NBA Player Awards Futures: Gobert, Brogdon and Brunson Among Faces In New Places
It’s always fun to see top-level players swap teams and sport a new jersey as a new season gets underway. The NBA offseason saw plenty of moves, including a handful of players that landed atop the futures board for several regular season awards.
Rudy Gobert – Defensive Player of the Year (+450)
What better place to start than the three-time winner and defending NBA Defensive Player of the Year? The Minnesota Timberwolves gave up a king’s ransom to land Rudy Gobert this off-season. Minnesota surrendered a bunch of role players, four first-round picks, and a 2026 first-round pick swap to land last season’s rebounding leader in hopes he can bring the team a defensive presence they haven’t had since Kevin Garnett.
In addition to pulling down a league-best 14.7 rebounds and 11 per game on the defensive end, Gobert finished third with 2.3 blocks a night. The seven-foot Frenchman was also ultra-efficient on the other end of the floor with an NBA-high 71.3 field goal percentage while scoring 15.6 points per game.
The multi-DPOY winner is a sizeable favorite to join Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace as the only four-time recipient. Gobert sits atop the FanDuel Sportsbook odds board at +450. Bam Adebayo is a distant second at +700.
Malcolm Brogdon – Sixth Man of the Year (+1200)
A trip to the NBA Finals was not enough for the Boston Celtics to stand pat this offseason. The Celts went out and made a major move in acquiring Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers. Boston gave up Aaron Nesmith, Daniel Theis, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan, and a 2023 first-round draft pick to land the tested vet.
Brogdon has been chiefly a starter in his career but fits the mold perfectly as the first man to come off the bench for Boston. With Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the top two offensive weapons on the squad, Brogdon should thrive going up against opposing teams’ second units off the bench.
The 2017 Rookie of the Year has shown his propensity to score, leading Indiana with 19.1 points per game last season, which followed a team-best 21.2 a night in 2021.
Brogdon is also valuable on the defensive end but has had an issue staying healthy the past few seasons. The first-ever man to win ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season has played just 92 games over the past two seasons, which includes a personal-low 36 games in 2021-22. Brogdon has played over 65 games just once in his NBA career, his rookie campaign in ’17.
The former Pacer has the third shortest odds to take the award at +1200, behind only reigning sixth man Tyler Herro (+750) and Jordan Poole (+500).
Christian Wood – Sixth Man of the Year (+1600)
After a pair of losing seasons in Houston, Christian Wood flipped Texas zip codes to hopeful greener pastures in Dallas. The Mavs grabbed Wood from the Rockets in exchange for Boban Marjanović, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss, Sterling Brown, and the draft rights to Wendell Moore Jr.
Wood solidified himself as a viable option in the front court. Coming off a career-best 21 points per game two years ago, the former undrafted big averaged a double-double last year with 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds a night. Wood led Houston in scoring, rebounding, and blocks with 1.0 per game last season.
The Mavs will hope for similar production off the bench in 2022 as Wood will have to prove he can be a good player on a good team rather than the best player on a terrible team. Having a playmaker like Luka Doncic get him the ball could lead to one of Wood’s best seasons.
Sure there are four players in front of him on the futures board, but +1600 provides tremendous value for a player that should get plenty of time against secondary units.
Jalen Brunson – Most Improved Player of the Year (+2200)
After taking a step back last season and missing the playoffs, the New York Knicks didn’t wait long to try and improve their team for 2022.
Jalen Brunson signed a four-year, $104 million contract with New York and could emerge as the top option for his new team. The former second-round pick out of Villanova is coming off his best season as a pro. Brunson put up personal highs in minutes (31:57), points (16.3), assists (4.8), and rebounds (3.9) per game last season and could improve on those numbers by being a focal point in New York. After playing in a Luka Doncic ball-heavy offense his entire career, Brunson should see the ball in his hands more than ever this season.
His trajectory is perfect for this award after showing improvement in 2021 with 12.6 points per game in just over 24 minutes a night. He’s also coming off a tremendous playoff run where Brunson averaged 21.6 points per game, so if the 26-year-old can lead New York in scoring, his chances will be very good.
The MIP award is one of the most unpredictable, so don’t worry too much about the long odds at +2200. Anthony Edwards is the favorite at +1000, with six other players in the mix between Edwards and Brunson.
Odds Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook