Seriously. With Ben Simmons sidelined for at least a few months, the Sixers will quickly become Embiid’s team, and he’s ready to handle that pressure.

Yes, this is a bold prediction, but we think it’ll end up being genius in April. Philly fans will fall in love with this guy.

Next In Line: Kris Dunn, Minnesota Timberwolves, Buddy Hield, New Orleans Pelicans, Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers.

Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves.

Thibodeau already has a terrific young nucleus of players, and it’s not going to be long before this team is scary-good. He’s the perfect fit for a young team still trying to figure out how to win in the NBA, and we think his intensity, attention to detail and defensive principles will benefit the Wolves greatly.

Thibodeau could be the best thing to ever happen to Andrew Wiggins, who already has the raw ability to become a great defensive player and could absolutely take off in this system. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him win a Defensive Player of the Year award with Thibs on the sideline, nor would it be a shock to see Karl Anthony-Towns win the award.

Despite his flame-out in Chicago, Thibodeau is beloved by many of his players, and we think this group will rally around him. They’ll be right in the hunt for a playoff spot come spring, and if Minnesota grabs one, they’ll win Coach of the Year honors for Thibs.

Next In Line: Dave Joerger, Sacramento Kings, Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder.

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) dunks against the Sacramento Kings during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

We think the Warriors will be historically good, and Durant (our MVP choice) will be the biggest reason why. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

MVP: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors.

The conventional wisdom among hoop heads is that this lines up to be The Year of Russ. They think that Westbrook is ready for a revenge tour, kind of like when Derrick Rose went berserk on the rest of the league in 2011 when LeBron wouldn’t return his calls and ended up joining the Heat. “Super team?” Rose thought. “I’ll show you a super team.” Then he exploded for 25 points and 7.7 assists per game, and led the Bulls to 62 wins and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

There’s no doubt–Russell Westbrook will be ridiculously motivated this season. And he was scary even before the whole Durant fiasco. The fact that he signed a three-year, $85 million deal to stay in OKC proves that he relishes the opportunity to be the man, and you know he wants to stick it to Durant more than anyone has ever wanted to do anything on a basketball court.

The argument for Westbrook putting up 29.8 points, 6 assists and 7 rebounds this season and leading the Thunder back to the playoffs is pretty strong.

But—we don’t think that’ll be enough to take home the hardware.

We think Durant will have a marked impact on this already stacked Golden State team. With a scorer like him joining forces with Curry, Thompson and Green, the Warriors might legitimately be the best team ever. And if Golden State wins 75 games and KD proves himself to be the best player on the team night in and night out, we think KD will walk away with the MVP trophy, too.

RELATED: NBA Preview: Just how good will W’s be?

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  1. Pingback: NBA Preview: Warriors will win it all, only question is, how many will they win?

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