NBA Midseason Awards Picks, Finals Predictions: Joel Embiid Is MVP If He Plays Enough, Can the Celtics Win It All?

The 2023-24 NBA season has reached the midpoint, which means it’s time to zoom out and take stock of the league. Part of that process is to reevaluate the awards race and predict which team will lift the trophy in June. All our experts have submitted their ballots, so let’s take a look.

Little surprise there was a clear leader in the MVP race, with Joel Embiid tabbed to go back-to-back. The big man of the Philadelphia 76ers — Fresh off a tremendous 70-point performance on Monday night – Averaged a league-leading and career-high 36.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.9 blocks. As things stand, Embiid’s health appears to be the only thing standing between him and another MVP. He is on pace to play 62 games, which would fall short of the new 65-game limit.

Coming into the season, No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama was the favorite Rookie of the Year. That has changed, as the San Antonio Spurs phenom faces off against Oklahoma City Thunder center Chet Holmgren, who is now a slight betting favorite. Holmgren also received five out of seven votes from our panel.

Defensive Player of the Year was the only award a player received. Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert has been the focal point of the league’s best defense, and our experts fully expect him to take home that trophy for the fourth time in his career.

Here are our midseason awards picks:

Off the court, there was more debate about Coach of the Year than about Executive of the Year.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Nick Nurse each received three votes for Coach of the Year, while Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves received one vote.

Meanwhile, Brad Stevens was the unanimous choice for executive of the year after bringing Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday to Boston for the league-leading Celtics.

brad botkin

Nick Nurse, 76 years old

brad stevens, celtics

james herbert

Mark Daigneault, Thunder

brad stevens, celtics

jack maloney

Mark Daigneault, Thunder

brad stevens, celtics

Sam Quinn

Nick Nurse, 76 years old

brad stevens, celtics

bill reiter

Nick Nurse, 76 years old

brad stevens, celtics

Colin Ward-Henninger

Mark Daigneault, Thunder

brad stevens, celtics

Jasmine Wimbish

Chris Finch, Timberwolves

brad stevens, celtics

Finally, it was time to look into the crystal ball and make picks for the Eastern Conference Finals, Western Conference Finals, and NBA Finals.

Every single expert picked the Celtics to win the East, although some thought it would be over the Milwaukee Bucks, while others had them overtaking the 76ers. Out West, the Denver Nuggets were the clear favorites, although the Los Angeles Clippers received one vote. For the Finals, the Celtics received five votes, while the defending champion Nuggets received two.

brad botkin

celtics at bucks

Nuggets at Lakers

nuggets on celtics

james herbert

celtics at sixers

Shear over nuggets

celtics at clippers

jack maloney

celtics at bucks

Nuggets on Wolves

celtics at nuggets

Sam Quinn

celtics at bucks

nuggets on thunder

celtics at nuggets

bill reiter

celtics at bucks

Nuggets at Clippers

celtics at nuggets

Colin Ward-Henninger

celtics at sixers

nuggets on the sun

nuggets on celtics

Jasmine Wimbish

celtics at sixers

Nuggets at Clippers

celtics at nuggets

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