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A preseason sidetracked by vaccine mandates and holdouts will finally give way to real basketball Tuesday with an ideal opening night doubleheader.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets will pick up where they left off during a thrilling and exhausting second-round playoff matchup, while the Los Angeles Lakers will welcome the Golden State Warriors to town for a play-in rematch. Talk about launching with a bang: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony will all help tip off the NBA’s 75th season. Kyrie Irving will surely be discussed, but he might not be missed.

As the league returns to its standard 82-game schedule and tries to put its best foot forward, here’s a look at how the 2022 award races might shake out.

MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Why isn’t Antetokounmpo the preseason betting favorite for this award over Luka Doncic? Not only did the two-time MVP pay his “voter fatigue” tax last season, but he raised his profile considerably with an excellent postseason run that saw him claim a title by fighting through injury, overcoming weaknesses in his offensive game and repeatedly delivering in clutch moments.

The 26-year-old forward is in the middle of his prime and surrounded by a veteran roster that has a proven winning formula on both ends. Consistent production and intense focus have long been Antetokounmpo staples, so it’s hard to picture him suffering from a post-title letdown. The biggest concern: Milwaukee played until July 20 and might feel the effects of a shortened offseason.

Also consider: An unleashed Doncic putting up 1987 Michael Jordan numbers for the Dallas Mavericks, Curry playing happy and loose for the improved Warriors, and the masterful Durant taking on more responsibility during Irving’s absence from the Nets.

Defensive player of the year: Anthony Davis, Lakers

Davis’s 2020-21 season was a disappointment even before it was spoiled by injuries. Even so, the 28-year-old forward has been the linchpin of a title-winning defense and a leading candidate for this award multiple times without bringing home the hardware. The Lakers’ top-ranked defense will rely more heavily on Davis after losing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso this summer. If Los Angeles ranks among the NBA’s stingiest defensive teams for the third straight season, the long, active and versatile Davis should get his due.

Also consider: A healthy Joel Embiid pulling the 76ers through the Ben Simmons saga and Bam Adebayo captaining a more stable version of the Heat.

Rookie of the year: Cade Cunningham, Pistons

This year’s Las Vegas Summer League presaged what should be one of the deepest and most intriguing rookie of the year races in recent memory. The top five 2021 picks all had promising stretches in the desert, while Cunningham, the No. 1 selection, displayed the necessary size, feel and poise to assume the reins as Detroit’s lead playmaker.

Cunningham, 20, will seek to become the first top pick to win the rookie of the year award without a redshirt season since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2016. Aiding his case: Detroit ranked 29th in winning percentage and 26th in offensive efficiency last season, giving him low baselines to prove that he can have an instant impact.

Also consider: Houston’s Jalen Green leading the class in scoring thanks to the greenest light possible and Orlando’s Jalen Suggs hanging tough during a deep rebuild.

Most improved player: Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Look back at the last five winners of the most improved player award — Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo, Pascal Siakam, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle — and it’s clear that this has become the breakout star award. Morant, 22, would fit neatly in that group, as he has established himself as a good player but hasn’t yet received an all-star selection. That will change this year, as long as the electric point guard enjoys better health and ramps up his minutes. Morant’s magnetic personality and highlight-friendly game could also help swing voters.

Also consider: De’Aaron Fox getting love if Sacramento enters the play-in mix and Michael Porter Jr. seizing the chance to make another leap while Jamal Murray is sidelined in Denver.

Sixth man of the year: Tyler Herro, Heat

Miami has loaded its starting lineup with veterans, thereby setting the stage for the precocious Herro to do what he does best: get buckets. Herro, 21, quickly emerged during the preseason as a go-to scorer for the Heat’s bench, rekindling some of the buzz that engulfed him at the Disney World bubble. His profile as a fun scoring guard on a high-quality playoff team aligns with recent sixth man winners such as Lou Williams, Eric Gordon and Jordan Clarkson.

Also consider: Clarkson seeking to go back-to-back on a stable Jazz roster and Derrick Rose garnering attention if the Knicks take another step forward.

Coach of the year: Steve Nash, Nets

Nash still needs to prove himself in the playoffs, but he possesses two key ingredients for coach of the year: a roster that is talented enough to post the NBA’s best record and an adversity narrative created by Irving’s absence. If Durant and Harden play to expectations and stay healthy, Brooklyn should take command of the East. Nash’s easygoing temperament proved to be an asset last year when he kept the Nets focused and motivated through many injury and coronavirus-related absences.

Also consider: Quin Snyder getting the recognition he missed out on last year if Utah’s win machine continues and Nate McMillan building on Atlanta’s stunning postseason run to chase a top-three seed in the East.

Executive of the year: Pat Riley, Heat

This was a quiet summer by the NBA’s hectic standards, making it trickier than usual to forecast this award. Rob Pelinka will be the favorite if the Russell Westbrook blockbuster pays dividends, but the early returns haven’t been promising.

Riley, who previously won this award in 2011, was among this summer’s biggest movers, adding Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker while re-signing Jimmy Butler to an extension. What’s more, he has had several key contributors — Adebayo, Herro and Duncan Robinson — develop far beyond their pre-draft expectations. If the Heat threatens the Nets and Bucks, Riley could get a pseudo-lifetime achievement award that recognizes his ability to use every roster-building tool at his disposal.

Also consider: Atlanta’s Travis Schlenk surviving multiple rounds of second-guessing to execute a promising turnaround and Chicago’s Arturas Karnisovas watching his summer spending spree pay off with a return to the playoffs.