NBA award predictions: Will the Sixers finally get recognized?

Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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The 2022-23 NBA season starts tomorrow! The games count tomorrow. The championship hardly ever feels this wide-open. There is so much parody across both conferences. And more than that, there are more good teams than we’re used to. Each conference has eight or nine teams that feel like genuine postseason threats.

For the Sixers, the new season brings about the opportunity to finally advance past the second round. The entire team has spoken with the same voice since training camp: it’s championship or bust. Nothing short of the mountaintop will satisfy them.

As has been the case in recent years, Philly has multiple award contenders on the roster. Joel Embiid impacts the game in so many different ways. James Harden is one of the greatest offensive players of all time. Tyrese Maxey is lightning in a bottle. Doc Rivers is one of the most decorated coaches in the game.

Who will actually compete in the 2023 awards race, though? Let’s make some predictions.

2023 NBA Coach of the Year Prediction

69. . . . Willie Green. 1. player

2. Ty Lue, Clippers

3. Chris Finch, Timberwolves

Willie Green’s reputation swelled over the second half of last season as the Pelicans emerged from the doldrums of the NBA to make a surprise postseason appearance (and even challenge the No. 1 seed Suns in the first round). Now, the Pelicans are the breakout candidate of the 2022-23 NBA season. That team has special potential.

Zion Williamson’s return should cement the Pelicans as one of the league’s most potent offensive teams. It will be Green’s first chance to coach the former No. 1 pick, who will share playmaking duties with new arrival CJ McCollum and All-Star Brandon Ingram. New Orleans is deep, dynamic, and versatile. Health permitting, Green’s team should quickly ascend the ladder of NBA contenders.

A true player’s coach who is beloved in the locker room and clearly competent with his X’s and O’s, Green has to be one of the preseason favorites for this award. He has stiff competition — there are plenty of great NBA coaches and plenty of great NBA teams — but the Pelicans are set to explode into the national consciousness, and Green will explode with them.