Marc Stein's NBA Predictions, Playoff Schedule


Published on April 14 2017 6:14 am
Last Updated on April 14 2017 6:15 am


Who is the Committee (of One) picking to take home the hardware? This week, Marc Stein is breaking down his predictions for MVP, Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year and more:

Rookie of the Year: Joel Embiid

Stein's take: We can't forget the fact that his game-changing defensive presence was such that Embiid held opponents to the league's lowest field-goal percentage -- even lower than Rudy Gobert's -- and still leads all rookies in total blocked shots, even though he hasn't played in a game since Jan. 27.

Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon

Stein's take: Operating largely as a reserve after coming into the season with just 19 non-starts in his career, Gordon has managed to hang with the likes of Harden and Stephen Curry all season in terms of 3-point makes, emerging as the first player in league history to hit 200-plus triples as a sub and cementing his place as an integral part of the most prolific 3-point shooting team this league has ever witnessed.

Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green

Stein's take: Using all that preseason skepticism as fuel, Green made it his mission to fill the void in terms of vocal leadership created by Andrew Bogut's departure, hush the doubters who asserted that the Warriors would not be able to replace Bogut and Festus Ezeli inside and, of course, win his maiden Defensive Player of the Year award after consecutive second-place finishes to San Antonio Spurs stopper Kawhi Leonard. The result? Green has been so good on D -- and so versatile -- that it's hard to imagine Leonard, Utah's Rudy Gobert or anyone else you wish to nominate denying him the DPOY honors this time.

Coach of the Year: Mike D'Antoni

Stein's take: At D'Antoni's behest, James Harden became a full-time point guard for the first time and quickly morphed into the best James Harden we've ever seen, hiking his assist rate on his teammates' buckets from last season's 35 percent to better than 50 percent this season. At D'Antoni's urging, the Houston Rockets have launched 3-pointers at every opportunity with the sort of freedom that even the Steve Nash/D'Antoni Phoenix Suns could envy. The result has been one of the most dynamic offensive seasons ‎in league history.

Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Stein's take: We simply couldn't resist rewarding him for hiking his player efficiency rating from 19.0 to a ridiculous 26.2; for emerging as the first player in league history to rank in the top 20 in total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks; and for literally getting better at everything.

Most Valuable Player: Russell Westbrook

Stein's take: With those record-setting 42 triple-doubles, Westbrook has reached what was considered impossible by making triple-doubles an every-other-game occurrence. He took copious grief for "stat-padding," or obsessively chasing rebounds instead of closing out on opposing shooters, but he doesn't get enough credit for his ability to keep his assist average in double figures despite OKC's glaring lack of perimeter threats at a time when the 3-ball rules the league.


Thursday, April 13

No games scheduled

Friday, April 14

No games scheduled

Saturday, April 15 Schedule (All Times Central)


Indiana at Cleveland, 2 p.m.

Milwaukee at Toronto, 4:30 p.m.

Memphis at San Antonio, 7 p.m.

Utah at Los Angeles Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 16 Schedule (All Times Central)


Atlanta at Washington, noon

Portland at Golden State, 2:30 p.m.

Chicago at Boston, 5:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City at Houston, 8 p.m.