ESPN Forecast: Awards, Finals matchups and Warriors vs. the field

What's holding the Celtics back? (1:28)

With Kyrie Irving calling teammates out, The Jump debates who's at fault for the Celtics' struggles. (1:28)

Who is the favorite for MVP and the major NBA awards? Who is winning the Finals: the Golden State Warriors or the field?

We polled the ESPN Forecast panel of experts for their votes halfway through the season.

Who is most likely to win MVP?

MVP is quickly becoming a two-player race between Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden. Our panel gives Antetokounmpo the slight edge for now, but Harden has a chance to build his case if he keeps the Houston Rockets afloat with starting center Clint Capela out four to six weeks.

Others receiving votes: Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Paul George, Nikola Jokic

MORE: The James Harden experience is unprecedented and undeniable

Who is most likely to win Rookie of the Year?

Yeah, this one looks like it's over. The only question now is whether Luka Doncic's incredible rookie season will earn him a spot in the All-Star Game.

MORE: Steve Kerr, Warriors players praise Mavs rookie Luka Doncic

Who is most likely to win Sixth Man Of the Year?

Lou Williams is a slight favorite to claim his third career Sixth Man Award, though this should remain a close race throughout the second half of the season. Derrick Rose, Domantas Sabonis and Spencer Dinwiddie all have time to make cases while thriving on competitive teams.

Others receiving votes: Gordon Hayward, Terrence Ross, Marcus Smart

MORE: Rating, predicting the on-court impact for every NBA playerInsider

Who is most likely to win Defensive Player of the Year?

This is an abnormally deep DPOY race. Usually a clear contender or two emerges early on, but any of these five players could end up taking it. ESPN's real plus-minus (RPM) gives Rudy Gobert the edge among this group, but Paul George has the benefit of providing rare, elite defense on the wing.

MORE: How Paul George discovered the best version of himself in OKC

Who is most likely to win Most Improved Player?

Pascal Siakam is having a breakout third season on the league-leading Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are 12.8 points per 100 possessions better when he's on the court as compared to when he sits, and he's up to No. 24 in RPM. There's a long list of strong MIP candidates. They're all chasing Siakam.

Others receiving votes: Bradley Beal, Joel Embiid, Danny Green, Nikola Jokic, Kyle Kuzma, JaVale McGee, Monte Morris, Domantas Sabonis, Kemba Walker, Justise Winslow

MORE: Inside Pascal Siakam's 6,000-mile journey to Raptors stardom

Who is most likely to win Coach of the Year?

The Milwaukee Bucks have the best point differential in the NBA, a remarkable feat considering they were merely average last season and returned mostly the same roster. Head coach Mike Budenholzer has helped develop a top-5 offense and defense around Antetokounmpo. Budenholzer's new system is working wonders. In a deep season for impressive coaching jobs, Budenholzer stands out.

Others receiving votes: Doc Rivers, Terry Stotts, Luke Walton

MORE: Seven stories that define the new Bucks and their fiery superstar

Who are the most likely Eastern Conference champions?

The East was declared wide-open when LeBron James headed to L.A., and our panel likes Toronto to take the crown. The Raptors likely have the fewest weaknesses among these contenders. Milwaukee is unproven in the playoffs, while Boston and Philly have dealt with some drama so far.

MORE: Everything you need to know for the NBA's second half

Who are the most likely Western Conference champions?

Yep, it's the Warriors. But who are they going to face in the West finals? No clear No. 2 has emerged. The Feb. 7 trade deadline could have a significant impact on the cluster of teams trying to knock off the champs.

MORE: Latest NBA Power Rankings

Who is most likely to win the NBA Finals?

Projection systems are split on just how strong Golden State's title chances are. FiveThirtyEight gives the Warriors a 55 percent chance to win it all -- No. 2 Toronto is only at 15 percent -- while ESPN's Basketball Power Index pegs the defending champs at just 15.7 percent likely to repeat, trailing Milwaukee (29.8 percent).

MORE: Lowe Post podcast: Bill Simmons on the 10 championship contenders

Warriors vs. the field: Who are you taking to win it all?

This is the first time since Kevin Durant joined Golden State that this feels like a real debate. Our panel is still favoring the Warriors over the collective field of NBA teams, but their grasp is a little weaker than usual.

MORE: Hoop Collective podcast: Lakers' struggles, bounce-back Spurs, Boston's issues

Image credits: Stacy Revere/Getty Images, Christian Petersen/Getty Images, Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire, Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images, John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports, Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images, Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports, AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images, AP Photo/Morry Gash