We are past the midway point of the 2021-22 season and now have a clear understanding of who is who in the NBA.

The contenders have parted ways with the pretenders, while several teams that have fallen in the early holes are desperately looking for ways to salvage their respective seasons before it’s too late.

The same goes for people in the league.

The Sporting News has made end-of-season prize predictions ahead of the 2021-22 season and during the first quarter of games played. Based on what we had seen in the first 20 action games. Now that players have submitted the work of approximately 40 games, the vision has become even clearer.

This time around, various TSN staff members submitted their winner for each of the six main end-of-season awards, with some explaining their selections and providing an explanation below.

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TSN Mid-Season 2021-22 NBA Prize Predictions
Scott Rafferty gilbert mcgregor Nick Metallinos micah adams yash matang
most valuable Player Nicholas Jokic Joel Embid Giannis Antetokounmpo Giannis Antetokounmpo Nicholas Jokic
DPOY Dramond Green Dramond Green Dramond Green Dramond Green Dramond Green
6 MOY Tyler Herro Tyler Herro Tyler Herro Tyler Herro Tyler Herro
PMI Darius Garland bridges of miles bridges of miles already dwelling Darius Garland
roy Evan Mobley Evan Mobley Evan Mobley Evan Mobley Evan Mobley
SHY Taylor Jenkins Taylor Jenkins Taylor Jenkins billy donovan Taylor Jenkins

The player most value

McGregor: Somehow Embiid, who was an MVP finalist in the 2020-21 season, has gotten even better this season.

Despite the drama surrounding him due to the Ben Simmons saga in Philadelphia, Embiid has the Sixers within three games of the top seed in the East at 26-18. To take it one step further, the Sixers are 23-10 when Embiid suits up and 3-8 without him.

While durability has been an issue for Embiid in recent years, some of the time he missed this season was due to a tough bout with COVID-19, making his return to an MVP level of play difficult. even more impressive.

With averages of 28.0 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists in efficient shooting divisions, Embiid shouts MVP to me.

metallines : As good as Embiid and Jokic have been over the course of this season, and they’ve both been great, I just don’t see Denver or Philly finishing in the top four of their respective conferences.

Aside from a historic season like Westbrook’s triple-double MVP season, I can’t see this award being given to anyone outside of the top four.

Giannis has amassed 28.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists in just over 32 minutes per night.

The Bucks haven’t been healthy for most of this season, and it’s a testament to the Greek Freak that they remain one of the championship favorites.

Defensive Player of the Year

Slaughter: This one was not difficult. Draymond Green is the best defensive player on the best defense in the league.

Yes, the Warriors have multiple rotation players who have a positive impact on defense, especially Gary Payton II and Andrew Wiggins, but there’s certainly no arguing that Green is the team leader and backbone on Warriors’ defensive end. court.

metallines : I’m with Yash here. This one is easy. Draymond is the best and most versatile defensive player on the best defensive team in the league.

He is literally the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Enough talk.

Sixth Man of the Year

Slaughter: It’s hard to look past Tyler Herro for this award at the midway point. In 28 games off the bench, he is averaging a league-leading 20.8 points in shooting splits of 45.2/42.7/88.2 in just 31.5 minutes of action. All four of his 30-point games this season, through Jan. 20, have been as a reserve.

Unlike past seasons, the 6-foot-5 guard really seemed to have embraced his role as the spark off the bench for the Heat. And so far, it’s doing perfectly.

Most Improved Player

McGregor: The Hornets have looked like a legitimate playoff team this year, and a lot of it has to do with Bridges’ play.

After averaging 12.7 points last season, Bridges has increased his scoring average to 20.0 points per game, and while his 3-point efficiency has decreased, he’s still shooting at roughly the same rate as he was from inside the arc. bridges never was alone a dunk, but now he shows it every night, using his athleticism for crafty finishes around the rim with either hand.

adams : The hardest jump to make is from good to great. Even more difficult? From great to bona fide MVP worthy.

That is the leap that Ja Morant is taking in his third season. Though he teased us with an otherworldly performance during the final month of last season that included a riveting performance in a first-round loss to the top-seeded Jazz. Morant’s electric game has catapulted the Grizzlies into the thick of contention in the Western Conference much sooner than anyone expected. His score increase per game is more than double that of Garland, and unlike Bridges, whose improvement coincides with a significantly higher load, Morant is playing exactly the same amount as he was a year ago.

Morant entered this year as a probable All-Star for the first time. But a potential MVP? Already? Nobody saw this coming in 2022.

Rookie of the Year

McGregor: What was once a three-man race is Mobley’s prize to lose. What the 20-year-old does every night goes beyond the typical tally stats, but the youngster is also making his presence felt on the scoreboard.

Averages of 15.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game are certainly Rookie of the Year worthy, and his 1.7 blocks per game show he was not long in coming as a staunch rim protector.

coach of the year

McGregor: The Grizzlies have a lot of fun playing basketball, and much of the credit goes to their head coach.

Jenkins’ use of newcomer Steven Adams and reliance on draft gem Desmond Bane has cleared the way for Ja Morant to make his leap to All-Star, superstar-in-the-making and MVP candidate. Growing up under Jenkins each year, Memphis has built an identity that it lives by.

adams: Like the Grizzlies, the Bulls are exceeding preseason expectations and doing so while missing more minutes due to COVID than any other team. After overperforming in Oklahoma City following the departures of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Donovan is now doing the same in Chicago.

MORE: Lonzo Ball injury update

He managed to find the perfect balance between DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. He has regularly fielded four-guard lineups. He has molded a respectable defensive unit despite not having a half-decent rim protector, a season-long injury to top flanker Patrick Williams just five games into the season, and extended absences for both Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, the last of which is now out for 6-8 weeks with a torn meniscus. Donovan is squeezing every ounce out of every corner of his roster and his Bulls are still clinging to first place in a super-competitive Eastern Conference.