SI's picks for league honors include some notable repeats but also anticipate that one team will stage a major turnaround
MVP: LeBron James, Cavaliers
He'll incorporate Shaq into the offense to gain the edge over Kobe in the balloting and earn the honor for the second straight year—and there will be many more to come for the 24-year-old.
ROOKIE: Blake Griffin, Clippers
The No. 1 pick will become an instant leader by example for the Clippers' frontcourt; Warriors guard Stephen Curry will also make a run at this award.
COACH: Flip Saunders, Wizards
Washington will win at least 30 more games than it did last year (19) as Saunders galvanizes the offensive talent around point guard Gilbert Arenas.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Dwight Howard, Magic
The defending champ in this category, Howard should again lead the league in rebounding and blocked shots—but Boston's Kevin Garnett will give him a run for this trophy.
MOST IMPROVED: Derrick Rose, Bulls