Where Warriors fit in preseason conversation for 2019-20 NBA awards

Grant Liffmann
NBC Sports BayArea

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

Over the last couple seasons, as the Warriors became an historically great team, they began to lose the favor of NBA Awards voters who were looking for players and coaches that did not have the same incredible supporting cast around them. There also was a sense of voter fatigue, as voters perhaps became a bit bored casting ballots for a Warriors squad that had been so dominant for multiple years.

But as the dynamic of the league has changed, and the Warriors are no longer prohibitive favorites to win the title after a massive roster overhaul, Warriors household names are now being thrust back into the NBA Awards conversation for next season.

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Here is a preseason NBA Awards watch list:

Most Valuable Player: Stephen Curry

After winning back-to-back MVP awards a few seasons ago, including the first ever unanimous winner, it seemed as if it would be impossible for Curry to reinsert himself back into the MVP conversation as long as Kevin Durant was in town.

But with Durant's departure, and the assumption that this Warriors team is considerably worse than prior seasons (especially with the absence of Klay Thompson for a majority of the season), Curry is now back in the MVP spotlight.

[RELATED: Curry not popular with rookies]

But what would it take for Curry to re-take the award? For starters, he will have to stay healthy and play at least 70 games most likely. Secondly, the Warriors will have to surprise some folks and not only make the playoffs, but perhaps get in comfortably.

Finally, Curry will have to do what he has been doing his whole career: putting up high scoring totals with incredible efficiency. If Curry can average 28 to 30 points, while shooting around the prestigious 50-40-90, then there is no doubt he will be considered one of the favorites to win his third MVP award.

Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green

Every season Draymond's name is thrown in the mix for DPOY, but after a couple seasons in which he did not consistently bring his defensive greatness on a nightly basis during the regular season, many believe that the award is out his reach now.

But after watching a slimmed-down and highly motivated Draymond dominate on the defensive end in this last postseason, there is hope again that the award is in his sights. But to do it next season will be his biggest challenge yet. The Warriors have lost several of their best defensive players including Andre Iguodala, Thompson and Durant, making it seem like the team will be deficient on that end.

[RELATED: Draymond, Warriors have chip on shoulders]

If Green were to elevate the Warriors on defense to a respectable level, then perhaps that alone will garner voters attention. But if the Warriors overall defense were to falter, Draymond's individual play will most likely be overlooked come awards season.

Coach of the Year: Steve Kerr

Like Curry, the incredible accumulation of talent on the Warriors roster made Kerr an afterthought to voters looking for coaches that exceeded expectations. Perhaps it is unfair to Kerr that there was not more appreciation for his job of maintaining the ego's of a star-studded team expected to win the title every single season.

But in the end, the apathy and lack of effort of a team eyeing the start of the playoffs, scattered throughout the regular season pushed voters away from considering Kerr. This upcoming season, yet again, the conversation has changed.

[RELATED: Kerr -- Warriors need D'Angelo Russell]

If the Warriors are to make it into the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference, they will have to bring effort and desire every single night. For the first time in a few seasons, Kerr will have to commit most of his time to strategy and coaching, rather than psychology and guidance. He and the coaching staff are excited for the challenge, and could very well be in the running for hardware by season's end.

On Thursday we will take a look at some Warriors dark-horse candidates for NBA Awards.

Where Warriors fit in preseason conversation for 2019-20 NBA awards originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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